Scotland Committee

The Scotland Committee is the governing body of the work of SASW. It meets four times per year and by telephone conference on two further occasions. Two Committee members serve as UK BASW Council members. The Committee steers the work of SASW in meeting members needs including study and seminar opportunities, responding to government and Scottish Consultations, campaigning for improvements in providing social work services, maintaining links with UK and International social work developments and any other concerns brought to the Committee by members. If you are interested in becoming involved please contact

Scotland Committee 2017: 


David Thomson (Convener & BASW Council Member) 

Since qualifying as a social worker, David has held a number of positions in a range of settings. He has worked as a Children and Families social worker as well as within youth offending and criminal justice and has recently completed training to become an MHO. David has an interest in criminal justice, particularly changes in the way the Criminal Justice System work with women who commit offences and works with a 'Women Who Offend' team in the East of Scotland. David volunteers once a month giving out food parcels throughout Edinburgh to the homeless community and feels strongly about social justice. He has sat on the BASW Council for 2 years and has been Convener of the Scotland Committee for 1. 


Maggie Mellon (Vice Convener & BASW UK PEHR)

After qualifying in 1977, Maggie has worked in local government and the third sector and currently works independently as a consultant in policy and practice. Previously, she was Director of Services for Children 1st in Scotland, Head of Public Policy for Action for Children Scotland, social work and health lead at COSLA and before that Principal Officer (children and young people) in City of Edinburgh Council. She was a non-Executive Director of NHS Health Scotland from 2009-16, and chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre from 2009-12. As an independent consultant for the last 4 years, Maggie works mainly in the third sector, on a range of projects supporting service development, strategic planning, policy analysis, research and events mangement. She has experience of radio, television and print media and contributes regular articles to the national and professional press and to academic journals. 


Patrick Morgan (BASW Council Member)

Patrick's formative years as a newly qualified social worker in the seventies and eighties were spent as a generic social worker in North and West Belfast. He returned to Scotland around 1989 and has mainly worked with older people, spending 12 years working in local hospitals and Lanarkshire followed by 6 years working in a very rural area. In between times he was a local councillor for South Lanarkshire for 12 years and for most of this time he was Depute Chair on Education. He was also a justice of the peace and spent 4 years on the bench in the local district court. 


Shirley Ann Melvin

Shirley has extensive child care social work practice experience, gained between July 1994 to May 2003. She has a working knowledge of the children's hearing system and child protection. Her current post as a criminal justice social worker has reinforced a special interest in working wth young offenders and their families. Through her continuous professional development, she has kept abreast of changes within childcare social work practice. Shirley attends and participates in the youth justice regional practice network, devising and supporting good practice and participates in the management and reviews of high risk youth offenders. 


Shirley Cusack

Shirley's career interests and skills centre around rights, equalities and person-centred working; primarily in work with children and families. She has developed policy and practice and has managed services for children who have lived with domestic abuse, young carers and disabled children and their families, amongst others. She has worked for the SSSC as a Due Regard Member of the Registration and Conduct Sub Committees, as an Open University Tutor and continues to work as an Indepedent Practice teacher. She has worked for 6 years as Director of Keys to Inclusion, a small social enterprise based in Edinburgh working on developing good practice in Self Directed Support through national training and consultancy with social workers and other professionals as well as with families and communities. She has also developed a project to support families in East Lothian together with colleagues in the voluntary and social enterprise sectors. 


Tracey Carruthers

Tracey has worked within a local authority for 11 and a half years as an unqualified social worker, and is being supported by her local authority to complete her social work qualification as a distance learner. She has worked within reception services and undertook a specialist post in relation to evictions. Latterly, she worked within a local office children and family team and her new post will be within a community care team where she will become a social worker once she is qualified. 


Hannah Hawthorn

Hannah has been committed to working with people in social work, independent and health settings - both at home and abroad - since leaving school. She has worked with a range of service user groups, including children and young people who are at risk of being accommodated, refugees and asylum seekers, adults with learning disabilities and adults and young people who have committed offences. Her first job post-qualifying was with a Children and Families locality team in Leeds. Following a period of maternity leave, she returned to Scotland where she worked in Criminal Justice from 2011-2016. Working in criminal justice furthered her interests in issues of violence against women where she gained experience of working with both perpetrators and victims. She has enjoyed supporting students to explore issues of equality and anti-oppressive practice in her role as a practice eductor, and recently took up a post as a practice learning and development advisor. 


