Guest Blog: Alistair Brown

National Director, Scottish Association of Social Work

As the Professional Association for Social Work, we’re here to champion grassroots social work.

For 12 years, we have held the SASW Awards on World Social Work Day. It’s been an event that previous winners and nominees say is a once in a lifetime moment of recognition and celebration for years of study; and the most challenging work at the intersections of therapeutic intervention, law, health and public protection.

Sometimes in life and practice we need to work more collaboratively rather than risking being in a bubble, in order to achieve the right outcomes for the people we work with. That’s why we are joining forces with the Scottish Social Services Awards for the first time ever for 2020. We believe this approach will help to raise further public awareness of the fantastic work that front-line social work practitioners are doing in Scotland to challenge poverty, inequality and defend human rights.

I was invited to be part of the judging panel for last year’s SSSA Awards under the Mental Health special policy focus award, having worked for decades in New Zealand and Scotland in CAMHS and as an MHO. It was a tough gig to judge and took a lot of discussion as there were so many fabulous nominations. It was impressive that a peer-led service most closely reflected the criteria and won. This was made even more special by the fact that our Ambassador, Jo McFarlane - an activist with lived experience of the mental health system - co-presented the whole event alongside the Minister for Children and Young People, Maree Todd. It makes sense to take this joint working up a notch and it’s been great to work together with so many experienced professionals and a broad range of stakeholders in the sector and to bring our respective awards ceremonies together.

We are looking for a qualified, practicing social worker who is helping to make a difference to someone’s life. A person who helps to inspire, lead or motivate those they work with – and who develops relationships that make a difference and help to tackle inequalities. Over the years, we have used our awards as a platform to create a legacy of what good social work practice looks like. We’ve created blogs, podcasts and social media content to give insight into what social workers do day to day. Ours is a profession built on social justice, advocacy and empowerment. A profession that people should know more about beyond the sensationalised and too often negative portrayal we receive by some media.

We need you to help us find the next SASW Social Worker of the Year - and an outstanding social work student - or use the categories for wider colleagues in health and social care and integrated teams to celebrate our profession the way it deserves.

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Deadline for 2020 applications has been extended!

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Guest Blog:Iona Colvin

Chief Social Work Advisor for the Scottish Government