Membership Guide

Social Work Scotland is a membership organisation. We represent social workers and other professionals who lead and support social work across all sectors.



Social Work Scotland is a membership organisation. We represent social workers and other professionals who lead and support social work across all sectors.

Our vision is of a social work profession led effectively and creatively, responsive to the needs of the people we support and protect, accessible and accountable, and which promotes social justice across Scotland. 

Members are at the heart of our organisation and carry out many functions which enable us collectively to build towards our vision for social work. We support and create opportunities for members so that we can influence policy and practice and develop effective and creative leaders now and for the future.  

Membership Categories 

At Social Work Scotland we offer 3 different types of membership:  

  • Associate: with an Associate Membership you can contribute to the work of Social Work Scotland by attending any of our subgroups and the Workforce and Resources Standing Committee and receive discounts at national events. 
  • Ordinary: with an Ordinary Membership you can chair a subgroup, whilst also attending any of our Standing Committees and it gives you the ability to vote at our AGM. 
  • Executive: with an Executive Membership you can contribute further by attending and representing Social Work Scotland nationally or internationally, joining our Board and chairing a Standing Committee/Subgroup. 

No matter where you are in Scotland, as a member you will be a part of an international, professional community committed to social justice, human rights and sharing and learning our expertise and experiences. We’re stronger with you as a member. 

Corporate Sponsorship 

At Social Work Scotland, we also offer a Corporate Sponsorship, which allows organisations to support the work of Social Work Scotland, providing a voice for social work managers and leaders at the national level.  

If you would like more information on becoming a Corporate Sponsor and the benefits of this, please contact us at  

Please note, if your employer organisation is a Corporate Sponsor of Social Work Scotland, you must still hold an Individual Membership to attend/represent at meetings. 

Standing Committees and Subgroups 

We’re proud that so many social workers want to be part of Social Work Scotland; getting involved with the work of the organisation provides you with networking and best practice sharing opportunities with colleagues from across the nation and more widely. By contributing to our committees and subgroups, you will have the opportunity to influence the future of social work and become an active partner in our work.  

If you would like more information on the work of the Standing Committees/Subgroups or to get involved, we host Open Day Sessions with our members every 4 months. 

For the opportunity to chair a Standing Committee or Subgroup, you must hold an Ordinary or Executive Membership. 

About us

Our Core Team 

Social Work Scotland is a membership organisation which represents social workers and other professionals who lead and support social work across all sectors. Our staff team is led by our Director and comprises a core team of permanent staff as well as a team of policy and project staff. 

Projects within Social Work Scotland 

Self-Directed Support  

Our SDS team have led the co-production of a framework of standards to support the implementation of Self-Directed Support. The SDS Standards have been developed to ensure social workers are empowered to practice in creative, and innovative ways which allow people to have greater choice control in their own lives. The SDS Standards support social workers to explore ‘what matters’ to a person, not ‘what’s the matter’, and together find the right way forward.   

In the future, we want to see social workers feeling more confident and enabled to use Self-Directed Support to work more collaboratively with supported people, and to co-design personalised support for people and their families uninhibited by structural barriers and inflexible systems.  

Social Work Education Partnership 

Social Work Scotland have been the host organisation for the Social Work Education Partnership (SWEP) Programme Office since 2020 and will continue to host SWEP staff through the partnership’s next phase of development.   

The SWEP Programme Office works in direct partnership with colleagues in the Scottish Government’s Office of the Chief Social Work Advisor and Social Work Scotland; working together with social work educators and professionals towards a stronger future in qualifying and training. 

Joint Interviewing Investigation Project 

Child protection and justice partners are continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Government to take forward recommendations of the Evidence and Procedure Review to improve the quality and consistency of Joint Investigative Interviews (JIIs) of children. 

The aim is that joint investigative interview (JII) statements are of a sufficiently high standard that they can be used as Evidence in Chief and contribute to the range of improvements being made to remove the need for children to give evidence in court and so reduce the potential of further trauma for child victims and witnesses. 

