Social Work Services Strategic Forum minutes: March 2018

Minutes from the 20 March 2018 meeting of the Social Work Services Strategic Forum (SWSSF).

Attendees and apologies


  • Maree Todd, Minister for Childcare and Early Years (chair)
  • Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser, SG
  • Anna Fowlie, SSSC
  • Jane Devine, Social Work Scotland
  • Jackie Irvine, Social Work Scotland
  • Stephen Smellie, UNISON
  • Trisha Hall, SASW
  • Karyn McCluskey, Community Justice Scotland
  • Annie Gunner Logan, CCPS
  • Rikke Iversholt, IRISS
  • John Wood, Cosla
  • Donald MacAskill, Scottish Care
  • Trish McCulloch, HEIs Representative/Dundee University
  • Helen Happer, Care Inspectorate
  • Michael Chalmers, Director Children & Families
  • Jamie MacDougall, Deputy Director, Care Support & Rights, SG
  • Christina Naismith, Lead for Integration-Strategic Commissioning, SG
  • Jane Johnstone, Professional Social Work Adviser, SG


  • Jane Mackenzie, OCSWA, SG
  • Shona MacPherson, OCSWA, SG


  • Claire Lightowler, CYCJ
  • Michelle Miller, SOLACE
  • Jacqui Lunday Johnstone, Chief Health Professions Officer

Items and actions

1. Welcome, introductions and apologies

The Minister welcomed everyone to the meeting which was being held on World Social Work Day. The Minister noted that it was a great privilege to have responsibility in her current role for the social services workforce, a profession she had great respect for during her time working as a clinical pharmacist.

The Minister also noted that this was Anna Fowlie’s last Forum meeting as CEO of SSSC and thanked her on behalf of everyone for her extremely valuable contribution to the SSSC, to the work of the Forum and to the wider social services sector.

2. Note of previous meeting - 12 December 2017

The note had been previously been circulated for comment to Forum members and was agreed without any further amendments. On Actions the Minister noted that the Public Understanding Working Group would be meeting to agree a research proposal for further work on public perceptions. Shona MacPherson noted that she would speak to Claire Lightowler with regards the suggestion that Celcis be involved in the Performance and Evidence workstrand.

Wider strategic context

3. Adults with incapacity legislation

The Minister noted that due to illness of the contributor this item would be rearranged for the June meeting of the Forum.

4. Care Inspectorate: presentation on new Models of Inspections

Helen Happer tabled 2 papers and spoke to these to provide an opportunity for discussion about the Care Inspectorate’s new Models of Inspections for both children’s and adult’s services.

Revised model for joint inspections of Children’s Services

The Care Inspectorate is working with scrutiny partners to develop a revised model of inspection, a paper was circulated which outlined the progress being made.

Points raised in discussion:

  • Annie noted that there are issues around tendering and re-tendering for contracts which are impacting on continuity of care with examples of service contracts not being renewed because of resources. Helen noted this is an issue for third sector organisations and that commissioning will be looked at in terms of the range of services available to a child

  • Iona noted that the Children’s Services Plan involves a number of different partners who all need to understand that they are subject to this inspection framework (community justice etc)

  • Stephen noted his interest in how the Care Inspectorate is looking at how organisations support staff and how the CI engages with unions to ensure that their views are gathered in regard to how workers voices are heard. Helen invited Stephen to contact her to discuss further

  • Anna welcomed the specific focus in the CI work on looking at how employers are supporting frontline staff and noted the importance of the Employers Code of Practice and the need for CI to look at how employers are performing in line with the Code

  • Michael welcomed the Care Inspectorate’s engagement with young people and asked about how the CI and the sector could better share good practice across and amongst CPPs. Helen noted that all CI reports have good practice identified but this does date quickly as the context is changing constantly. Furthermore organisations do need a lot of support to support best practice. She noted that more SG feedback on service plans would be welcomed

  • Trish asked whether consideration would be given to inspecting the contribution to professional development and workplace learning? How can this be better integrated? Helen and Trish to meet to discuss

  • Jackie noted that resource restrictions impact on service redesign and that the Care Inspectorate can play a useful role in being involved during this process, not just when the redesign has been implemented

Joint Inspections Adult Services

Helen noted that from April 2017 the Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland have been jointly assessing the effectiveness of integration authorities’ strategic plans. Still at early stages so focusing on their progress towards integrated approaches to planning and delivering services.

