Guest Blog - Joanna Macdonald - Deputy Chief Social Work Adviser - Scottish Government

Guest blog from Joanna Macdonald, Deputy Chief Social Work Adviser for the Scottish Government.

It is with so much pleasure that I support Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Adviser to bring to you the Scottish Social Services Awards 2022. I joined the Scottish Government in April 2021 and I have been so impressed by what I have seen across the country where, day in and day out, you have all been going out and about and providing for those who are vulnerable, those in need or those taking the wrong path, with the care and support they need. I am truly in awe of all the work you do and hope you see yourselves as the role models I see in you.

Prior to joining Scottish Government I was Chief Officer in Argyll and Bute as well as Chair of Social Work Scotland’s Adults Social Care Committee. When the pandemic arrived in March 2020, in both these roles, I witnessed a workforce that immediately sprang into action, parking all your own worries, to make sure that everyone was prioritised and supported and their needs were met as much as they possibly could be in the pandemic restrictions. I saw social work and social care staff across Argyll and Bute and across Scotland acting in the most compassionate and caring way.

You all had worries of your own, mirrored in all the images that were on the television and when you saw loved ones of your own affected; you carried on and looked out for those who need support to look out for themselves. And you never asked for thanks and you didn’t see yourselves as being the remarkable people you are.

Halfway through 2022 and more than two years into the pandemic, I couldn’t be more proud of the social work and social care profession and all you have achieved. I have never been more proud to be a social worker with all I have witnessed and I am so proud of each and every one of you and the well-deserved spotlight that the pandemic shone on your work. So many more people now understand the impact of what social work and social care does.

The social work and social care workforce are ordinary people who never look for acknowledgement or praise which is why the Social Services Awards 2022 couldn’t be more important.

These awards are your opportunity to recognise the work of your colleague sitting next to you. Take time now to have a look up from your desk at a colleague and think how committed they are. What is it that makes them an inspiring person to be around? Or what about your manager who works remotely and has a caring role themselves? Or your amazing team and how supportive they are. I can’t wait for you to tell us about the amazing acts of selflessness and kindness colleagues do every day to change and improve people’s lives.

Look around you and think how much it will mean to a colleague to know how much their work and the inspiration they are affects you. Every nomination will be read by a group of leading social work and social care professionals in Scotland and your words will touch us all. Whilst we have to have a short list and winner, it is important that everyone who is nominated knows how much they matter, not just as work colleagues or brilliant people to be around but because of the ordinariness of what they do each day and the impact their ‘ordinariness’ has on peoples lives.

I have heard and seen the impact of the daily interactions social work and social care undertake routinely and how you are changing people’s lives, tackling loneliness and making children and adults believe they have a sense of self-worth and can achieve their dreams. The work is often lonely for the workforce and you can feel quite burdened with responsibility, because you care.

The Awards will celebrate the individuals, teams and organisations; recognising the invaluable contribution made by those working across the social services sector that make a real and positive difference in people’s lives including local authorities, universities and third sector organisations.

We have extended our Awards this year to cover 14 different categories, including both individual awards and team/organisational awards so think about how that colleague or team will feel when you nominate them. There will be an award that they fit right into whether it’s the “Bright Spark” Award, “Rural Ways of Working”, “Excellence In…” or “Outstanding Contribution to Social Services” Award. Social Work Scotland and the Scottish Association for Social are key leaders who will be involved in the shortlisting.

I can’t wait for this year’s ceremony, which will take place on the evening of 15th September at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow, welcoming a mixture of key partners, organisations and all who make the shortlist. I can’t wait to meet you and hear and see your story and what has inspired you about social work and social care.

I started my career as a social care worker in an Older Adults Care Home before qualifying as a social worker and I know how important the different roles are and the impact you are making each and every day. I couldn’t be prouder to be in my current role and help to promote your voices nationally and I couldn’t be prouder of you all and the lives you change every day.   

Applications are now open, and will remain so until 6pm on Monday, 27th June. I encourage everyone to take the time to reflect on the work of yourself and your colleagues over the last year and nominate anyone who you feel should be awarded for the incredible work that is done across the sector for the people of Scotland.

Entry Form for The Scottish Socials Services Awards (sssa.scot)

I look forward to seeing you there.

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