Alison Bavidge

Alison is an independent social worker with a background in fostering assessments, residential childcare, visual impairment and criminal justice. In addition, she has a wide range of management experience in scrutiny and regulation as well as organisational performance, quality improvement, programme and project design and delivery. She has worked at all levels on both the public and independent sectors, establishing positive working relationships across organisations including the Scottish Government, The Scottish Social Services Council, and organisations such as Scottish Care and the Scottish Childminding Association. In her work at the Care Inspectorate, she has inspected care services and been a member of Joint Health and Social Care Inspection teams evaluating the quality of care and leadership in Health and Social Care Partnerships. 


Sam Brown

Sam has extensive employment and student placement experience in providing high quality care and support for people who are socially excluded or who are experiencing problems in their lives. Sam has a background in community, learning and development and has been employed since 2012 as a Youth and Community Officer with LGBT Youth Scotland, Scotland's largest grass-roots organisation providing support for lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people and the wider community. She has experience of working in local authority teams and has worked with children and adults who have a learning disability and associated physical disabilities, and adults with mental health illnesses in third sector organisations. 


Ruth McDonald

Ruth started her career in area team statutory work covering Child Care and Protection, Community Care, Intake and latterly specialising in Criminal Justice. She briefly worked in the field of research (drugs and Blood Borne Viruses) and then went to work in the voluntary sector within children and families, specialising in working with women experiencing substance misuse problems and their children. She has both practiced and gone in to manage a variety of outreach and residential services for families over the past 14 years which focussed on parenting/family recovery. In 2012, Ruth was the winner of the SASW residential care worker of the year. Her areas of interest are substance misuse, children affected by parental substance misuse, gender based violence and trauma. She has also been heavily involved in Service User Participation and the development of Peer Support. 


Catherine Harris

Throughout University, Catherine developed a keen interest in Student Activism and Social Work Education, with hopes for students to more actively engage in radical practice and understand the political influences at play. Her passion is evident in her activities within the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) and her co-founding the Student SWAN Dundee Society, which won the Leadership in Social Work award at the recent SASW awards. Catherine has also been involved in raising awareness of issues of Racism and Refugees on both formal and informal platforms, as well as fundraising and delivering aid to displaced people in Calais. 


Ian Turner

Ian has 35 years post qualification experience in Social Work, working in both statutory and voluntary sectors - his most recent role was as Director of Children & Family Services at Aberlour Childcare Trust. He spent five years as Chair of the Board of Support for Ordinary Living, a Lanarkshire-based voluntary organisation providing support for people with additional support needs. For the past year, Ian has sat on Fitness to Practice Panels at the SSSC. His main area of interest and expertise is in work with Children and Families, although he has current experience of working with adults with disabilities. 


Silvio Gigante

Silvio qualified in 2013 with a first class degree in Social Work. He has worked within adult care for over 15 years, and has now moved to Children & Families in a rural area to gain another view of practice. Silvio enjoys working and engaging with people and hopes to bring a voice of hope and prosperity to Social Work. He believes that we need a peaceful revolution to restore hope and faith back to all and would like to learn and develop from the Committee in order to build stronger unities within its professional compounds. 


Catherine Fergus-Allen



Co-Opted Members:


David Hewitson (SIGN Council - Advisory Role)

David qualified in 1977, beginning his career as a generic social worker before gradually specialising in criminal justice and children's hearing work. He became a senior social worker in Broxburn and then in Edinburgh, before moving to Fife to lead the team in Psychiatric services across the region. He then moved to manage the hospital team across Mid and East Lothian in 1990, managing general hospital and geriatric services as well as the spinal unit and psychiatric services in Haddington and Roslynlee. In 1992, he became the manager of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital and was instrumental in the development of social work involvement in the Community Mental Health Teams in Edinburgh in both acute and rehabilitation psychiatry. After retiring in 2012 he was returned to work occasionally as a sessional senior practitioner and MHO covering Edinburgh and Mid and East Lothian in the evenings and weekends. 


