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"Invaluable" Cross-Party Group on Social Work to hold first meeting in January

On the 11th of November, the first ever Cross-Party Group on Social Work received formal recognition by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee of the Scottish Parliament.

SASW provides the secretariat to the group, which is convened by Fulton MacGregor, an SNP MSP and registered social worker who practiced in justice before his election in 2016. Co-vice convening are Jeremy Balfour, a Conservative and Unionist Party MSP who lives with a physical disability and has lived experience of social work services, and Paul O’Kane, MSP, a former councillor and charity worker who is married to a social worker. The purpose of the group is to promote understanding of the complexities of the social work profession, bring together its voice and positively raise its profile. Securing sponsorship of the group was one of SASW’s key Manifesto Asks in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections.

Convener, Fulton MacGregor, MSP said:  “As convener of the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Social Work, I chair meetings between Members of the Scottish Parliament and interested stakeholders in a non-party political atmosphere to discuss issues that directly concern the field of social work and related areas. Social work is a field which is interrelated with several other areas that I work on as an MSP such as health, communities, and children/young people to name but a few. The group is open to all Members of the Scottish Parliament, organisations, and individuals. Although CPGs are not considered formal parliamentary business, CPG discussions can lead to issues being raised in the Scottish Parliament or as questions to the Scottish Government. Having a dedicated parliamentary group for social work is invaluable for giving those who work in and engage with social work a voice as well as ensuring their viewpoints are acknowledged and advocated for within our legislature. As a social worker before I entered politics, I know that having a CPG for this area is invaluable."

Alison Bavidge, National Director of SASW, said: “This Parliamentary term is set to see the biggest change to social care and therefore social work in Scotland in 70 years with the proposed National Care Service.  Meanwhile, the Promise has moved into its implementation phases, with sweeping changes on how services and support is delivered to children and families set to come in the next 5 years. This makes the CPG on social work particularly significant, by bringing together key stakeholders round one table. SASW called for sponsorship for a cross-party group on social work at the Scottish Parliament in our Manifesto for social work in the elections this year. We are delighted to see this come to fruition, and are honoured to provide the secretariat for the group.”

The first meeting will take place on the 12th of January, from 6pm to 7.45pm, on MS Teams. The topic will be “Perspectives of Social Work” bringing opportunity to hear directly from people with experience of using services and experience of delivering social work services. There will be time during the meeting for questions, debate and discussion.  If you are interested in joining the CPG, either as a member or an observer, or would like to attend the meeting in January, contact cpgsocialwork@basw.co.uk.