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50 years of Social Work celebrated

Celebrating 50 years of Social Work was the theme of an event held at Centrestage this week.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Social Work (Scotland) Act which led to the creation of social work departments and established social work as a professional service within local government.

The East Ayrshire event celebrated with musical entertainment from Centrestage’s Catalyst Choir, and featured presentations from people in recovery from addiction, young people and carers who spoke about their positive experiences of social work and social care services and the impact these have had on their lives.

Speakers included Susan Taylor, Head of Service for Children’s Health, Care and Justice and Chief Social Work Officer; Gordon Paterson, Chief Inspector of Adult Services with the Care Inspectorate and Fiona Lees, Chief Executive of East Ayrshire Council. Depute Provost Claire Leitch and Eddie Fraser, Director of Health and Social Care also recognised achievements, including award winning initiatives and staff with over forty years of service.

Councillor Iain Linton, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, said: “The Social Work (Scotland) Act had a huge role to play in developing the profession to what it is today.

“It brought a focus on the importance of care and protection of children and young people, and recognised that compassion is required in responding to people in adversity.  It introduced the children’s hearing system model, which is unique to Scotland and also brought criminal justice social work into the statutory remit of social work departments.

“But most of all, it saw the creation of a profession for practitioners who wanted to help create a better and safer society, something that we continue to strive for though our Social Work services, and indeed, the Council as a whole.”

Susan Taylor said: “A recent survey carried out on behalf of the National Social Work Services Strategic Forum found that overall, people in Scotland are positive about the impact of social services on society, and believe that these services perform an important public role. It also found that the public has a more positive view of social services than social service workers and institutions think.

“This year alone, the social work service has generated £4.7m in benefits for East Ayrshire residents through maximising their entitlement to benefits; provided 67,071 hours of unpaid work in communities across East Ayrshire by supporting people who are paying back for their crimes; provided 882,000 hours of care at home support to people with health and care needs; and supported 175 children and young people who require to live away from their own family due to care and protection concerns.

“Across Scotland, social work services are now operating in integrated service arrangements with colleagues from health and education, with a focus on improving the lives of the people we serve. The thing that has not changed is the unstoppable dedication and commitment of the social work and social care workforce, working across the statutory, third and independent sectors in East Ayrshire.”