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 1977  J Murphy
1978  S Moxley 1979  D Macdonald
1980  H Garland 1981  R Winter
1982  R Poor 1983  A Gillespie
1984  M Hartnoll 1985  M Hartnoll
1986  R Kent 1987  R Kent
1989  F Edwards 1990  I Ross
1991  A Robb 1992  I Gilmour
1993  J Dick 1994  P Bates
1995  P Bates 1996  A Cameron
1997  L McEwan 1998  P Cassidy
1999  G Irvine 2000  M Wells
2001  C Wilkinson 2002  J Dickie
2003  D MacAulay 2004  A Jay
2005  C Mackenzie 2006  D Crawford
2007  B Docherty 2008  A Baird
2009  H Dempster 2010 M Miller
2011 A Lowe 2012 P Macleod
2013 S Riddell 2014 H Stevenson
2015 A Gaw 2016 E Torrance
2017 S Taylor 2018 J Irvine