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SASW 2012, February: Response to consultation Public Services Reform and Local Government

SASW is the professional association for social workers in Scotland. Most of our members work in local government or in partner organisations that help deliver some of the services designed by community planning partnerships. The work of social workers is often seen as being delivered in a statutory framework, for example child protection, mental health services and criminal justice interventions.

However the vision for social work services in Scotland was set out in the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 in S12 as the duty on local authorities to promote social welfare. This vision was reiterated in the Changing Lives Review (2006) and community capacity building was identified as a key element in promoting that inclusive and cohesive society envisaged back in the 1960s.

SASW members are therefore keen to contribute to public service reform and share their knowledge, skills and expertise not only about working with individuals, their families but also their communities and would suggest that empowering frontline staff as indicated in the Christie Commission Report will be key to ensuring effective public services in Scotland. We offer some observations from our practice across Scotland to help illustrate some of the issues we would like to see addressed in this inquiry.