Keith Dyer

I am passionate about social work, and the positive impact social work can have on people’s lives. My interests mainly revolve around collaboration, co-production and the removal of siloed approaches to societal and personal problems.

I am arguably a ‘dyed in the wool children and families social worker’ having operated in this field as practitioner and manager level. However, my existing portfolio, under the Chief Social Work Officer, has allowed me far greater insight into the practice of a wide range of social work services. Operational and Governance arrangements may well be my main focus currently, yet I remain a committed champion of practice learning and the vital role that students bring to social work practice as well as the importance of bringing new people into this fantastic profession.

I am keen to reduce the divides and inequity between adult social work and children’s social work, as well as statutory social work and voluntary social work, focussing on promoting the commonality of importance and value.

Read more about Keith Dyer's knowledge, skills and experience, here. 




Professor Barbara Fawcett

I have recently joined the University of Strathclyde from the University of Birmingham as Professor of Social Work. At the University of Birmingham, I was Professor of Social Work (Adults and Communities) and Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Care. As part of this role, I led on curriculum development and the taking forward of the West Midlands Teaching Partnership, involving 14 Local Authorities and 8 HEIs, as well as research initiatives between the University and Birmingham City Council Adult Directorate.

Before joining the University of Birmingham, I was Professor of Social Work and Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, Australia. During this period, I took on the roles of Head of a Faculty Wide School and Associate Dean (Research).  My role incorporated leading major structural changes within the Faculty and enhancing student recruitment across the board, particularly in relation to Indigenous and International students. I was engaged in research, redesigning the social work curriculum and liaising with Social Work partners including major hospitals, Barnardo’s, Australia, the Sydney Settlement and a range of third sector organisations.

Prior to moving to Australia in 2004, I was head of the large interdisciplinary School of Applied Social Studies at the University of Bradford. At the University of Bradford, I also co-founded and led the Social Care Research and Evaluation Partnership.  Prior to joining the University of Bradford, I spent thirteen years in the field as a senior social work practitioner, social work hospital manager, contract researcher and head of mental health services for a large Local Authority. I have been a member and International member of a large number of peer review journal editorial boards and an Executive Board Member of Barnardo’s, Australia. My research focuses on gender studies, disability, older age and mental health as well as participatory research methodology. All my work has a strong International dimension and collaborations include Hong Kong, the US, China, South Korea, India, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Read more about Professor Barbara Fawcett's knowledge, skills and experience, here.  




Christine Gray

Child Protection/Children and Families – I worked for 7 years in frontline local authority children and families and child protection and duty teams before moving in to the third sector to begin developing a service for young survivors of sexual violence and their families. I am passionate about protecting children and young people and developing the communities around them. I currently lecture on the Child Abuse and Neglect module at the University of Stirling where I also support a group of post-graduate social work students on placement.

Gender Based Violence/Sexual Violence/Trauma – I worked with Rape Crisis Scotland prior to becoming a registered Social Worker and continue to volunteer with them to develop the support for young people and families. My PhD research focuses on the role of Violence Against Women leads and how they progress good practice through their involvement with child protection committees. I have provided therapeutic support for survivors of trauma and recognise the wider impact of trauma within communities and people working for communities.

Social Work Education – Ensuring high quality social work education inspires the future workforce. Supporting students to have a variety of experiences within social work settings is one of the favourite parts of my job and allows me to experience different ways of organising social work across Scotland.

Research/Co-Production/Feminist Empowerment Methods – I strongly believe that sustainable and effective policy and practice can be embedded when we listen and privilege the voices of the experienced. This means we have to finds ways of elevating the voices and experiences of the people we work with and for, as well as find avenues to add to the voices of social work practitioners. There is a tremendous amount of both practice and personal experience within our workforce and good practice can draw on this. I also believe that high quality research with a ‘real world’ orientation can help support social workers to do their jobs well and spark interest.

Read more about Christine Gray's knowledge, skills and experience, here. 




Graham Hall

I am currently a Senior Practitioner in the North East Locality Children and Families Team where I have worked since August 2004. Prior to starting my Social Work course in 2002 I worked for four years at RAFT, the Barnardo’s residential unit for primary aged children. I have also previously been a volunteer for the Action Group, working with special needs children, and a youth worker at the Calton Centre in Leith.

I have taken a leading role in various aspects of our team, running our in-house training, forum, co-ordinating our last four Awaydays, chairing our Locality Team Meetings and regularly organising social events both within and outside the office. I have also particularly advocated the need for self-care amongst members of our team, stressing the importance of looking after ourselves if we are to be able to effectively support the often vulnerable and complex families we work with.

