HC Deb 21 June 1972 vol 839 cc453-4
12. Mr. Ewing

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of the approved complement of social workers in Scotland were employed at 31st May, 1972.

Mr. Monro

This figure is not available. The latest returns relate to December, 1970, and show that 98 per cent. of the local authorities' complement for basic grade social workers was filled at that time.

Mr. Ewing

Will the Under-Secretary accept that various social work departments, particularly those connected with children's panels, are complaining about an inadequacy of social workers to carry out the work involved? I honestly and sincerely request the Under-Secretary to investigate the problem. If the complement is found to be too low he should look at the possibility of increasing it and making sure that all the staff that are required are in training and eventually come into service.

Mr. Monro

The establishment of social work departments is certainly growing rapidly and I want it to do so. That is why I am encouraging very rapid expansion in training facilities for social workers. The number of qualified social workers completing training in 1972 will be about 240 compared with 112 in 1970 and I expect the figure will double again by 1975.

Mr. Carmichael

The figure the Minister gave was for the basic grade and he knows that we are concerned about the fully-trained grade. Is he aware that the real problem is finding supervised field placements for students? Would he consider giving local authorities more money to allow additional financing of student field teachers to allow more training and to allow more people to move from the basic training grades to the fully-trained grades?

Mr. Monro

I will have to look at the point the hon. Member has raised. The Government are making substantially more money available for social work than ever before and I know that the whole House will agree with that policy.

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