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SASW Blog: Update from National Director

The purpose of this blog is to update our members on what we’ve been doing, who we’ve been speaking to, what events we have attended and how we have represented the social work profession. From now on, this blog will appear on the website, in the bulletin and on our social media platforms on a quarterly basis. As this is the first instalment, this one will cover some highlights from the last 12 months.


Everyone knows we protect you with representation and indemnity and inform you with our bulletins and magazine but did you know:

We influenced by... 

  • Achieving news coverage across a number of titles, appearing in the BBC, The Herald, The Times and The Daily Mail
  • Attending and facilitating various roundtables and policy groupings, including the Social Services Strategic Forum
  • Hosting the Government & COSLA to discuss anti-destitution strategies in our No Recourse to Public Funds group as well as speaking out about Glasgow Asylum Evictions   
  • Giving evidence to Scottish Parliament on social work exemption from paying controversial workplace parking levies and linked this to our working conditions research
  • Undertaking social media campaigns into domestic abuse and relationships - our following has increased by over 1,000


We reflected and celebrated with…

  • SASW Awards, welcoming 150+ guests including Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People and Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser.
  • A new Ambassador, Author Jo McFarlane, sharing her lived experience of using MHO services and her unique viewpoint on Mental Health issues.
  • SASW Community of Practice for Children & Families Social Work conference at The University of Edinburgh, addressing key themes chosen by the community.
  • Welcoming Gabo Villalba to our committee, who brings lived experience of using social work, trans issues and mental health as well as business analysis skills to our planning and thinking


We developed members in teams and specialities by…

  • Running 4 more events exploring the social work role in domestic abuse in collaboration with Scottish Women’s Aid with 203 social workers attending these events.
  • Sponsoring a conference co-produced by those with lived experience in the area of responses to child to parent violence.
  • Delivering the annual MHO Conference with 175 MHO’s across Scotland, this was the highest number to date but we’re on track to beat it this October.
  • Facilitating training on wellbeing and reflective practice in a number of local authorities ensuring SW are protected and not blamed for system pressures  
  • Providing accredited training on Suicide Prevention in MH First Aid for Young People from Orkney to Edinburgh


In addition to all this, we continue to offer numerous visits to workplaces and speak to both new social work students and those on final year placements at 9 Universities. The last 12 months at SASW have been full of change, with the retirements of Trisha Hall, the previous National Director, Tim Parkinson, our Professional Officer and Johan Grant, our administration officer. I took over as National Director in May, having been active in the association as a member for the last decade. We welcomed Lisa Urquhart as Events and Administration Coordinator and Karin Heber as our new Professional Officer. It’s a crowded professional space out there with many other agencies providing training, improving practice, influencing social services and offering representation but only SASW provides all of that and is completely independent getting to be honest and gritty with those making law and policy. We hope you believe that this is as important as we do and so, as we celebrate our 50th year history of championing social workers, I look forward to the new challenges and I’m happy to hear your honest feedback.

Further information