Council meeting hears social work annual report and the provision of social work services in East Lothian

Elected Members at today’s (Tuesday 16 November) full Council meeting heard and noted the content of the 2020/21 Annual Report of the Chief Social Work Officer (CSWO) and its implications for the provision of social work services in East Lothian.

The report by the Chief Social Work Officer (CSWO) fulfils a statutory requirement for an annual report on the activities and performance of the social work service within East Lothian and reflects the strategic and operational delivery of services across children’s (social work) services, justice social work, and adult social work services including social care.

The period covered by this report broadly aligns to the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and charts the impact of three periods of lockdown to public and private life. It sets out the reality of delivering social work services within the context of a pandemic where the public’s concern with risk and vulnerability, the core business of social work, was heightened and more visible than ever before, yet with significant limits to the capacity of services to meet the expectation of keeping people safe.

Cllr. Fiona Dugdale, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education and Children's Services said: “Our Social Workers play a critical role in supporting vulnerable individuals within our communities and helping them to make positive choices, and safe and sustainable changes to their lives to achieve the best outcomes for them, their families and their communities. This report gives a thorough and comprehensive overview of the challenges and increased demand on the service posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in East Lothian and the current uncertainty around adult social care service provision in Scotland.”

“Our Social Work teams have provided exceptional support and care to those most in need and I would like to acknowledge the commitment and dedication of our staff in delivering these essential services in some of the most challenging conditions experienced in modern times.

“It can be said that even during times of great adversity we can find positives and it is clear that work around the pandemic demonstrated the strength of the many relationships East Lothian Council enjoys with partner services, agencies and our communities in supporting those most vulnerable.

“We know that the shape and delivery of all Council services will change as a result of COVID-19 which will include social work and social care adapting accordingly to ensure continued support to protect and care for those at risk. This report is not just a reflection of what has been encountered but more importantly provides clear examples of adaptive practices and successful responses carried out by the service. These provide us with an invaluable range of experiences and lessons to build upon and inform the future vision for social work and social care.”

Published: Tuesday, 16th November 2021