The role of the Chief Social Work Officer

Guidance for local authorities regarding the role of the Chief Social Work Officer.


6. The requirement for every local authority to appoint a Chief Social Work Officer is set out in section 3 of the 1968 Act. This requirement is for the purposes of the local authority functions under the 1968 Act and the enactments listed in section 5(1B) of the Act. The role provides a strategic and professional leadership role in the delivery of social work services. In addition there are certain functions conferred by legislation directly on the CSWO by name.

7. The Scottish Office explicitly recognised that the need for the role was driven by " the particular responsibilities which fall on social work services in that they affect personal lives, individual rights and liberties to an extent that other local authority services do not." (Circular: SWSG2/1995 May 1995)

8. The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 provides for the delegation of certain social work functions by a local authority to an integration authority. The CSWO's responsibilities in relation to local authority social work functions continue to apply to functions which are being delivered by other bodies under integration arrangements. However, the responsibility for appointing a CSWO cannot be delegated and must be exercised directly by the local authority itself.


Email: Jane MacKenzie

Back to top