Liz Timms (Advisory Role)

Liz has had a varied career, starting in London working with older people before moving with her family to Australia. There, she tutored in first year Sociology - mostly Social Work Students - in the University of Queensland. She then moved to Auckland, New Zealand, to a University Extension job with scope to work with community initiatives. This included a role in a women's research organisation that grew from a mothers' discussions at a local Play Centre into NZ-wide research on women, by women, resulting in a series of publications. The latter part of Liz's working life was spent in Edinburgh, working in the School of Community Studies at Moray House College, where she taught Social Policy to both Community Education and Social Work students and developed electives on social work networks. Liz contributed to the BASW response to the Barclay Report and in 1990 led a BASW working group on the interpretation of the statutory duty to promote social wefare (Section 12(1) Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968) which has amazingly survived through sometimes hard to recognise austere times. 


Ronnie Barnes (Advisory Role)

Ronnie recently retired after 41 years in social work. Whilst practicing, his main areas of interest were in older people and criminal justice. Ronnie has been the Convenor for SASW on more than one occasion as well as the national chair for BASW. 


CLICK HERE for the Scotland Homepage

Research into Social Work Practice Teaching suggests 'need for a more strategic and standardised approach'

Learning Network West commissioned 3rd Horizons ltd to undertake research on practice teaching in the West of Scotland.

5th February 2018

Scotland becomes world leader in fighting domestic abuse

MSPs pass historic Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill.

2nd February 2018

SASW responds to Health & Sport Committee Call for Evidence

SASW responded to the Scottish Parliament's Health & Sport Committee call for evidence into the potential impact of Brexit on health and social care in Scotland.

25th January 2018

Budget for Scotland: 3 SASW Asks

SASW's three key asks of the Scottish Government Budget.

12th December 2017

Asylum seekers are being refused services, says Scottish Association of Social Work and UNISON

SASW and UNISON release guidance on supporting asylum seekers.

6th November 2017

Statement from Scotland Committee on BBC Documentary

Following the BBC documentary "Fife's Child Killings: The Untold Story", the National Standing Committee for SASW releases a statement.

3rd August 2017

Briefing update - The Children & Young People (Information Sharing) Bill

The Children & Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill To help support understanding and communication of the Bill, GIRFEC have drafted a briefing document which highlights the main points on what has changed and what has not changed. Read this document below.

7th July 2017

Open letter to the Minister - registration fee increase SSSC

On February 13 the SSSC announced an increase in its fees for registration of the social services workforce by September 2017. Social workers' fees increase from £30 to £80. SASW members have commented on this and we have requested the Minister to review this.

1st April 2017

Tribute to David Colvin CBE, former head of SASW

David Colvin CBE, a major figure in Scottish social work and within BASW, has died aged 85.

19th December 2016

Minister to SASW delegates - Let’s End Taboo Over Mental Health

We need to be as comfortable talking about mental ill-health as we are about physical ill-health, new Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt has urged. Ms Watt – the first dedicated mental health minister in the UK – was speaking at the SASW's Annual Study Conference for mental health officers in Perth.

27th October 2016

SASW pledges support to care system review

SASW has pledged to support the “root and branch” review of Scotland’s care system announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the weekend.

18th October 2016

SASW seeks members’ views on registration fee hike

SASW is seeking members’ views on proposed changes to fees paid by registrants of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

3rd October 2016

SASW calls for “informed debate” to address challenges raised by Accounts Commission

SASW calls for “informed debate” to address challenges raised by Accounts Commission

22nd September 2016

Adoption Enquiry calls for evidence - extended deadline

BASW is calling for evidence from young people who have been adopted, parents, social workers, managers, family justice professionals, policymakers and academics to underpin a year-long research study on the role of the social worker in adoption.

19th September 2016

SASW: Partnership approach need to safeguard human rights following Named Persons appeal

As the Supreme Court in London allows an appeal brought by opponents of the Scottish Government’s controversial ‘Named Persons’ scheme, the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) has said a partnership approach is needed to safeguard the rights of children and families.

28th July 2016

BASW calls for evidence on the role of the social worker in adoption

BASW is calling for evidence from young people who have been adopted, parents, social workers, managers, family justice professionals, policymakers and academics to underpin a year-long research study on the role of the social worker in adoption.

4th May 2016

Social workers are honoured at the SASW awards

The outstanding achievement of social workers in Scotland was recognised when Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell presented the SASW Social Work Awards on Tuesday.

16th March 2016

SASW: Voice of social workers and families key to Child Protection Review

SASW has welcomed a comprehensive review of the child protection system in Scotland but says it must take heed of the ‘lived experience’ of the system from social workers and families.

