Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Partnership Delivery Group: minutes: October 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 23 October 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Representatives from the following:

  • Care Inspectorate (CI)
  • Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection (CELCIS)
  • Children and Young Peoples Centre for Justice (CYCJ)
  • Community Justice Scotland (CJS)
  • Heads of Social Work Higher Education Institutions
  • NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
  • Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW)
  • Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)
  • Social Work Education Partnership (SWEP) Programme Office
  • Social Work Scotland (SWS)
  • Social Work Scotland Learning and Development Sub-Group

Items and actions


This was the fifth meeting of the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services (TRSWS) Partnership Delivery Group. The purpose of this meeting was to give partners a forum to provide updates on their specific actions within the Work Plan, and to discuss how best we can work together with our partners/ stakeholders.


The meeting began by the Chair noting apologies from members. All members in attendance provided brief introductions. Apologies noted from representatives from Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Update from Trauma Responsive Social Work Services Team

Scottish Government (SG) colleagues provided various updates on progress on actions and recruitment:

  • SG currently updating Work Plan with contributions received from key partners
  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist for the TRSWS Programme will join the team in November
  • Chief Social Work Officers (CSWOs) invited to note interest for implementation support and provide information in August. A fair, transparent process to agree scheduling took place. Meetings have been scheduled with the four local areas to confirm scope before formal announcement
  • Learning from the four implementation sites will help inform future scheduling
  • TRSWS Programme Lead sought feedback from partners on what additional support could be offered to areas who have not been identified as early implementation sites and noted interest
  • TRSWS Programme Lead noted that Lead Officers had reported through Improvement Service they were experiencing challenges around building capacity for trauma skilled trainers. TRSWS working with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and Improvement Service (IS) on this
  • TRSWS Programme Lead explained that the Expert Advisory Group would like to see the work on trauma informed professional supervision be recognised as a qualification. The team are working with SSSC and NES on this. Looking to get a survey out to identify the challenges regarding current professional supervision within social work that supports trauma enhanced practice

Feedback and reflections on the Trauma Responsive Social Work Services team update:

  • Partners enquired what is the current requirements to be a trauma skilled trainer
    • TRSWS Programme Lead confirmed that trainers need to be able to demonstrate competency with practice experience at enhanced level, and other requirements outlined in NES materials
  • SWS colleague raised the issue of social workers not having the capacity to take time out of their current roles to focus on their learning and development. This would result in newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) with no support
    • TRSWS Programme Lead suggested that if students leaving university had the required skills and knowledge at trauma skilled level, this would minimise that gap. They recognise there isn’t a quick solution
  • SWS colleague highlighted CSWOs currently feeling pressure around the volume of asks. They don’t have the capacity
  • SSSC colleague highlighted that the solution cannot burden the CSWO role
  • The Chair shared that there is enormous enthusiasm in the workforce for this work. This has been really apparent when speaking to practitioners. There needs to be a balance of responsibility and this needs to be tackled from multiple angles. People need to feel valued otherwise they will leave the profession
  • Programme Lead explained that the team are looking to identify practitioners that will meet the criteria as trainers through work in early implementation sites
  • SWS colleague highlighted that some local areas are already progressing some level of trauma training
  • TRSWS Programme Lead confirmed that the ambition is to embed trauma skilled practice into the NQSW supported year. The team are currently offering one day in person training day with a half day follow-up session. The team will evaluate this approach early next year and will identify next steps

Discussion and updates from Partners

Care Inspectorate

  • Outlined the work taking place within the CI to become a trauma informed organisation
  •  Using existing improvement tools to establish the baseline
  • They have an internal group and trauma champions within the organisation
  • They are reviewing their own policies and practices through a trauma lens
  • TRSWS and NES delivered a training session to inspectors that was well received

Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice

  • Requested funding for work to reduce the over criminalisation of children in residential care, developing learning resources for the workforce. Setting up a children and families steering group. In the development stage of this work

Community Justice Scotland

  • In the middle of building content for learning management. Putting a lot of the learning materials into a blended format. May be an opportunity to build in some learning products that dove tail the existing materials that we have

