How did we get here?

The Children (Scotland) Bill – Stage 3 (Final) Debate takes place on 25 August 2020.  Something extraordinary has happened with section 8 of this Bill. MSPs are about to decide whether social workers alone, or - as now - mainly solicitors, should be permitted to act as Child Welfare Reporters. This is extraordinary because section 8... Continue Reading →

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Scottish Government Letter

The Scottish Government are however keen to encourage more non-lawyers to become Child Welfare Reporters. We think a diversity of experience in the role of Child Welfare Reporter would be beneficial to the process. We have committed to undertaking a public consultation on the training and skills required to be a Child Welfare Reporter.Hannah FrodshamFamily... Continue Reading →

Leading the Profession?

Social Work Scotland is pleased to see social workers’ unique skills and value acknowledged, and we believe social workers are indeed well equipped to undertake the role. However, we oppose the amendment on the grounds that children’s interests will be best served by ensuring courts can access a broad pool of Child Welfare Reporters, reflecting... Continue Reading →

The Minister’s plans …

"The qualifications and experience required to be a Child Welfare Reporter will be set by secondary legislation. … We would expect that these criteria would not exclude lawyers …"Government Response to Stage 1 Report para 105 Ash Denham is Minister for Community Safety. This article examines the development of section 8 of the Children (Scotland)... Continue Reading →

Dr Nick Child on a culture of silence

"If this silencing of professional colleagues is – as appears may be the case – a dominant part of culture in family law in Scotland, it is the very antithesis of how the social work and other ‘helping’ professions operate. It cannot possibly work in the best interests of children." For years family lawyers haven't... Continue Reading →

A Social Worker compares England and Scotland

Summary: Social workers are fully trained and specialised over many years and have far more appropriate and independent skills to provide these reports to Family Courts. Children’s social workers’ whole ethos is the welfare of children and they do not have any other aim of their professional role. Lawyers will have a few days training... Continue Reading →

Open letter from the Wales Director for BASW Cymru to the Minister for Community Safety

“provides a space for practitioners to go beneath the surface of their work, to consider the emotional impact of the work, the unquestioned assumptions and biases they bring, varying perspectives (including theoretical perspectives) and ethical dilemmas inherent in social work practice. By adopting a ‘not knowing’ stance, both supervisor and supervisee explore practice situations with curiosity rather... Continue Reading →

Dr Child warned us in 2018

"If we allow our MSPs to be duped into creating this absurd legislation, it will be like giving licence for boy scouts to do open-heart surgery." That quote, from the article below was originally published in April 2018 in Scottish Review. In it, Dr Child talks about what was then "a forthcoming review" by Scottish... Continue Reading →

A Senior Family Lawyer

“I am torn over this because although I strongly agree that the current system is not fit for purpose, it is much beloved by many of my colleagues specially perhaps by those for whom it provides a very good source of income. To stick my head above that parapet would be a very bold move... Continue Reading →

A Parent

"In the end I instructed my solicitor to write formally to ask [the Child Welfare Reporter, another local solicitor] to set out what qualifications and training entitled her to undertake the work she had done with our family. At that point my solicitor refused point blank to challenge her and when pressed, withdrew from acting... Continue Reading →

Andrew Smith QC

Andrew Smith QC has written this letter in support of Liam McArthur's (MSP Liberal Democrat, Orkney) amendment at stage 3 of the Children (Scotland) Bill: "Only a social worker registered with the Scottish Social Services Council may be appointed as a child welfare reporter." How many other lawyers in Scotland will now speak up in... Continue Reading →

Children (Scotland) Bill Stage 3 Debate. Amend Section 8. Last chance to get this right for Scotland’s children.

For over 30 years Scottish courts have been appointing private practice solicitors as Child Welfare Reporters to carry out welfare assessments of children and their families. The overwhelming majority of those solicitors have no qualifications, training or relevant skill to entitle them to carry out such sensitive and challenging work. Worse still is that Scottish... Continue Reading →

Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW)

"... trying to replicate the established professional, educational and regulatory framework of social work in Scotland, and in doing so risks significantly undermining it."From Jude Currie, Chair, National Standing Committee & Karin Heber, Professional Officer. Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW), in an open letter to Ash Denham, Minister for Community Safety, Stage 3 Children... Continue Reading →

Impact Statement

As soon as the Child Welfare Reporter was appointed, I asked my solicitor what qualifications this person, a local solicitor, had to entitle her to undertake such complex & sensitive tasks involving our children. From my solicitor’s clear discomfort it was apparent I’d touched a raw nerve. As time went on I became increasingly concerned... Continue Reading →

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