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2 April 2003

Social Workers demand review

Social work staff from across Scotland will today back a series of demands designed to address the problems facing the service.

UNISON, the union that organises Scottish social work staff is launching a campaign document identifying the problems and ways to tackle them, at a delegate meeting being held in Glasgow's Moir Hall, Granville Street, Glasgow at 11.00am today (2 April).

Stephen Smellie, Chair of UNISON's Social Work Issues Group said. "Staff from qualified Social Workers to Social Work Assistants face problems of large numbers of vacancies, increased stress and reducing support. These lead to problems of lack of back-up, increasing risks of violence, no time to train, increased pressure on unqualified staff. Pay is a key issue in addressing such problems, but not the only one. We think we need a full-scale review to look at training, the job of social workers and other staff, protection and other support.

UNISON's pamphlet, The future for Scotland's Social Work, paints a bleak picture of a service trying to cope, but under increasing pressure. It highlights staffing problems that affect residential care and home care as well as the more publicised problems affecting children and family, sections. It has been released as part of the union's Revitalise our Public Services Campaign.

Mike Kirby, Scottish Convenor of UNISON said: "Our campaign is designed to highlight the things that are needed to deliver the services Scotland needs. The chronic staffing crisis in social work is a case in point. Politicians need to start giving social work staff the backing they need to carry out this difficult and necessary job."

UNISON has already raised its demands with the new standards body (the SSSC), the local authorities and with government ministers. The union will continue to campaign for a full review to address all the problems that threaten social work services and the staff who provide them.

ENDS

[Notes to the Editor: The meeting will be a closed meeting but there will be social work staff available for interview via Chris Bartter (numbers below). A copy of the campaign document is also available from Chris or on the website - http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/localgovt/socialwork

For Further Information Please Contact: Stephen Smellie (Chair - UNISON Social Work Issues Group) 07740 096864(m) Joe Di Paola (Scottish Organiser - Local Govt) 07790 505698(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)

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