Sandwiched between the end of an enforced lay off in February and the beginning of purdah (tomorrow 24 March) this is my last blog until after the Scottish Parliamentary Elections in early May.
My absence did not hamper the effectiveness of the team at OCSWA, probably the opposite applied! Jane Johnstone, only four weeks into post as Professional Adviser, led our two frontline events with 150 Occupational Therapists joining Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People and Tracy MacInnes, Acting Chief Health Professions Officer. Both events were well received by those attending and I hope gave OTs an understanding of the Vision and Strategy for Social Services and their role and value within its implementation.
Following the success of the past two years of engaging with front line staff, plans are already well developed in respect of this year. Throughout the year my office and policy colleagues will take a themed approach with events already scheduled for 18 May on Child Protection and for 8 June on GIRFEC. Book your place now via the links. Discussion are underway about further topics and more information will appear here or on our webpages.
Last week on World Social Work Day two significant events took place. The Social Work Services Strategic Forum met and marked a year since the launch of the Vision and Strategy with the production of a One Year On Progress Report to note the work underway on its implementation. It was pleasing to see the progress we are making and I am confident that over the next 6-12 months there will be some important conversations about a number of the specific actions. I will of course keep you informed through this Blog and Twitter.
Later that day SASW held their annual awards in Edinburgh. Refreshingly it was encouraging to see team awards as a welcome addition this year, and a lifetime achievement award to Bob and Annette Holman who have dedicated their lives to living and working in Easterhouse. It was heart warming to hear from many whose lives have been transformed by their care, compassion and dedication. Well done to Trisha Hall and colleagues for their continuing commitment to recognising the positive difference individuals and teams are making to the lives of so many. Particularly rewarding to see nominations which have come from those who have benefited from the skills of their worker.
As we reach Easter, the final week before the break up of Parliament means some last minute papers for Ministerial agreement, an opportunity to draw breath for many and over the next five weeks an opportunity to plan ready for the start of the new term.
For me, this final week before the end of term has included planning for this year’s engagement events, speaking at a Holyrood conference on ‘What’s Next’ for self directed support and importantly recognising the career of Ranald Mair as he retired from Scottish Care. Ranald made a very significant contribution to social care in Scotland since beginning his career at a young person’s hostel in London in 1969. He developed Scottish Care from a membership organisation to one which is now the collective voice of the independent sector focussed on the quality of care for adults and older people. I would like to thank Ranald for his support for the Vision and Strategy for Social Services and the role Scottish Care are playing in giving frontline support staff a stronger voice. Last night a number of tributes were paid to Ranald including from Prof June Andrews (pictured) and Lord Stewart Sutherland. I look forward to working with Ranald’s successor Donald McAskill.
Enjoy your Easter weekend. More from me mid May.