Social workers ready to create change

Published in News on 12 Dec 2022

Social workers want the power to change how the profession is presented, structured and supported, a report commissioned by Social Work Scotland has found.

Following on from the Setting the Bar report published in June 2022, Social Work Scotland commissioned further focus groups to understand more about the issues raised by the initial research, and to hear ideas from the workforce on the changes they would make.

Setting the Bar 2: Taking the wheel finds that social workers are enthused at the impact of the original report, which has encouraged employers and regulators to sit up and take notice of issues inhibiting social workers from fulfilling their roles. Social workers want to be part of generating the change for the profession, identifying solutions.

Four focus groups were held, generating a variety of proposals and suggestions, which range from the short to the long term, and cover all levels of leadership, from personal to organisational. These cover five key ‘spokes’ of the wheel:

  • Promoting a better understanding of social work
  • Challenging unreasonable expectations
  • Creating a positive working environment
  • Better support and preparation for the role
  • Changing the way we talk about social work

Ben Farrugia, Director of Social Work Scotland said:

“It’s so heartening to see people’s passion for the profession reflected in this report. It’s yet more evidence that social workers want to work in a way consistent with their values, enabled to do the preventative, relationship-based work that improves people’s lives and strengthens communities.

At a time when we hear so much about crisis, social workers are continuing to make a positive difference on a day-to-day basis. The more we can help the profession, the more they can assist families and individuals in need of support.

Many of the suggestions in the report can be implemented swiftly. Social Work Scotland will be leading conversations with partners and social work leaders to make that happen, alongside longer-term developments which will form part of the new National Social Work Agency, identified as part of the proposed National Care Service.