Points raised in discussion:

  • Donald welcomed the look at care at home as this is an area in which he considers is particularly fragile. He also welcomed the look at adult protection and suggested that there would be merit in the SG reinstating the Adult Protection Forum which had not met for some time. He noted challenges around SDS in residential care and said Scottish Care were hoping to host a joint workshop with Cosla on this to explore how to enable those in residential care to access this better

  • Jamie noted the suggestion around the Adult Protection Forum and would be happy to discuss this further with Donald. He also highlighted the forthcoming developments around introduction of free personal care for under 65s

  • Christina noted that it was important not just to focus on social services but to look at the whole system and the importance of health services in adult care needs to be emphasised too. Financial planning is also crucial and Helen and Christine are to meet to discuss further

Specific workstrands

5. Supporting the Workforce

National Health & Social Care Workforce Plan: Part 2

Iona gave the Forum a brief update on progress with the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan Part 2 which has been developed jointly with COSLA:

  • consideration is now being given to how to take forward the seven recommendations in part 2 and how the work will be led/coordinated. The next stage will be to involve stakeholders and agree their contributions

  • a paper is going to the National Workforce Planning Group on 22 March on the next steps, after which it should be possible to begin the stakeholder engagement

  • linked with one of the recommendations, work is ongoing to look at improvement methodology and how to better support the workforce in developing skills in this, area - particularly within multi-disciplinary teams

  • links are being made with the IJB Chief Officers Group in particular its community of interest group on workforce which is led by Ron Culley

  • noted that Part 3 of the Workforce Plan which mainly covers primary care is due to be published within the next few weeks

Action: Update on progress with the Plan and the work to support improvement skills development will be given at the June Forum meeting.

6. Promoting Public Understanding

Scottish Social Services Awards 2018

Shona updated the Forum on progress with this year’s Awards. Nominations had closed at the end of January and the four Shortlisting Panels had met and chosen a shortlist of 27 people/organisations to go forward to the Final Judging Panel in May to select the winners. The Awards ceremony will be held on 6 June at the Mansfield Traquair in Edinburgh.

Social Services Expo 2018 – Paper 1

Shona provided an update on plans for the Social Services Expo to be held in September 2018 as agreed with the Forum. The paper proposed using the same events company as last year to organise the event and for the use of approximately £36,000 from the SG budget (resource to support for implementation of the Vision and Strategy) to fund the event.

Actions/Decisions: The Forum agreed the use of SHSC Events as Event Manager and the estimated cost of £36,000 for the Expo.

Future costs of the forum

7. Revised Terms of Reference – Paper 2

A draft of updated terms of reference had been provided in advance of the meeting. Jane Mackenzie outlined the reasons for the update in particular the need to ensure a suitable advisory role for the Forum in regard to the recommendations in the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan part 2 to avoid any duplication of activity.

The update also provided an opportunity to reflect on the membership of the Forum hence the suggested inclusion of an IJB Chief Officers Representative through Ron Culley, lead on the IJB Workforce community of interest. OCSWA is still considering how best to meet the suggestion of a service user group and will send on suggestions in due course.

Points made in discussion:

  • Anna noted that the SG membership should perhaps not outweigh stakeholder representation. Iona agreed that OCSWA would consider how best to reflect this in the revised membership

  • the Minister noted that the service user voice was worth pursuing. It was suggested that the Care Inspectorate may be able to help with this. Christina Naismith noted that Carers organisations might be worth considering

  • Jane Devine noted that Healthcare Improvement Scotland and centres of excellence such as Celcis might be worth approaching

Action/Decisions: Forum members to send any other suggestions or observations on the updated Remit to OCSWA by end April 2018 so that it can be finalised.

8. Revised Implementation Plan: March 2018 onwards

Papers 3 & 4 – completed or superseded actions/ updated implementation plan

Jane Mackenzie explained that Paper 3 listed those actions which have either been completed or because of changing circumstances, no longer require specific action by the Forum. Paper 4 was the draft updated Implementation Plan for the final two years of the Strategy. The updated Paln is much shorter as a number of actions have been completed or have been revised in consultation with the workstrand leads to better reflect the remaining actions to be taken forward. Links to the recommendations from the NH&SC Workforce Plan are included for clarity and to minimise any duplication of activity. Jane also noted that whilst strategic ownership of these recommendations lies with the National Workforce Planning Group, the Forum will have a key input into how these are taken forward.

Points made in discussion:

  • Annie noted that actions 5 and 6 from the original Implementation Plan, relating to procurement, do still relate to work being progressed through the NH&SC Workforce Plan – specifically recommendation 3. The Forum should therefore still take an overview on activity around this

  • Stephen raised the in-work poverty action and felt this was still an issue which exists across parts of the workforce and should therefore not be dropped as an action. John agreed that consideration of in work poverty should not be lost and there was an opportunity to link it with the Workforce Plan and its efforts to improving the workforce. Iona noted that the poverty commission was looking at this issue and agreed there was the opportunity through the workforce plan to make connections across the SG on this issue

  • Helen Happer noted that the reconvened working Group for the now-joined Evidence and Performance workstrands was meeting on 21/3 to consider how to take forward those actions

  • Jane Devine noted that the remaining Public Understanding actions reflected the findings of the recent research and so were now more focused on raising the confidence of the sector itself

Action/Decisons: OCSWA to reflect on how best to reflect original actions 5, 6 and 7 in the updated Plan and then finalise the Plan for taking forward over the next period of the Vision and Strategy.

9. Next Meeting

Tuesday 26 June 2018, 10.00-12.00, St Andrews House, Edinburgh

Back to top