I was one of the trainers for Anna Mitchell’s Re-Thinking Domestic Abuse training and am one of the Safe and Together champions in our team. In 2014 also co-wrote a paper on contact in domestic abuse cases with my then colleague Ariane Critchley as part of a practitioner research Knowledge Exchange project with Edinburgh University.

More recently I participated in the national Talking and Listening to Children research which was led in Scotland by Viv Cree at Edinburgh University. I have also been a founder member of the SASW Children and Families Community of Practice which followed on from this and which I have publicised throughout the City of Edinburgh Children and Families department, and regularly recruited new members for. I have also helped to organise both the initial SASW Community of Practice conference which took place last year and the second one due to take place this year where I will be co-presenting one of the workshops.

I have a particular interest in how poverty, social injustice and gender inequality impact both on the people we work with and our capacity as Social Workers to provide them with the support they need. In terms of trying to address these issues I would very much like to have the opportunity to raise with elected members the need for more, better-resourced, Social Workers with lower caseloads in the shorter term, and for a fairer society for everyone in the longer one.




Sarah Kerr

Prior to qualifying as a social worker and for the first 2 years post qualifying, I worked with adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems.  This is an area which has interested me for an extended period and was the focus of my dissertation looking at the experiences of parents with learning disabilities of the child protection process. 

Following this I have worked in children and families as a front-line social worker.  I have a passion for this sector and a real interest in supporting families; this in turn crosses over to my previous noted area of interest in supporting parents with learning disabilities.  In my current local authority, we have recently started to use signs of safety as our framework with families; I am finding this an interesting approach and look forward to seeing the changes this presents for the families I work with.

In my previous role as a team leader for a social care organisation I gained experience in managing services, supervising staff members and developing and delivering packages of training to workers.

Through my role as a social worker I feel I have developed skills as a practitioner in building relationships with families I have worked with; this has allowed me to gain a clearer insight into the dynamics with families and have difficult conversations with parents without this escalating to people dis-engaging.  I feel that this is incredibly important as a practitioner, as it is our responsibility to build this trust and engagement with families and not the other way around.  In turn, I feel this has resulted in better outcomes for the families I have worked with.  Parents develop trust and as a result are more likely to be honest about the areas of their life that they struggle with.

Read more about Sarah Kerr's knowledge, skills and experience, here. 




Caroline McDonald 

My current post is situated within a busy Children and Families team in the north west of Glasgow. Children and Families is an area of social work practice that I am passionate and enthusiastic about, it comes with many challenges but also with opportunities to make a real difference.

Since I began my social work training, I have recognised the value of relationship-based practice and it’s something that I have championed and woven through my own practice as a social worker.

I am particularly interested in social justice, gender inequality, immigration and human rights. This reaches across my professional practice and personal interests too.  I am an activist within my local area and my personal interests empower me to make a difference in my locality as well as in my daily practice as a social worker. I have a keen interest in politics from Scotland and beyond.

Another area of interest is domestic law, policy and how this is interpreted by local authorities and workers on the front line. Practising in a rights-based approach is crucial to my practice and it’s something that I promote. 

I am currently working through the Practice Development Award in Practice Learning course to become a Practice Educator. This has been an interesting journey and I have developed my own leadership skills and ways to create a learning environment for the student that I am assessing. Learning and development is something that’s important to me and I try to keep abreast of new research and policy developments and how these impact on my practice and the people who use my service.

I am always keen to develop my communication styles when speaking to children, in particular how I approach children during joint investigative interviews. I am aware that this area of practice is of interest to the Scottish government at present. If I was successful as a committee member, I could play a vital role in raising issues and representing the views of children, their families and SASW members within a wider forum.  

Read more about Caroline McDonald's knowledge, skills and experience, here. 




Jo Savege

I am currently practicing as a Mental Health Officer in a specialist project relating to Adults with Incapacity legislation and hospital discharge. I am also employed on a sessional basis in an emergency social work team. I have had long term historical involvement in forensic mental health services. I am registered with BASW as an independent social worker and am a social services member for Scottish Social Services Council Fitness to Practice panels.

More recently, I had a period of twelve months employment with the Care Inspector in the Scrutiny and Assurance Division carrying out inspections and complaints within adult services.

I am dedicated to championing the rights of individuals through the development of my practice and that of others. My interest in training and development has also taken me down the route of Practice Educator and devising and delivering training programmes.

I have worked in mental health social care for seventeen years and been a registered Social Worker since 2005. Throughout, I developed an extensive knowledge of statutory responsibilities in mental health social work. I have a comprehensive understanding of legislation including Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 and Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007. My experience spans general adult, forensic and psychiatry of older people multi-disciplinary settings, including medium and high secure hospitals and the community. I keep up-to-date with, and have contributed to, legislative reviews and policy. Recently this has focused on the reform of adults with incapacity legislation.

Read more about Jo Savege's knowledge, skills and experience, here.