UNISON warns of cuts risk to social work

Social workers meeting in Glasgow warned today that managers and the Scottish government must do more to protect services to the most vulnerable in the face of austerity cuts.

UNISON Scotland vice convenor Stephen Smellie told a seminar on ethical social work that cutbacks are placing unprecedented pressures on services and on staff working to ensure professional standards are upheld.

He said: “It has never been more difficult to deliver social work services. The austerity policies have resulted in increasing social problems, increasing burdens on families and service users and, at the same time, cuts in services.

“Social work staff in all sectors have seen the demand for their services and their workloads increase. UNISON members want to provide high-quality services but are under increasing pressure.

And Mr Smellie added, “as a union, we will support members to ensure they are able to maintain the appropriate professional standards and, at the same time, are safe in their workplaces.

“The employers and government need to do more to protect social work services and to ensure that there is no race to the bottom through contracting out services.”

Mr Smellie, who is chair of the union’s social work issues group, said that a number of challenges potentially put standards at risk, without strong attention to protecting them. These include health and social care integration, the roll out of personalisation and increasingly complex caseloads.

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Key Issues: Cuts to local services

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UNISON Scotland