Ahead of the publication of the draft budget 2018-19, SASW has the following 3 key asks of the Scottish Government:
YEAR OF YOUNG PEOPLE 2018:
(1) Prevention to take precedence
As 2018 is the ‘Year of Young People’, SASW are urging for ‘prevention’ in the lives of children and families to have a strong focus, so that ‘early intervention’ may not be necessary.
This starts with ensuring families have enough to eat, a house to live in, clothes to wear, and have peace of mind so they can be part of their communities.
We urge the Scottish Government to support meaningful employment, and restructure a social security and benefit system which cripples people.
Some important reviews of systems have taken place. We welcome and have supported these initiatives, but want to stress the need to focus on practice. We need to critically analyse how systems are translated into best practice on the ground. This means having the conversations with workers and people who have been at the receiving end of services.
We need Government to invest in additional social work posts by providing ring fenced funding to local authorities. We would also like to see a pay increase for public sector workers in this field.
Scotland has a disproportionally high level of children looked after and accommodated, expensive to the public purse, and there can be an emotional cost which lasts a lifetime.
Realistic social work caseloads mean social workers can work in real partnership with children and parents who need or want support. It supports sharing the necessary information with consent, the best foundation for a better way forward. This may allow families to own and make the changes which can prevent children having to live away from home.
If social workers can do the job they were trained for, have time to reflect and receive adequate training and supervision, it may help towards the prevention of the horrific tragedies which happen when children have not been protected.
SCOTTISH NATIONAL HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE WORKPLAN 2018:
(2) Investment in adult care social work services
With part 2 of the National Health and Social Care workplan being introduced in 2018, SASW are asking the Scottish Government for investment in adult care social work services, so that adults and vulnerable citizens in need of care, protection and support can access services which allow their human dignity and wellbeing to be upheld, their right to self-determination to be respected and the rights of the people who care for them to be met.
We need additional resources for essential Mental Health Officer recruitment, training and support. Over the last year it has been recognised that nationally the use of compulsion under the Mental Health Act has increased by just over 8% and that the incidence of AWI Guardianships granted increased by over 12%, all in the context of a MHO staffing numbers remaining static. Recruitment of social workers on MHO courses are not solely about availability of funding of places but also difficulties for people to be released from their substantive post, in order to do the training.
Investment in the qualified social work workforce is vital, so that social workers are enabled to work according to their code of ethics and the values which underpin the Profession. Social workers need the time to work with people and form the relationships which will enable the best care packages. Social workers also need to have protected time for training and to be supported to play a strong role in enabling the optimum integration of services with colleagues from NHS Scotland, the third and private sector.
We ask that the Scottish Government continues to highlight the impact of BREXIT on the social services workforce. We need staff who can support discharge from hospital and care at home services.
PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, ASYLUM SEEKERS & REFUGEES:
(3) Funding to be made available for asylum seekers, refugees & those determined to have ‘no recourse to public funds’
SASW are asking for Scotland to set the example in meeting the needs and rights of the people who seek our support and are feeling violence in other countries: asylum seekers, refugees and those determined to have ‘no recourse to public funds’. We are urging for specific funding to be made available to allow local authorities to provide initial support. No families with children or vulnerable adults should be shown a door and left in destitution. UNISON Scotland and SASW produced a guide for social workers supporting ‘no recourse to public funds’ families (click here to read this guide). We urge the Government to underpin article 8 of the UN Convention within all policies.