Weds 24 March 2004
Child protection risk must be recognised
UNISON, the union representing Scotland's social care staff, today (Wednesday),
will hear a call for the Scottish Executive to set up a standing system for inquiries
into child protection crises as part of a plan to address the problems of social
work across Scotland.
John Stevenson, UNISON's City of Edinburgh Branch
Secretary, and himself a child protection social worker will say: "No service
can operate with 40-50% shortfalls in staffing, which is not unusual in child
protection across Scotland. To talk about systems and procedures in that context
has a feel of fiddle and burning to it. We need a Scottish-wide review of social
care which addresses resources, training, structures, pay and career progression
- a review that UNISON has been asking for for nearly three years.
also must learn from inquiries, and the shortcomings of the O'Brien Inquiry shows
how much we need a proper, standing system which sets up a consistent standard,
covering social work, health and police issues, understanding the law and prepared
to look at resources. We need our politicians and media to understand what working
with risk means and give the resources to plan."
Stephen Smellie, Chair
of UNISON's Social Work Issues Group said: "In addition to the problems of recruitment
and retention, the conference will also discuss problems of violence to staff,
and the need to radically develop training."
The Conference, which will
consist of delegates from social work services all over Scotland, will take place
tomorrow from 10.30 am in UNISON's Glasgow City Branch Office, 18 Albion Street,
The Main speakers will be John Stevenson, (above) and Bernadette
Docherty, from the Association of Directors of Social Work, - vice chair of the
ADSW Children and Families Committee - she will deal with the need for proper
support for staff at the front line.
[Note to Editors: Speakers and social workers will be available
for interview before or after the conference. Please contact Chris
Bartter (below). Click
here for full text of John stevenson's presentation.
Information Please Contact: Stephen Smellie (Chair - Soc Wk Issues Gp) 07740
096 864 (m) John Stevenson (Edinburgh City Branch Sec) 07876 795 018 (m) Chris
Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)