UNISON & BASW welcome the positive steps taken in Scotland to address the problems in Social Work in the past few years. These include
- The 21st Century Review and the Changing Lives Report.
- The regulatory framework including registration of staff and inspection of services.
- The lifelong approach that includes the new training programmes and continuing professional development for all social services staff.
- The right of people who use services to expect dignity and social justice within the social services.
However there is still much to be done and this manifesto highlights some of the key issues to be tackled if we are to implement Changing Lives. It is based on views collated from frontline staff within all sectors of the social services workforce.
UNISON Scotland has launched a guide to help social workers stay safe in the workplace. The new guide – Keeping Safe in the Workplace – aims to help social workers recognise when they are becoming stressed or overloaded at work and to seek support from their employers, trade union or professional association when needed.
The guide has been written by social workers for social workers and examines some of the key issues faced by staff in their day-to-day working lives.
The launch, organised by UNISON Scotland in conjunction with the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW), will include a presentation on the new guide and the principles behind it.
Kate Ramsden, a member of UNISON’s Social Work Issues Group, said: “There is no doubt that social work staff work in an increasingly difficult climate with rising demands not always matched with an increase in available resources. This group of staff are constantly overstretched and this can lead to stress, ill-health and burnout.
“This guide aims to help social work practitioners to keep themselves safe in the workplace; to recognise when they are becoming stressed or overloaded, and how to seek the necessary help from their employer or trade union.”
Stephen Smellie, chair of UNISON’s Social Work Issues Group, said: “People are essential to the quality of service provided and it is vital that we support the staff who deliver services. We need to ensure they are trained, supported and properly resourced in order to undertake the often difficult tasks required by our service users.”