Services to People - Social Work

Supporting Scotland's Social Work Services Workforce
UNISON is by far the largest union representing most Social Work and Social Care staff in Scotland. We represent Social Workers in all specialisms, residential workers, social care workers, OTs, home care staff and professional, admin and clerical support staff. We have a Social Work Issues Group (SWIG) with reps from branches across Scotland, specifically addressing Social Work issues.

 

5th August 2015

UNISON joins social work campaign

UK social work organisations have agreed to campaign collectively to safeguard their profession – and the people who rely on them in a time of need


5th August 2015

UNISON takes concerns over health and care regulators fee-setting processes to the Professional Standard Authority

UNISON has raised its concerns with the Professional Standard Authority (PSA) over the ‘lack of consistency and safeguards’ in the way regulators set registration fees, ton Friday.


22nd July 2015



Are you interested in social care and home care? Join our webinar and find out more about how others are running local campaigns to promote ethical care and support homecare workers. 

27th May 2015

Invaluable guides for Social workers:-


Social work Manifesto

Social Work Manifesto


Keeping safe in the workplace

Keeping Safe in the Workplace


Supervision and Workload Management for Social Work

Workload and Supervision


27th March 2015


Social work and contempt of court update

On 16 December 2013 two social workers employed by City of Edinburgh Council were found guilty of contempt of court in relation to a decision they took over parental contact. That case was appealed to the Court of Session and we issued some interim guidance to members. In an e-brief last year we also set out the actions UNISON Scotland had taken over the wider implications of the case, including representations to the Scottish Government.

We are pleased to report that the Court of Session has decided on appeal that the conduct of social workers in Edinburgh City Council did not amount to contempt and that the decision of the Sheriff is quashed.
 



14th April 2014

Dangerous budget cuts and management missives are making work
tougher for those in the sector, writes STEPHEN SMELLIE
SOCIAL workers and those in Scotland’s wider social care sector are used to hearing of new professional “initiatives.”
They are constantly being told of new assessment tools, self-directed support and personalisation systems.
Politicians talk about “integration” and managers talk about “procurement strategies.”
What these workers experience is more work, a lack of resources, vacancies being left unfilled and budgets cut.
They are spending more time looking at computer screens rather than talking to service users and families. There are more service users to visit and fewer available places at day centres.
To read the full article click here

3rd March 2015

Social work and contempt of court update


On 16 December 2013 two social workers employed by City of Edinburgh Council were found guilty of contempt of court in relation to a decision they took over parental contact. 
That case was appealed to the Court of Session and we issued some interim guidance to members. 
In an e-brief last year we also set out the actions UNISON Scotland had taken over the wider implications of the case, including representations to the Scottish Government. 
We are pleased to report that the Court of Session has decided on appeal that the conduct of social workers in Edinburgh City Council did not amount to contempt and that the decision of the Sheriff is quashed. 
The Court has confirmed that contempt proceedings could be used in certain circumstances. However, they would be exceptional and social workers in this case did act in the best interests of the children. Lord Carloway, the Lord Justice Clerk said:
 “The petitioners (social workers) elected to discontinue the contact ordered by the court. Such conduct may, of course, amount to a contempt in certain circumstances. It may well constitute a prima facie case. However, it must be accepted that there are situations in which social workers, who are entrusted with the task of supervising contact, may stop contact ordered by the court where, for example, the child’s safety would be put at serious risk were the contact to take place. That being so, whether that cessation amounts to contempt will depend upon the facts and circumstances of the particular case. In this instance, whether the petitioners were correct or not in their professional evaluation of the situation, it is evident that they acted for reasons which they considered to be in the best interests of the children. They did so with a view to having the issue of contact re-ventilated as soon as practicable by the appropriate legal authority, namely the Children’s Hearing.” 
The Court of Appeal was also critical of the way the Sheriff handled the proceedings including: 
“The action taken by the sheriff thereafter proceeded at her own instance and without any form of written application, setting out the precise nature of the contempt. The court does not consider that it is appropriate to proceed in this fashion.” 
This should provide guidance for other Sheriff’s considering using contempt proceedings in future. UNISON Scotland’s statement today includes: 
"The court has recognised complex and difficult decisions social workers have to take in their work in protecting the welfare of children. We hope this decision will assist in providing some clarity for them in exercising their duty in good faith to hold the child's interests as paramount. UNISON backed our members from the beginning and we are glad that the long months of uncertainly are now over for them.” 

The full decision of the Court of Session can be read here https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/searchjudgments/judgment?id=63d8cea6-8980-69d2-b500-ff0000d74aa7. 

The UNISON Scotland Social Work Issues Group (SWIG) will look at the decision in detail and consider if any further action is necessary.

17th September 2014

To read the advice to members re SSSC referral cases from the Professional registration-representation
unit: advice for members go to http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork/pru.pdf

5th August 2014

Home Care Report - Policy Briefing No. 57 on Home Care Services, was written following a recent Care Commission report analysing the sector.  A link to the report on the UNISON-Scotland website is set out here

March 2014

Supervision and Workload Management guide:  http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/socialwork/workloadsupservisionupdated.pdf

16th December 2013

Contempt of Court ruling on Edinburgh social workers – UNISON response
UNISON is calling for an urgent legislative review following a contempt case verdict at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today (Monday) which could have wide-ranging implications for workers across Scotland.

Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, said: “Our social work members have an overriding duty to ensure the child’s welfare is paramount in all that they do. However, it seems the paramountcy of the welfare of the children is not considered relevant during contempt proceedings. This is quite clearly a conflict of laws.

“Social work staff deal with complex and challenging cases on a daily basis and this decision merely muddies the water and puts those working on the frontline in a very difficult and vulnerable position.

“The fact that individuals, rather than the organisation they work for, have been put in this position has wide-ranging implications for the employer/employee relationship and could have a ripple effect on all frontline workers.

“Today’s decision highlights the need for a legislative review and one that ministers need to address as a matter of urgency.”
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