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Date: Monday 16 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.”

ENDS

For further information contact:
John Stevenson, member of UNISON’s social work issues group, on 07876 795 018
Dave Watson, UNISON’s Scottish Organiser, on 07958 122 409


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