Chief Social Work Officer 2022/23 annual report

The Highland Council’s Chief Social Work Officer presented this year’s annual report to Members.

The report provides an informed view of some of the challenges and notable achievements from this year, and the impact that these will have on future service delivery.

Cllr David Fraser, Chair of the Council’s Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee said: “The Health and Social Care Service of the Council has faced significant challenges this year, particularly with struggles in recruitment. Despite these issues, staff have continued to deliver an excellent service and I wish to thank them for this, as well as their dedication and expertise.”

Some significant milestones of the service include: the launch of the ambitious Integrated Children’s Service Plan; the Council’s work towards keeping Scotland's Promise to care experienced children and young people that they will grow up loved, safe, and respected; and partnership working to create the Joint Strategic Plan for Adult Services.

The Integrated Children’s Service Plan aims to support children, young people and families with commitments across six key areas: poverty; child protection; corporate parenting; drugs and alcohol; health and wellbeing; and children’s rights and participation. To celebrate the launch of the plan, around 70 local services and community groups came together at Inverness Leisure Centre to highlight the range of support on offer across the Highland area.

The Promise is one of seven comprehensive reports following Scotland’s Independent Care Review which aims to deliver lasting change in Scotland’s care system. Within Highland, a Programme Manager was appointed to support our own commitment and the implementation of The Promise locally. 

Partners have worked together to create the Highland Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Joint Strategic Plan for Adult Services 2024-2027. This is the strategic plan for the delivery of integrated health and adult social care services in the region covered by the HSPC. This has been a significant piece of work but a vital one for providing the vision and direction within Adult Social Care.

Fiona Duncan, Chief Social Work Officer and Executive Chief Officer for Health and Social Care said: “Social work, social care and health staff have worked hard to deliver on a range of professional activities towards providing a quality service to Highland residents. This year, we have worked closely with stakeholders to develop and launch plans which set out our vision for the provision of care and support to people in Highland. Whilst we are facing emerging challenges which have the potential to impact on future service delivery, we are attempting to address these challenges through innovative and flexible working. An issue for this year has been in recruitment and we are working to address this by developing our recruitment strategy.

“One major positive has been the grow your own social work trainee programme which has been in place since 2021. In 2023, 5 trainees are due to qualify and take up permanent social work positions, with a new recruitment campaign in progress for an intake of 6 new trainees. Earlier this year, our trainees were recognised at the Council’s Staff Recognition Awards as a standout nomination for the Convener’s award. This year’s trainees were commended for their commitment in their journey towards a valuable and rewarding career.”

18 Sep 2023