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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-09539

  • Asked by: Carol Mochan, MSP for South Scotland, Scottish Labour
  • Date lodged: 30 June 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Clare Haughey on 27 July 2022


To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to improve the recruitment and retention of business support staff across all social work team types, in light of the findings of the report Setting the Bar for Social Work in Scotland that there has been an average loss of 32.9% of staff in this role between 2019 and 2020.


The Scottish Government welcomes the Setting the Bar report and will consider and discuss the findings with its partners to inform and develop future social work workforce policy.

Social workers, and the business support staff that assist them, are primarily employed by local authorities. It is the responsibility of local authorities to plan their workforce and ensure they have the appropriate levels of staff in place to provide social services for their residents. To aid with this, the Scottish Government provided additional funding of £25m, announced as part of the 2022-23 Budget, to relieve pressure on the adult social care sector to ensure care can be delivered safely to those who need it. As agreed by COSLA Leaders, £22m of funding was distributed based on grant aided expenditure for adult social work for 2022-23. Local authorities have the flexibility to allocate Scottish Government funding based on their individual needs. The intention of the funding is to allow local authorities to employ additional social workers or associated social work assistants or support staff – with the clear purpose of adding to the capacity of the social work workforce to respond to the current pressures.

Considering the findings of the report, the Scottish Government will continue to work with COSLA and other stakeholders to look at how social workers can be supported while they undertake their vital work across our communities.