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Scottish Parliament holds inaugural meeting of the Cross-Party Group on Social Work

The newly formed Cross-Party Group on Social Work held its first meeting on Wednesday 19th January between MSPs and members and stakeholders of the social work profession.

The group, which received formal recognition in November, met remotely to discuss “Perspectives of Social Work”, which included presentations from people with experience of using and delivering social work services. There were also wider discussions around the workload pressures experienced by social workers, the need to better define the profession and the challenges caused by lack of resources.

The meeting was convened by MSP and registered social worker, Fulton Macgregor, with the secretariat being provided by the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW). Also in attendance were vice convenors Jeremy Balfour MSP (Conservative) and Paul O’Kane MSP (Labour). Colette Stevenson MSP (SNP) also attended.

It marked the first time in the Scottish Parliament’s history that a group dedicated specifically to amplifying the voice of Scotland’s social workers and positively raising the profile of the profession had been formally brought together.

Following the meeting, Fulton MacGregor MSP, commented: “I was honoured to chair the first meeting of the group and take part in what was a lively and interesting discussion with members on different perspectives of social work. I’m very grateful to all those who attended and contributed to the discussion.

“Cross-party groups can act as a lever for engaging proactively with MSPs from across the parliament by bringing important issues to their attention and initiating positive change.  I’m looking forward to working with members on how we can make this happen effectively for all those involved with and connected to the social work profession.  This meeting has certainly given us an excellent starting point for which to build on and I’m excited for what we can achieve over the course of this parliamentary term and beyond.”

Alison Bavidge, National Director of the Scottish Association of Social Work, said: “Scotland’s social work profession is poised for a year of significant change as a result of proposals being brought to parliament for a National Care Service. This presents a unique opportunity for MSPs to shape the direction of travel for the future of social work in Scotland and it’s therefore critical that the voices of social workers are heard throughout this process.

“I hope that the cross-party group will serve as a bridge between key stakeholders in the profession and parliamentarians in tackling issues commonly affecting social workers and people who need and use our services. Our first meeting already touched on a number of pressing concerns: the impact of bureaucracy on working conditions, the need to better fund services and to ensure early intervention prevents future crisis and the need for statutory intervention. Our presenters brought their own stories to the group very powerfully, giving  us much to reflect on.  SASW’s role now is to support the group to drive forward positive change to protect and strengthen Scottish social work as the profession enters a new phase.”.

Anyone interested in learning more about the work of the CPG or to join a future meeting should contact