NHS Education for Scotland

  • Consultant Clinical Psychologist for TRSWS team will be hosted within NES. They have recently finished a piece of work around dementia and trauma informed care, linked with SSSC. National launch event is on 15th November
  • Specific work regarding substance use and trauma ongoing within NES
  • The Matrix (A Guide to Developing Evidenced Based Psychological Therapies in Scotland) update launches in November

Heads of Social Work Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

  • There is some discussion on how much to incorporate trauma learning aligned with the NTTP, into social work education. This must be based on evidence and research
  • Some institutions have small working groups to see what it will look like
  • TRSWS programme Lead explained different universities at different stages. Programme Lead is in process of linking in with the Convenor of the Heads Of Social Work HEIs to discuss how the work can be reasonably incorporated. It is not anticipated there will be only one approach within social work education
  • HEI representative highlighted that each university has their own kind of teaching and have their own strengths
  • SWS raised that feedback from CSWO’s/members they receive is that there is a desire for greater consistency relating to new social workers as they are not equipped with the proper knowledge and tools. They need to be coming out of university better and more consistently equipped to work with people affected by trauma
  • SASW highlighted the real opportunity to embed this into social work education. Mindful that university have their own way of doing things but there is a responsibility to the profession and how they represent the profession. What can be done to support this? What can be done that can bring universities more into this conversation?
  • SASW also highlighted the concern about burn out. What can be done to ensure a smoother process from students, employers and universities?
  • HEI representative highlighted that further conversation currently being held with SWEP and SSSC
  • SWS colleagues raised a query regarding courses being approved by SSSC but are they mandatory?
  • TRSWS Programme Lead explained that the language within the plan is about ensuring a consistent level, breadth and depth of trauma knowledge and skills at qualification. We understand that universities will teach/incorporate differently. It’s been challenging but work is still ongoing. Scottish Government is not trying to put out a learning product to universities. The aim is to align with their current teaching programmes and to look at increasing the depth and breadth of knowledge and skills within social work education, in a manner suitable to each university
  • TRSWS Programme Lead highlighted that initial learning from the trauma skilled training currently being provided to Newly Qualified Social Workers is that they don’t feel equipped to trauma skilled practice level. The team will evaluate this in early 2024 to see the evidence of how useful this training is

Scottish Social Services Council

  • Made explicit the reference to trauma informed practice on the SSSC NQSW website
  • Embedded QR codes into trauma training modules in relation to mylearning app and turas learning
  • Connected recent work around supervision. Ensuring learning from SSSC supervision work supports social work specific work by TRSWS team
  • Consultation for future proofing programme closes on 3rd November. Opportunity to feed in the criticality of trauma informed practice

SWEP Programme Office

  • All current actions for SWEP Programme Office are linked with SSSC
  • Arranged focused discussion with SSSC on how to support practice educators. There is no national directory for practice educators
  • Supporting the NQSW project, mainly around awareness raising of trauma skilled training sessions. Also engaged with partners on how we ensure those coming into the profession are trauma informed
  • Finalising dates for consultation on supporting practice placements. Will share with partners

SG Trauma, ACES and Resilience Unit

  • Rebranding the programme to the National Trauma Transformation Programme (NTTP). Updated website to be published in due course
  • Waiting official endorsement of the “Roadmap for Creating Trauma-Informed and Responsive Change: Guidance for Organisations, Systems and Workforces in Scotland (2023)” from COSLA Leadership Group
  • Publication of four research reports due that have been developed over the last couple of years
    • Findings from a Peer Support and Learning Pilot to support Trauma-Informed Practice in Adult Social Care
    • Mapping of professional qualification routes and continuous professional learning opportunities relating to psychological trauma in the Children and Families sector
    • Trauma-Informed Substance Use Pathfinders – Learning Report
    • Trauma-Informed Maternity Services Pathfinders – Learning Report
  • NTTP National Steering group on 30 November, co-chaired by the COSLA President and the Minister for Social Care, Mental Wellbeing and Sport
  • Mental health and wellbeing strategy: delivery plan 2023-2025 due to be published in November which will contain a longer term commitment to NTTP

Next steps and actions

  • TRSWS Programme Lead to pick up specific course content questions with CJS colleague 
  • TRSWS team to update on learning from the professional supervision workstream
  • TRSWS and CELCIS to arrange further conversation on CELCIS current relevant activities
  • COSLA, TRSWS and Improvement Service will connect around COSLA activity supporting practice 


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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