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SASW report – December 2012

Another year is almost done and the time to reflect on the year just gone while making resolutions for the year ahead is nearly upon us.
Away from our private lives, things are no less simple. Take, for example, a consideration of the last few years and the relationship between social work and the formation and implementation of social policy by respective governments. As the public purse comes increasingly under scrutiny the debate over policy direction is likely to get livelier and we need to be more competent and confident in advocating for fair services for people who need social work.

Thinking global
This reflection came from considering how World Social Work Day will be celebrated across the UK on 19 March. In Scotland there will be a large gathering of social workers (in Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh) in a partnership of seven key players in social work service provision. There will also be an exhibition and learning event, free to pre-registered delegates and supported financially by the Scottish government. The Scottish Social Services Council, the Association of Directors of Social Work, the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW), the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services, Care Inspectorate, Schools of Social Work and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities have all joined together to share what works and pave the way for some major changes in how social work will be made available in integrated services.
On 25 March it will be Social Work Day at the United Nations, when those who hold office with IFSW will be very privileged to attend events at the UN Centres around the world. As IFSW Human Rights Commissioner, Ruth Stark will be attending the event in New York.

Service users
One of our celebrations on World Social Work Day is the reception where we hand out SASW awards. This year we will celebrate in Edinburgh some outstanding achievements from people on the frontline. We were particularly delighted to receive two nominations directly from service users – and then had to chase the employers for verification. Normally it is colleagues and managers who make the initial contact but it goes to show that people like to have the opportunity to say thank you for work well done. It was a hard task for our panel, but a truly memorable process for the quality of work that is out there being delivered on a daily basis.

SASW today
Members may be aware that BASW is now going through a strategic review. We have a particular task to do in Scotland looking at how we can best link local activity with core services provided by a staff based in both Edinburgh and Birmingham. One clear change since I first started working for BASW Scotland in 1999 is that back then the Scottish Parliament was embryonic. Equally, we still operate our branch structure based on the nine regions of the post Kilbrandon era in the 1970s. As such, we need to look at our governance structures to ensure they are fit for purpose and the Scotland Committee has embarked on a major consultation to find out how we should be organised in the future. A survey will be sent to you by email in the new year and we hope you will be able to complete it to help us find out how best SASW can meet your requirements.

And into 2013 …
As we go through the year, please remember if you want to find out more, to make a suggestion about something that concerns the way you do your job or just want to bring some life changing practice to our attention, we are here to help you and can be contacted at the office in Edinburgh.