Ten years ago, the 21st Century Social Work Review took a fundamental look at all aspects of social work to strengthen its contribution to the delivery of integrated services. The resulting Changing Lives report, published in 2006, has led to a wide range of actions by the Scottish Government, local government and providers.
But, continuing policy developments mean that a lot has changed since Changing Lives. Public service reform, the recent review of community planning, self-directed support, integration of adult health and social care, GIRFEC and the Children and Young People Bill, Carers, the Early Years Framework and Early Years Collaborative and changes to the community justice system/criminal justice social work are just a few of the policy developments in recent times. This is in addition to the continuing acute financial position, the increasing demands and expectations placed on all services, changes to the welfare system and the significant development in terms of demographics.
Given these challenges, the time is right to pause and consider how these changes are affecting the contribution that social services make to Scotland’s communities. This is not another fundamental review of all aspects of social work, but is an opportunity to reflect and develop a single vision and strategy for social services in Scotland going forward. This will include setting out the core values and principles which underpin the delivery of the wide range of services provided by local authorities and the voluntary and private sectors.