Skip to main content

Deputy Chief Social Work Adviser with Scottish Government



The post holder will provide professionally-based expertise and advice across a range of portfolios across the Scottish Government which have interest in, or responsibility for, aspects of social work services and practice.  The post holder will provide support to the Chief Social Work Adviser and will focus in particular on leading on relevant aspects of children’s services and child protection.

The immediate focus for the post holder will be to continue the Scottish Governments response to the Covid19 pandemic and the impact this has had, and continues to have, on vulnerable children and young people. The post-holder will be a member of a number of key strategic groups that operate across the Scottish Government including the Covid19 Children and Families Leadership Group, the Covid19 4 Nations Safeguarding group, the GIRFEC Lead Officers Group and other key strategic groups as required. 

The post holder will work across a number of policy teams within the Children and Families Directorate and across Health and Social Care Directorates to ensure that the social work perspective is taken account of, and that the implications of policy decisions are considered in terms of their impact on children’s social work and social care services.  They may also take lead responsibility on specific Scottish Government policy priorities as agreed.

The post holder will support OCSWA activity with partners, providing advice across the sector, and promoting the effective delivery of social work and social care practice.

In line with the cross-cutting nature of the role, the key objectives for the post-holder will be agreed in consultation with the Chief Social Work Adviser and the Director for Children & Families.  The post-holder will also be a member of the senior management team of the Children and Families Directorate and will contribute to corporate responsibilities within that Directorate.


  • Provide well-informed, high quality and timely professional advice to Scottish Ministers and Scottish Government officials about all aspects of social work provision and practice, with a particular focus on vulnerable children.  
  • Proactive identification and analysis of relevant trends, issues and options that could shape future policy.
  • Promotion of professional leadership and accountability throughout the social work profession and wider social services workforce to support improvement in the quality of service and delivery. 
  •  Promote the contribution of social work in protecting vulnerable individuals and groups, helping to maintain the confidence of the public and stakeholders in the quality of care and social work services.
  • Establish and sustain effective engagement with all relevant stakeholders, in particular those on the Covid19 Children & Families Leadership Group.  
  • Promote the raising of standards and the development of a confident, competent and valued social services workforce focussed on the needs of the service user including contributing to the embedding of effective clinical and care governance at a local level.
  • Challenge conventional approaches to delivery of social work services within and beyond Scottish Government to support improvement and transformation in the sector.
  • Promote preventative approaches, collaborative working, continuous learning and development and evidence-informed practice. 
  • Support the relationships between key stakeholders which are critical to the effectiveness of scrutiny of social work services.



Professional registration

  • It is essential that you are a registered social worker, with the SSSC or equivalent body.


Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Extensive experience and significant achievement in social work and service management at Director/Chief Social Work Officer level in social work or social care services. 
  • Firm understanding of Government and the political context in Scotland and the ability to operate effectively within it.
  • Current knowledge of social work services, strengths and challenges and awareness of emerging themes.
  • A track record in the development and delivery of social work and social care policy and services and in delivering on requirements for regulation and development of the social services workforce.


Essential Criteria

You will be able to demonstrate and evidence a high level of competence and effectiveness in:

  • professional credibility and standing with a successful track record at Director/Chief Social Work Officer level;
  • leadership – providing direction, delivering results, building on relationships and capability, motivating and inspiring staff;
  • delivery of transformation programmes in a multi-agency context that take an inclusive and empowering approach;
  • strong focus on outcomes and on achieving improvements for users of services, carers and the general public within the context of the SG National Outcomes;
  • excellent influencing skills – able to form effective relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including politicians, that generate confidence, respect and collaborative working;
  • excellent oral and written communication skills particularly on complex and/or sensitive issues;
  • the ability to analyse information and provide succinct reports.


Desirable Criteria

  • experience of working as a Chief Social Work Officer


Download the application form, here.

Applications close on Monday the 5th of October at midday. Please return application form to