Blogs & Articles

Stand up for social work by joining BASW

Guest blog from Maggie Mellon, Vice Chair of The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Community Care has reported less than a tenth of the profession are involved in the debate following the College of Social Work’s closure announcement. I want as many people as possible to get involved in talking about social work, we must defend and promote our profession and not expect others to do it on our behalf. Here’s my case for why social...

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‘Where’s Kilbrandon Now?’: reviewing child justice in Scotland

  Maggie Mellon reports on 'Where's Kilbrandon Now?', the inquiry into the future of the Scottish children's hearing system. Child Justice in Scotland is based on a system of hearings held by panels .It was established in 1968, in response to a report by Lord Kilbrandon, a senior Scottish laws lord. In recent years the hearings system has come under criticism for being 'too soft', and there have been calls to take child justice back to the...

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Named Person: National Caseworking

By Maggie Mellon Supporters of the Named Person (NP) scheme, who relied mainly on assurances given by the Government and NP’s architects and supporters, might have been surprised by the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that the law needed to be dropped or substantially revised. It was, however, not the assurances that were the subject of the challenge and the Supreme Court ruling. Why the Government and its supporters chose not to refer...

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An Open Letter to John Swinney On Named Person

DEAR John Swinney, You have asked for engagement on the future of the Named Person following the ruling of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled the information sharing provisions unlawful and also cautioned that parental or child consent to share personal information should not be obtained by the threat of any possible consequences. Read more – Swinney defends Named Person scheme in wake of Supreme Court ruling Your decision to decline to...

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A time for change

In our second blog post reviewing the ‘Youth Justice in Scotland’ paper, Maggie Mellon, independent social work consultant and vice-chair of the British Association of Social Workers, makes the case for using this as an opportunity to bring about real change. CYCJ’s attempts to raise the need for reform in the treatment of children and young people who come to the attention of the authorities of offence grounds are welcome.   However, it...

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Baby boxes, universalism and higher taxes

Baby boxes, universalism and higher taxes

In many ways the baby box provision can be understood as a heart-warming initiative here in Scotland at a time when the ‘nasty party’ in Westminster seems to be intent on destroying everything universal, and free and civic and kind. What’s not to like? Who is not a little proud of or even just simply relieved to have a government that seems to care? It seems curmudgeonly to cry ‘Bah Humbug’, or even to question whether the relatively few...

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Presumption against prison – a game changer

It is perhaps the nature of things in Scotland today that two or more quite contrary views can be held by Government. The SNP is committed to independence as the solution to Scotland’s ills, but is far less unanimous about what kind of policy solutions are needed or about using the powers that ministers have to make a difference. More revenues from oil and fracking? Or leave the fossil fuel in the ground and go for green renewables? ...

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When it comes to sex offences against children, we need to condemn less and understand more

More heat than light has been generated by the media blitzkrieg around the future employment by Hearts of Craig Thomson, the young footballer convicted of sexual offences with underage girls.   Facing the loss of sponsorship and other support, it seems Hearts probably will sack him. Will that be a happy end to the affair? I don't think so. Will it increase the protection of children and young people and promote better attitudes to...

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You’re all missing something very important about the rape clause

There may be something far more sinister behind the Tories' so-called 'rape clause'   "SEE this fist? You should have been watching the other one!" My father used to have a game where he would hold up a clenched fist and say, see this hand? Watch this," and as we watched the hand, he would then bring the other hand up to punch us (gently) on the chin - his message being that it is not the hand being waved in your face you have to watch but...

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