The forerunner to Social Work Scotland, the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) was constituted in October 1969 in response to the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. This Act, developed from the findings of the Kilbrandon report in 1964, was an immensely important landmark in Scottish social work history.

The Act led to the creation of social work departments and established social work as a professional service within local government. It further determined that a local authority would appoint an officer known to be a ‘Director of Social Work’: a post given wide ranging responsibilities and also protection.


The Directors came together to form ADSW. Membership at the time of its constitution was open to all Directors of Social Work appointed by local authorities under the Act. The main objects of the Association were stated as ‘the promotion of social welfare and the promotion of the interests of service users’.

By 2014, we’d come a long way and membership was opened to all sector and all levels of seniority and we became Social Work Scotland.

If you would like to know more about the history, legacy and future of Social Work Scotland, read the ‘Our Foundations and Our Future’ document here.


Past President list

 1970  H Mapstone 1971  J Murphy  1972  J Gregory  1973  J Johnston
 1974  W Grant  1974  W Grant  1974  W Grant  1974  W Grant
 1980  H Garland  1981  R Winter  1982  R Poor  1983  A Gillespie
 1983  A Gillespie  1985  M Hartnoll  1986  R Kent  1987  R Kent
 1989  F Edwards  1990  I Ross  1990  I Ross  1992  I Gilmour
 1993  J Dick  1993  J Dick  1995  P Bates  1995  P Bates
 1997  L McEwan  1998  P Cassidy  1998  P Cassidy  2000  M Wells
 2001  C Wilkinson  2002  J Dickie  2003  D MacAulay  2004  A Jay
 2005  C Mackenzie  2005  C Mackenzie  2007  B Docherty  2007  B Docherty
 2007  B Docherty  2010 M Miller  2011 A Lowe  2012 P Macleod
2012 P Macleod 2014 H Stevenson 2015 A Gaw 2016 E Torrance
2017 S Taylor 2018 J Irvine