Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Expert Advisory Group: minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 21 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • individuals providing social work services across Scotland from various practice areas

  • Resilience Learning Partnership

  • Scottish Government (SG)

Items and actions


This was the fourth meeting of the Trauma Informed Social Work Services (TISWS) Expert Advisory Group. The purpose of this meeting was to inform the group of what is happening nationally and locally and to provide an update on the Trauma Responsive Social Work Service Work Plan.

Introductions, welcome and apologies

The meeting began by the Chair noting apologies from members.  All members gave brief introductions as there were a few members who were not able to attend the meeting.

Note of previous meeting

The group approved the meeting note from the third Expert Advisory Group meeting on 26 May 2022.

Presentation on Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Workplan

SG Trauma Professional Social Work Adviser (PSWA) and Policy Lead from the Trauma Informed Social Work Services Team (TISWS) delivered a short presentation on the progress made so far on the Work Plan. The presentation can be requested from the Secretariat.

Key points raised during the presentation include:

  • trauma has featured in six consecutive Programme for Government’s (PfG’s)
  • the team have worked extensively with key partners to develop the plan and decide who would lead on work streams
  • the collective challenge to change culture requires support from all stakeholders
  • presenters invited colleagues to provide suggestions for other organisations who should be feeding into the Work Plan
  • Work Plan progress will be reported to the Expert Advisory Group, the Social Work Education Partnership and the National Trauma Training Steering Group, chaired by the Deputy First Minister
  • the Partnership Delivery Group to consider where aspects of the Work Plan overlap and also discuss how things come together

Discussion on the Work Plan, feedback and reflections

Feedback and reflections on the Work Plan from group members include:

  • having co-facilitated/co-delivered training which brings in people with lived experience is important
  • possessing the knowhow and bringing in people with lived experience will be crucial. Will this be mapped into training for local authority areas?
  • in the context of lived experience/reflective practice, some areas have been able to employ a Psychologist and have had the opportunity to roll out trauma enhanced practice. For sustainability, looking after staff and recognising their own lived experience of trauma is imperative
  • welcome seeing trauma being discussed at all levels of qualification and the requirement for reflective supervision across managerial positions
  • a quality indicator framework is currently being developed by the Improvement Service and NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • there is still a culture of stigma and shame that exists in social work and this needs to change. The quality indicator framework highlights the importance of culture and language
  • consider the connection between knowledge and education frameworks. There are issues surrounding limiting discretion and we are required to discuss how these can be improved at scale. Staff need to be allowed to make mistakes and not be negatively portrayed in the media
  • significant piece missing in terms of education and whose taking this to people who are traumatised. We need to be able to talk about past mistakes/where we got it wrong
  • when measuring the experiences of students we have to consider how we look at changes/impact. Formative learning in the moment. Defining what the evaluation underpins is particularly important

Responses from the PSWA includes:

  • culture, policies/procedures and leadership are the driving factors for improvements. reflective practice supervision  often not provided to middle level managers
  • model has to be sustainable and should consider the following: rurality issues; trainers who can train into other areas; support us to roll out our own trainings; some areas might want external trainers
  • there are aspects of the programme to co-design and these will include recruiting people with lived experience and commissioning organisations to co-facilitate
  • bringing in people with lived experience will be considered by the Partnership Delivery Group. Some training sits across the National Trauma Training Programme
  • the trauma implementation team will work with stakeholder groups including Improvement Service, NES and co-ordinator’s in local authorities to ensure that work overlaps
  • the need to consider how we evaluate changes in social work before and after qualifying
  • noted that a significant amount of learning has been informed by work taking place in Edinburgh and Glasgow
  • it is vital that staff wellbeing and staff lived experience is built into systems. The group has to consider what this will look like in terms of embedding knowledge, ensuring staff are well
  • since the Partnership Delivery Group has ownership of the Work Plan, the group will be required to hold discussions with leadership in psychology
  • noted the struggle of where to start when changing culture, highlighting that the quality improvement framework will help decide where they want to get to and how they will get there, as the framework covers wellbeing, training and leadership

Discussion on suggestions for next meeting, feedback and reflections:

  • proposal to hold a workshop style session where members would be invited to co-present about what is happening in their own local authority and will also provide the opportunity to learn from one another
  • the Chair noted the suggestion for sharing examples of good practice at next meeting of the group to be held in-person
  • the suggestion for presenting at in-person meeting was welcomed by members
  • presenters to be provided with the following general headings to be covered as part of their presentation: leadership; culture; wellbeing; policies and procedures. Group members encouraged to provide suggestions for other areas that they would wish to cover and send to the Secretariat
  • Secretariat to circulate links to authentic voice deep dive workshop series events
  • group members with trauma enhanced level experience invited to pilot training materials

Next steps

  • arrange next meeting to take place in-person
  • in-person meeting will be in a workshop format where group members will have the opportunity to present. Secretariat to issue presentation template to the group and presenters to provide suggestions for other areas they would wish to cover as part of their presentation
  • Secretariat to circulate links to authentic voice deep dive workshop series events
  • group members with trauma enhanced level experience to contact secretariat to pilot training materials



For more information on this group, please visit Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Expert Advisory Group.

For more information on this programme, please visit Trauma Responsive Social Work Services.

Back to top