26th February 2016

BASW: Social workers should allow parents to record conversations

As family court transparency charity the Transparency Project today publishes guidance about the recording of social workers by parents where there is local authority involvement, BASW Vice Chair Maggie Mellon said social workers should allow such recording and be happy to put their practice “on the record”.

17th December 2015

BASW: Social workers have ethical duty to support asylum seekers and refugees

BASW is calling on the British Government to receive those fleeing war, persecution, and devastation in their home countries with respect and dignity and is urging its members to sign a petition to up the number of refugees being accepted into the UK.

4th September 2015

Social workers of Europe unite in Edinburgh for unique event

The biggest event of the year in the social work calendar will take place from 6-9 September, when hundreds of social workers from all over Europe gather in Edinburgh.

25th August 2015

BASW gives social workers 2020 vision

The British Association of Social Workers is launching its newly agreed 2020 Vision for the future of the Association. In this statement of intent, BASW, the member-led professional association for social workers, sets out its aim to be the strong independent voice of social work and social workers.

26th June 2015

BASW hits new membership high

BASW membership has passed 17,000 for the first time in the Association’s history, with record numbers in all four UK countries.

18th February 2015

SASW comment on Declan Hainey FAI

SASW comment on Fatal Accident Inquiry Declan Hainey

5th September 2014

SASW report – May 2014

SASW's monthly report of events, activities and developments in social work in Scotland

17th April 2014

The full list of SASW Social Work Awards winners

The full list of SASW Social Work Awards winners, including those Highly Commended at the ceremony held in Edinburgh on 18 March 2014

20th March 2014

Scotland awards recognise outstanding social worker achievements

The outstanding achievement of three social workers was recognised when Scotland's Children and Young People Minister Aileen Campbell presented the SASW Social Work Awards. They were presented by Ms Campbell at a special reception held in the Grassmarket Community Project, Edinburgh, to coincide with World Social Work Day 2014.

19th March 2014

World Social Work Day 2014: Why Martin Narey is wrong to dismiss social justice

Social Worker Ruth Stark, former SASW manager, BASW member and member of the IFSW Human Rights Commission, gives her response to Martin Narey's review of social work education.

18th March 2014

SASW report – March 2014

SASW's UK report for the March issue of PSW, featuring a range of issues the Association has been engaged in over the past few weeks, as well as things that are coming up soon.

17th February 2014

SASW report – February 2014

SASW's UK report for the February issue of PSW, featuring a range of issues the Association has been engaged in over the past few weeks, as well as things that are coming up soon.

17th January 2014

Bring social work into the light – nominate now!

SASW is urgently trying to get members to nominate a Social Worker, Residential Care Worker, and Student Social Worker for its 2014 awards, set to be handed out at a ceremony on the evening of World Social Work Day on 18 March 2014.

18th December 2013

BLOG: SCRA statistics – Social workers remain the key players in continuous assessment of risk

As the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) publishes its annual report and statistics, SASW Manager Trisha Hall assesses what the findings say about social work.

6th November 2013

SASW report – November 2013

A round up of events, activities and developments relating to the Scottish Association of Social Work, part of BASW.

15th October 2013

SASW: Dawn McKenzie SCR shows social workers need to be given time to use their skills

As a Significant Case Review into the murder of Glasgow foster carer Dawn McKenzie is published, the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW – part of BASW) stressed the need for social workers to be given time and support to use their skills.

2nd October 2013

Orkney case illustrates the long term impact of childhood sexual abuse, say SASW

A recent BBC interview in which "Esther W", a member of the "W" family at the centre of the 1991 Orkney abuse scandal said she blames herself for not revealing the identity of her abuser shows the lasting impact of childhood abuse, The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) has said.

6th September 2013

SASW Report – July/August 2013

The long awaited legislation to create integrated service provision is now with the Parliament and the Health Committee has asked for initial written evidence by 2 August. SASW will be preparing its submission in the last week in July so your thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated. While many sectors are already planning for services that are integrated across disciplines, it will be very important for the detail of the legislation to be right so that the people who use services get the best possible provision.

5th July 2013

SASW Report – May 2013

The month before the school summer holidays always seems a busy time as we try and clear our desks to take that much needed recreation time before the Autumn settles in, which as gardening books will tell you starts in August in Scotland.

21st May 2013

SASW Report – April 2013

SASW Scotland BASW Uk Report May April 2013 Annual Members Meeting MHO Study Day Legislation and policy developments

19th April 2013

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