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CALL FOR INTELLIGENT DEBATE NOT WITCH HUNTS AFTER RESIGNATION OF EDINBURGH SOCIAL WORK CHIEF

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Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters has said that no one is denying things go wrong but ...
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Pat Watters has said that no one is denying things go wrong but the intent of everyone in Edinburgh City Council and throughout Scotland's councils is to protect vulnerable children.

Coming to the defence of the social work profession in Scotland he also called for intelligent debate not witch hunts if the profession is ever to fully recover and move forward.

EDINBURGH'S DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL WORK RESIGNS

Mr Watters also said that when tragedies do occur, and there is no getting away from the fact that the death of any child is a tragedy, it raises serious concerns and it is a time for cool heads not hot words.

Commenting today Mr Watters said: 'I am not saying that things did not go wrong what I am saying is that everybody that works in this field cares passionately about what they do and endeavour to protect Scotland's vulnerable children to the best of their ability.

'We are under no illusions that nationally as well as locally all agencies need to learn from tragedies that occur and take action but it must not be forgotten that Scotland's social work departments successfully protect thousands of vulnerable children day in and day out. Despite criticism social workers do their best to provide a better life to the most disadvantaged people in our communities

'Improvement is difficult in an atmosphere of fear and blame and no matter what goes wrong be it structures or performance of individuals we cannot accept the witch hunts that follow such incidents, these have to stop if the situation has any chance of improving.'

Mr Watters concluded: 'I would also like there to be a much more intelligent debate around the very serious issues that these incidents throw up rather than calls for heads to roll and agencies being forced into knee-jerk reactions.

'There is no getting away from the fact that there is a shortage of social workers in Scotland. We in local go vernment know that there are not enough, as does the executive.

'As long as they are vilified, and this is where the media has to look a bit closer at itself, then what chance do we have of attracting people to the profession or encourage those who are already in it to stay or to consider a switch to children's services where there are real difficulties recruiting.'

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