Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Partnership Delivery Group minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 25 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Community Justice Scotland
  • Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
  • Children and Young Peoples Centre for Justice
  • Higher Education Institutions Heads of Social Work representatives
  • Improvement Service
  • NHS Education for Scotland
  • Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW)
  • Scottish Government
  • Social Work Education Partnership
  • Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Social Work Scotland Workforce and Resources Committee Learning and Development Sub-group representatives
  • Scottish Social Services Council
  • Who Cares? Scotland

Items and actions


This was the first meeting of the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Partnership Delivery Group. The purpose of this meeting was to host introductions and a discussion, present and discuss the Terms of Reference, and to share the newest iteration of the work plan.


The meeting began by the Chair noting apologies from members.  All members in attendance gave brief introductions.

Terms of reference

The first item on the agenda was a discussion around the draft terms of reference:

  • clarification was given to the relationship between the Social Work Education Partnership (SWEP) and this group. The group reports into SWEP in relation to remit for social work education, and the National Trauma Training Programme Steering Group for strategic direction
  • a couple of grammatical errors were flagged to be corrected
  • all stakeholders involved in the group to be listed at the end of the document in preparation for the next meeting

Presentation on Towards Trauma Responsive Social Work Services

The Chair progressed to the next item, which was a presentation from the on progressing towards trauma responsive social work services. Key points raised during the presentation include: 

  • the work taking place is aligned with the National Trauma Training Programme (NTTP)
  • the Improvement Service are in the process of developing a quality improvement framework which will assist with organisations being able to gauge how trauma informed their practices are in relation to the indicators on the framework
  • a key role for members of this group is ensuring delivery of the NTTP and this work plan, in the context of social work practice; with individuals, families and communities; taking account of issues of poverty, intergenerational trauma, class, culture and power imbalance
  • social workers and others working in social work services, such as social work assistants, require knowledge and skills at trauma enhanced practice level

Discussion, questions and reflections raised from the group after this presentation are as follows:

  • the importance of widening the scope of what we generally view as being the social work workforce to include all those working in social work services
  • the approach is informed by what the evidence is telling us and the importance of adopting a whole teams, systems and services approach. The support will be prioritised for social workers and social work services in the first instance. This would include other roles working in social work teams such as community nurses and occupational therapists
  • it is vital that we support, recognise and respond to trauma. Where does the prevention aspect of this work fit in? Pre-birth support was noted to be underfunded, and we are not in a position where children are raised to recover
  • this is the first year that multi-year funding is being offered for The Promise Partnership Fund. There is a lot of bidding and it would be useful to be kept updated on who and what projects are being funded
  • social work has always worked with trauma. It was nice to hear the links being made to poverty in the presentation, and the emphasis on relationship and community. A fundamental building block that is not coherent is our expectations of what we expect university graduates to leave with in terms of qualifications
  • in terms of the whole systems approach, barriers that will include the way we work, lack of community and lack of early intervention will need considered. This is a solid start, but how are we intending on dealing with resource and capacity in terms of the whole systems approach?
  • the Quality Improvement Framework which is being developed will enable us to work towards a shared understanding of trauma informed services, including recognising the types of support frontline social workers require
  • supporting leaders in their roles is integral to progressing work relating to the development and delivery of trauma-informed practices
  • the value of adopting a system wide approach was recognised, rather than being entirely focussed on training itself
  • acknowledgement of the need to be realistic about what we can deliver in terms of the action plan, taking into account workforce pressures. Concern expressed that there is no value in moving things into the implementation phase that are undeliverable

Discussion on the work plan

The Chair progressed to the next item, which was a discussion about the group’s draft work plan.

Key points during highlighted during the presentation include:

  • the work plan should be treated as a living document that the group provides updates on at each meeting
  • the importance of having the work plan in order to keep an accurate audit trail of the work that is being progressed
  • colleagues were asked to add text to their specific actions, and also to review the actions to ensure that these are owned by the appropriate colleague(s) by close of business on Friday 2 September
  • colleagues were encouraged to contact if they have any questions regarding the work plan
  • a query was raised regarding the specific timescales for delivering the actions in the work plan
  • the PSWA for Trauma advised that there will be significant variation for completing the actions in the work plan, but that the date for completion of most workstreams should aim for July next year
  • SSSC colleague informed that a number of the SSSC owned actions in the work plan would be completed over the medium to long term, due to the potential upcoming changes to Continuous Professional Learning

Any other business (AOB)

Items raised during AOB include:

  • consideration needs to be given on how this group reports progress into SWEP
  • colleagues drew attention to the breadth and range of resources available through the National Trauma Training Programme
  • while social workers are a priority workforce, hopefully learning will influence other areas
  • the group is keen to hear people’s views on how to strengthen communications of the work being progressed to reach as wide an audience as possible
  • the group agreed to hold next meeting in person, and for colleagues to consider if there are any key stakeholders missing from the group

Next steps/actions

  • SWEP to provide a document that contains an overview of SWEP’s work to date and a membership list for SWEP
  • update and sign off the terms of reference – secretariat and all group members
  • secretariat to circulate work plan for group members to update and respond to secretariat by Friday 2nd September
  • secretariat to organise in-person meeting for next group meeting that is due take place in October
  • secretariat to circulate meeting invitations for future group meetings taking place over the next six months
  • communications strategy for the group to be discussed at next meeting – all group members


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

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

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