The role of the Chief Social Work Officer

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

Access, Accountability and Reporting Arrangements

25. To discharge their role effectively, the CSWO will need:

(a) direct access to people and information across the local authority, including the Chief Executive, elected members, managers and frontline practitioners and also in partner services, including in Health and Social Care Partnerships. Specific arrangements will vary according to individual councils, but should be clearly articulated locally;

(b) to be able to bring matters to the attention of the Chief Executive to ensure that professional standards and values are maintained;

(c) to be visible and available to any social services worker and ensure the availability of robust professional advice and practice guidance;

(d) to provide professional advice as required to senior managers across the authority and its partners in support of strategic and corporate agendas.

26. Local authorities will need to agree:

(a) how the CSWO is enabled to inform and influence corporate issues, such as managing risk, setting budget priorities and public service reform;

(b) the specific access arrangements for the CSWO to the Chief Executive and elected members;

(c) the relationships, responsibilities and respective accountabilities of service managers and the CSWO;

(d) a mechanism to include an independent, professional perspective to the appointment of the CSWO;

(e) procedures for removal of a CSWO postholder, bearing in mind the need for continuity in the provision of the CSWO functions, the value of independent professional advice and the arrangements for the appointment and removal of the local authority's other proper officers;

(f) clear and formal deputising arrangements (with similar skills and experience available) to cover any period of absence by the CSWO and appropriate delegation arrangements where scale of business requires this.

27. This document complements the wide set of guidance underpinning the delivery of safe, accountable and effective social work practice and high quality social services in Scotland.


Email: Jane MacKenzie

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