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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.

Children and Young People’s Bill: The Children and Young People’s Bill is also waiting in the queue at the Scottish Parliament and we anticipate giving evidence on this in the Autumn. This Bill includes proposals such as raising the age of criminal responsibility from eight-years-old to 12, and a plan to increase the age that people who have been cared for as children by local authorities can get support, from 21 to 25. Other issues include consideration of Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) and providing more childcare in early years.

MHO Study Day: As part of the integration agenda, mental health services face interesting challenges. The Mental Health Officer (MHO) has by law to be employed by the local authority, a case argued by the Millan Committee, so part of the day will be given to revisiting some of the key principles that we now need to consider, including a look at whether they are still valid. MHOs in attendance will also hear from people who use services, representatives of the Scottish government, the Mental Welfare Commission and Mental Health Tribunals. Workshops to share good practice across Scotland will also figure significantly in the programme

Wilma MacDonald Award: The Wilma MacDonald Award is given for the SASW MHO of the Year in honour of Wilma, a well-respected MHO in Glasgow, who died prematurely. Nominations are currently sought for this year. The closing date is 2 September, to be awarded at the MHO Study Day on 1 October in Perth.

Criminal Justice Forum: If you are working in criminal justice and would like to be involved in developments impacting on this area of practice, the Criminal Justice Forum is up and running and SASW consultations are taking place by email. If Tim Parkinson does not have your name please let him know so that you can have your voice heard in the current change process.

Health Interest group: For the past eight years SASW has represented social work on SIGN Council – the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, which is the equivalent of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in England.

The two SASW representatives, Ruth Stark and David Hewitson, have been discussing with the Scotland Committee how we can improve SASW member involvement in what is an increasingly important agenda in producing evidence-based guidelines for professionals as we move into integrated services. To this end we are interested in hearing from you if you work in social work and health care. Please email the Scotland office ( if you would like to be part of this group.

Finally: Enjoy the summer and take some time out before the autumn to relax and refresh your creative and innovative capacity to help people on their journeys through change.