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SASW secures assurances on support for social workers in Ukraine response

SASW has secured an assurance from the Scottish Government that social workers will receive support to help them meet expected increases in demand on services with the arrival of people forced to flee from Ukraine.

Last month, SASW National Director, Alison Bavidge, wrote to the Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine, Neil Gray MSP, to seek clarification on safeguarding arrangements being put in place for when Ukrainian guests arrive in Scotland and to highlight the need for specific support and resources to be made available for social workers to help the profession to effectively respond to this challenge. 

Responding, the Mr Gray stated "We also absolutely recognise the critical role social workers provide and the acute additional demand that will be required from social workers and social services with the arrival of people forced to flee Ukraine. We understand that this will also create funding pressures arising from providing a public protection response, particularly for children and vulnerable adults arriving from Ukraine to Scotland. I can assure you that work is ongoing to scope the potential costs associated with providing a public protection response for Ukrainian families arriving in Scotland. This work is being done in parallel to the arrangements being worked out with the UK Government regarding the allocation of funding committed through the established visa schemes intended to support the Local Authority resettlement activity.

"We are keeping in very close contact with local authorities on the support which the Scottish Government can offer, including setting up a Ukraine appeal recruitment portal with SSSC, offering opportunities to social work students either for placements or part time roles, or inviting non-frontline social workers to be temporarily redeployed to the front line. The developing situation around people arriving from Ukraine is being closely reviewed and considered within the longer terms strategy required to sustain healthy and professional social work services across Scotland."

Mr Gray also invited SASW to join a working group being established to explore the options and challenges for children arriving from Ukraine. The group will ensure work is aligned closely with any changes in UK legislation regarding how age assessments should be carried out.

The full letter from Mr Gray is available to read here.