Annex D: Summary of recommendations
1. Social work services must be designed and delivered around the needs of people who use services, their carers and communities.
- standards for access to social work services led by those who use services and their carers;
- participative and empowering assessment;
- recognition of unpaid carers as partners and providers of care alongside professionals;
- seamless transitions between different parts of the service for people who use services and their carers;
- services provided from premises that are fit for purpose; and
- that we further our understanding of the implications of developing personalised social work services.
2. Social work services must build individual, family and community capacity to meet their own needs.
- the development of community capacity;
- an increased role for social work services in building the social economy;
- effective use of tested approaches to increasing the capacity of individuals, families, groups and communities;
- an expansion of volunteering, peer support and self help groups; and
- more widespread application of group work.
3. Social work services must play a full and active part in a public sector wide approach to prevention and earlier intervention.
- increased long term investment in prevention and early intervention;
- joined up approaches to prevention and intervention;
- prevention to be part of everyone's job; and
- the development of anticipatory services to improve outcomes for people with predictable needs.
4. Social work services must become an integral part of a whole public sector approach to supporting vulnerable people and promoting social well-being.
- Effective community and corporate planning incorporating social work services;
- Harmonisation of local service boundaries wherever possible;
- Services to be commissioned and developed at the most appropriate level to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and best value;
- An integrated policy framework which rationalises information, planning and funding streams; and
- Simplification of governance and funding arrangements across the public sector to promote integrated working.
5. Social work services must recognise and effectively manage the mixed economy of care in the delivery of services.
- new commissioning models based on partnership and delivery of personalised services;
- more effective partnership working between commissioners and providers; and
- effective joint working to address the needs of people who use services.
6. Social work services must develop a new organisational approach to managing risk, which ensures the delivery of safe, effective and innovative practice.
- clear accountability frameworks which make explicit the accountabilities of the social worker;
- social workers to exercise professional autonomy within a clear framework of professional accountability;
- a new approach to social work governance;
- a strengthening of the governance and leadership roles of the chief social work officer;
- structured approaches to manage untoward incidents that enable learning from mistakes;
- a research and development strategy for social work; and
- evidence based risk assessment and management tools.
7. Employers must make sure that social workers are enabled and supported to practise accountably and exercise their professional autonomy.
- the reserved functions of social workers to be set out in regulations;
- practitioners to be equipped to exercise professional autonomy and accountability;
- the implications of personalisation to be considered and reflected in social worker education programmes;
- new career pathways in practice and professional leadership linked to an agreed competence framework; and
- the continued development of a national recognition and reward framework for social workers, reflecting career pathways and competence.
8. Social work services must develop a learning culture that commits all individuals and organisations to lifelong learning and development.
- full implementation of the National Strategy for the Development of the Social Service Workforce in Scotland: A Plan for Action 2005-2010;
- further investment in lifelong learning across the social service workforce;
- social service workers to maintain a personal portfolio as an up to date record of their skills and competence;
- social service workers to have access to regular, quality professional support, challenge and consultation;
- newly qualified professionals to have a period of more intensive initial support; and
- stronger links between employers and higher education institutions.
9. Social work services should be delivered by effective teams designed to incorporate the appropriate mix of skills and expertise and operating with delegated authority and responsibilities.
- employers to invest in building and sustaining effective teamwork;
- a team based approach to performance improvement;
- budgetary and decision making authority to be delegated as near to the front line as possible;
- the development of a new para professional role;
- teams to have the right mix of skills to operate efficiently and effectively;
- social service workers to be treated as a mobile workforce
- investment in increasing the capacity of teams to respond to growing need; and
- an integrated approach to workforce planning and development.
10. Social work services must develop enabling leadership and effective management at all levels and across the system.
- a national framework for developing leadership and management;
- a leadership style that gives staff, users and managers the power to develop creative solutions;
- strengthening of strategic professional leadership;
- development of academic leadership and
- development of effective citizen leadership.
11. Social work services must be monitored and evaluated on the delivery of improved outcomes for people who use services, their carers and communities.
- a performance improvement framework for all social work services, based on outcomes;
- elimination of unnecessary information gathering;
- development of tools to share learning and support practitioners to improve and evaluate outcomes;
- an annual performance improvement report, peer assessed and published by chief social work officers; and
- inspectorates to use performance improvement frameworks as a means of reducing the regulatory burden on services.
12. Social work services should develop the capacity and capability for transformational change by focusing on re-designing services and organisational development.
- new capacity for service redesign and organisational development;
- organisational development capacity in social work services;
- evidence based models of service redesign to support performance improvement;
- proactive use of technology to transform the delivery of services; and
- national and local fora to support the development of social work.
13. The Scottish Executive should consolidate in legislation the new direction of Scottish social work services.