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Key people and organisations

Scottish Government

The Minister for Children & Young People has responsibility for the social services workforce. Due to the cross cutting nature of social work there are a number of other Ministers whose portfolios impact on the social services workforce. These include the Minister for Public Health, the Cabinet Secretary for Education & Life-long Learning and the Cabinet Secretary for Health.

The Chief Social Work Adviser is responsible for providing professional advice across Scottish Government on all aspects of social work services, from the strategic to the operational, and across the portfolio areas of children, young people, adult and criminal justice. The post is currently held by Alan Baird.

Local Authority

The function of local government in relation to social work is laid out in the Social Work (Scotland) 1968 Act. The Act makes provision for promoting social welfare in Scotland. Areas covered include the care and protection of children, the supervision and care of people put on probation or released from prison and the children’s hearings system.

The Act requires every local authority to appoint a professionally qualified Chief Social Work Officer (CSWO).vThe overall objective of the CSWO post is to ensure the provision of effective, professional advice to local authorities - elected members and officers - in the authorities' provision of social work services. The post should assist authorities in understanding the complexities of social work service delivery and the key role social work plays in contributing to the achievement of national and local outcomes.



British/Scottish Association for Social Work (BASW/SASW)

Promoting the best possible social work services for all people who may need them, while also securing the well being of social workers.

Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS)

Responsible for enhancing the capacity and capability of the social services workforce to access and make use of knowledge & research for service innovation & improvement, and in doing so, promoting positive outcomes for the people who use Scotland's social services.

NHS Education for Scotland (NES)

A national Special Health Board which supports NHS services to the people of Scotland through the development and delivery of education and training for all those who work in NHS Scotland. NES also works in collaboration with IRISS, ADSW and SSSC to support development of the social work services workforce.

Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)

A Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) responsible for registering people who work in social services and regulating their education and training. Their role is to raise standards of practice, strengthen and support the workforce and increase the protection of people who use services. Their vision is a competent, confident workforce, capable of delivering high quality services that has the confidence of the public, those who use services and their carers.

Social Work Scotland

Social Work Scotland is the leadership organisation for the social work profession. They represent social workers and other professionals who lead and support social work across all sectors. Their vision is of a social work profession across Scotland which is led effectively and creatively; is responsive to the needs of the people we support and protect; is accessible and accountable; and promotes social justice.

Other related organisations