Martin Whitfield MSP is supporting calls from the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) for MSPs from all parties to “grasp the opportunity to reform and shape a new future for social work” when proposals for a new National Care Service are brought to parliament.
Ahead of World Social Work Day 2022, Mr Whitfield paid tribute to the invaluable contributions of social workers across Scotland, recognising the positive difference they make to people’s lives.
However, they also acknowledged the challenging working conditions and significant pressures being placed on the profession, with a recent survey carried out by BASW finding that 58% of Scottish social workers consider demands of administrative tasks as the biggest challenge to them.
In addition, the same survey revealed that more than half of respondents from across the UK said their mental health had suffered from working during the pandemic and 72% said they cannot complete their work within contracted hours.
Mr Whitfield has signed a motion lodged by Fulton MacGregor MSP marking World Social Work Day 2022 and committing to engaging with social workers to help protect and strengthen the profession.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“Social workers do outstanding work in our communities, often under difficult circumstances, and I’m proud to be supporting World Social Work Day to express my gratitude to them for their efforts.
“However, it’s no secret that social workers are facing impossible levels of demand which is leaving them feeling exhausted, is harming their mental health and wellbeing and risks detrimentally impacting the delivery of services. That cannot be allowed to continue.
“With a new National Care Service being established, we have a unique opportunity in this parliament to shape a new and better direction of travel for Scottish social work. Working with the profession to deliver positive and lasting change must be a priority for MSPs from across the political divide.”
Alison Bavidge, National Director of SASW, added:
“World Social Work Day is an opportunity for social workers across the globe to connect, reflect on our shared values and celebrate our achievements.
“However, we cannot overlook the pressing need to strengthen the profession. Many social workers are telling us that they’re feeling overwhelmed and are struggling to cope, with several long-standing problems around caseloads and working conditions now exasperated by the pandemic.
“We need a system that is based on early intervention and prevention that supports people when they need it and allows social workers time and space to build relationships and trust with individuals, families and communities. There has never been a more critical time for this change to happen.”
Mr Whitfield is also delighted to support World Social Work Month – a series of online events and activities to celebrate and champion social work both in the UK and internationally. The majority of events are free to attend and open to both social workers and anyone who wants to learn more about the profession.
Anyone interested in these events can find out more about World Social Work Month at: https://www.basw.co.uk/world-social-work-month-2022-full-programme