Setting the Bar for Social Work in Scotland

Miller, Emma and Barrie, Karen (2022) Setting the Bar for Social Work in Scotland. Social Work Scotland, Edinburgh. (

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Scottish policy ambitions include the formation of a National Care Service, the embedding of human rights and delivery of “The Promise” to Scotland’s children. For social work, the vision requires ‘a skilled and valued workforce’ with ‘a focus on prevention, early intervention and enablement.26. Several issues have been identified as precluding this vision. In particular, high caseloads have been reported as making it difficult for social work staff to achieve best practice and support people effectively23 . Setting the Bar set out to establish an evidence-based indicative caseload limit for social work staff in Scotland, with consideration given as to how this might be used. This report presents the findings.