Social Work in Scotland- Now an Online Challenge!

We received this Press Release recently and are printing it in its entirety as we believe that readers will be interested in the venture. We hope it will be successful.

It might not outsell Grand Theft Auto or Super Mario this Christmas, but being a social worker in Scotland is the latest on-line challenge.

In the ‘social work challenge’, launched on 24 August 2010, people are being asked to take on the role of a social worker faced with a series of decisions in a child protection scenario, based on real life incidents.  They have to use their judgement to make a series of decisions about the case that will lead to a positive outcome for the child.

The exercise, which forms part of the Social Work Changes Lives campaign, is designed to help people understand the difficult decisions that social workers must make when assessing individual circumstances.  The campaign is supported by the Association of Directors of Social Work and the Scottish Social Services Council.

It opens with a call from a local primary school head teacher who is concerned about a pupil, Johnny. Johnny is weepy, tired and has a bruise on his arm.  He says his dad did it. The head teacher says he has been playing up at school and has been unsettled for several weeks. You don’t have any other information on this child or family. What do you do next?

You are then taken through a series of difficult choices, where some outcomes are better than others.

“In social work, every case is different”, explains Michelle Miller, President of the Association of Directors of Social Work. “While a particular decision may lead to a positive outcome in one case, a quite different approach may be needed for another, even if is the circumstances appear similar.  No two cases are ever the same and they must always be judged independently.”

Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of the Scottish Social Services Council, said, “We know that many Scots have little awareness of what people working in social work services do, and the challenges they face.  It is important that we increase understanding to maintain confidence in services and encourage more people to consider it as a career”.

“In the Social Work Challenge we are using an on-line format so that people can imagine themselves as the social worker, something which would be more difficult to achieve through conventional media”, added Anna Fowlie.

The social work challenge is being publicised through a social media campaign.  People can find it on Facebook, Twitter and the ADSW website at

Hugh O’Donnell, MSP and Social Work Changes Lives Campaign champion said,

“This is a really innovative approach to giving the wider public, and those aspiring to work in the profession, an understanding of the very real challenges faced by social workers on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes we are too quick to criticise or comment on social work decisions without a real understanding. This new resource may mitigate some of the more ill informed comments.”

The campaign will look to introduce more scenarios using the same format, focusing on other areas of social work services, such as care of older people, criminal justice and support for people with disabilities.

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