SWU is proud to be a member of the first ever Cross-Party Group on Social Work

The first CPG on Social Work meeting in January 2022 will bring together key stakeholders from across Scotland

November 11th was a historic day for social work in Scotland as that was the date the first ever Cross-Party Group on Social Work received formal recognition by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee of the Scottish Parliament. The Social Workers Union (SWU) and Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) are proud members of this new Cross-Party Group that is creating a space to bring together key stakeholders in social work.

Securing sponsorship of the group was one of SASW’s key Manifesto Asks in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections. The purpose of the group is to promote understanding of the complexities of the social work profession, bring together its voice and positively raise its profile.

SASW provides the secretariat to the group, which is convened by Fulton MacGregor, an SNP MSP and registered social worker who practiced in justice before his election in 2016. Co-vice convening are Jeremy Balfour, a Conservative and Unionist Party MSP who lives with a physical disability and has lived experience of social work services, and Paul O’Kane, MSP, a former councillor and charity worker who is married to a social worker.

John McGowan, General Secretary of SWU, said, “This is a terrific new platform for social work to unite and raise its voice. SWU is delighted to be a member of the Cross-Party Group on Social Work and, as the only specialist UK trade union for social workers, we look forward to working with the group to improve conditions for social workers and fight for better resources for the people who use these services. The proposed National Care Service is a unique opportunity for social work in Scotland to reframe itself with a community led approach.”

Fulton MacGregor, MSP said in an interview with SASW, “As convener of the Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Social Work, I chair meetings between Members of the Scottish Parliament and interested stakeholders in a non-party political atmosphere to discuss issues that directly concern the field of social work and related areas. Social work is a field which is interrelated with several other areas that I work on as an MSP such as health, communities, and children/young people to name but a few. The group is open to all Members of the Scottish Parliament, organisations, and individuals. Although CPGs are not considered formal parliamentary business, CPG discussions can lead to issues being raised in the Scottish Parliament or as questions to the Scottish Government. Having a dedicated parliamentary group for social work is invaluable for giving those who work in and engage with social work a voice as well as ensuring their viewpoints are acknowledged and advocated for within our legislature. As a social worker before I entered politics, I know that having a CPG for this area is invaluable.”

The first Cross-Party Group on Social Work meeting will take place on the 12th January 2022, from 6pm to 7.45pm on MS Teams. The topic will be “Perspectives of Social Work” which will provide an opportunity to hear directly from people with experience of using services and experience of delivering social work services. During the meeting there will be time for questions, debate and discussion.  If you are interested in joining the CPG, either as a member or an observer, or would like to attend the meeting in January, contact cpgsocialwork@basw.co.uk.

Another way SWU members can become more involved in social work activism is to lead their own campaign. The SWU Campaign Fund provides successful applications with funding and professional support from Campaign Collective to run a campaign on a social work issue you are passionate about.

The SWU Campaign Fund is currently supporting member led campaigns on issues including food insecurity, barriers faced by social work students in Wales, and the media’s coverage of social work. More details along with the application form can be found on the SWU Campaign Fund webpage.