The National Team is presently comprised of five social workers, including a social work team lead and three police officers. The social work component of the National Team is presently hosted by Social Work Scotland. 


Our Annual Conference 

Our conference is an excellent opportunity to network and spend time with colleagues to reflect on the profession’s leadership, with world class speakers and curated panels to prompt discussion and inspiration.  

Our Annual Conference this year took place in Glasgow, on the 4th of October. The conference is open to non-members as well as members; if you would like to get a discounted rate on our conference – become a member!  

This year, our conference themes are Workforce and Systems, acknowledging the challenges social work faces, and also the context in which we’re all working. 

Standing Committee/Subgroup Meetings 

When you’re a member of Social Work Scotland, you’ll have the opportunity to attend in-person Standing Committee and Subgroups meetings. Our Standing Committees and Subgroups aim to meet once a year in-person (usually in Stirling or Falkirk), with the other recurring meetings online. 

Representation at National Meetings 

As a member of Social Work Scotland, you have the opportunity to represent us at national meetings and events.  

Our Vice-Convenor, John Trainer, attended the European Social Services Conference in Malmo in June, along with our Digital Policy and Practice Advisor, Calum Campbell. 

Cheers to the SDS Team 

The Self-Directed Support Team within Social Work Scotland were shortlisted for the European Social Services Collaborative Practice Award in 2022! 

Donna Murray, Project Officer for the SDS Team, also attended the Digital Health & Care Awards 2023 with Rachel Mason, a mother of 2 sons with Autism, who went on to win an award for the software solution developed for social care!  

Setting the Bar 

Last year, we published our Setting the Bar report, which looks at the capacity of Scotland’s social work workforce and asks ‘what will it take to deliver what we need?’. 

Following on from this report, we published our second Setting the Bar report ‘Taking the Wheel’ which provides further context, insight, and where possible, identification of potential solutions.  


We respond to many different consultations which are relevant to social work – from broader human rights issues to technical legislative consultations. We also put together Briefings for Parliament on request; these are an opportunity for us to reflect members’ views and to provide a national leadership perspective for social work. 

When completing consultation responses or writing briefings for evidence, we will sometimes send out emails to members or bring this up at meetings to better reflect our membership’s views in responses. 

Representing what matters to you 

Our networks are an excellent way to raise policy and practice issues, to address national challenges and to be on the front foot as national developments evolve.  

Recently, we sent a letter to the First Minister, Humza Yousaf, offering our congratulations and outlining some of the key areas for immediate attention for the profession.   

Annual General Meeting 

All members can attend this meeting, and in 2023 will take place in  December. It is an excellent way to get an overview of the work the organisation has been doing over the last year.Ordinary and Executive Members also have the option to vote on our changes to the Board and Standing Committee Chairs. Our AGM usually takes place towards the end of the year; an email invite will be sent out to all members along with the agenda and relevant papers.   


How do I join a Standing Committee or Subgroup?  

You can join a Standing Committee (Ordinary or Executive Membership) and Subgroup by contacting the Chairs or Admin Support via email, which you can find here. Associate Members can attend the Workforce and Resources Standing Committee, as well as any subgroups.

How do I chair a Standing Committee or Subgroup?  

To chair a Standing Committee or Subgroup, you must hold at least an Ordinary Membership. Vacancies for chairing groups will be brought to attention at meetings and email correspondence, where you can submit your interest.

My employer is a Corporate Sponsor, does this mean I am entitled to Individual Membership Benefits?  

A Corporate Sponsorship allows the sponsor to support the work of Social Work Scotland, who provide a voice for social work managers and leaders at a national level. If you would like to attend meetings and represent on behalf of Social Work Scotland, you must hold an Individual Membership. 

How will my information be stored? 

The personal data you provide us with will only be viewed by Social Work Scotland staff unless covered by subsequent sections of this Policy. The information provided by members on their application/renewal form, is the only information that Social Work Scotland stores of our members. You can view our privacy policy here.

Where can I find the most up to date CSWO Contact List?  

We hold a list of current CSWOs and keep this as accurate as possible.