Students demand publication of funding report

Social Workers Union (SWU) Campaign Fund | SASW - The professional association for social work and social workers

Social work students in Scotland campaigning for bursaries while working on placements in the public sector have called for publication of a Government report into the options available.

In a letter to MSPs on the petitions committee, which is due to consider the campaign again at its next meeting, the students urge MSPs on the Committee to put down written questions in Parliament to formally request the review findings be made public. 

The report was commissioned by Ministers to examine the options available to them to ensure students working on the front line of social work are fairly compensated for the vital work they do.

In  a letter on 30th August, the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser set out that: “The review of practice learning finance commissioned by the SSSC was due to report in August but has been delayed; however the review has so far met with various stakeholders, including SASW, SWU and representatives of your campaign. Emerging insights have been shared with Scottish Government and are informing wider work on social work education improvements – we will share any conclusions with you in due course.”

David Grimm and Lucy Challoner, the students behind a Scottish Parliament petition calling for reform wrote to MSPs to state:

“We understand that the wheels of Government can sometimes move slowly, but this review was commissioned in June 2023 and evidence was submitted over the summer, so we are unable to understand why it was not able to be published in time for the 2024/25 Budget cycle.

“If the review is still somehow delayed, we would urge MSPs to formally request that the ‘emerging insights’  which the Minister has been privy to are published instead and a deadline for publication of the review is confirmed.”

The students point out that at the end of the day, the Minister and the Government will need to make funding available to enable this policy to happen. They have also urged MSPs on the Committee to call the Minister to give evidence in person on this issue and to ask him to explain why the Government is allowing a straightforward policy decision to drift.

David Grimm commented:

“Every day that the Government fails to make a decision, the situation for social work students gets worse.

“Universities are continuing to refer social work students to discretionary funds to live on day to day – which in themselves are running out due to the pressures being put on them.

“A damning report by the Scottish Association of Social Work also recently highlighted further challenges for students on placements.”