50th Anniversary of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968

2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. That’s a birthday worth making a fuss about.

Social Work Scotland, with support from the Scottish Government, celebrated with a range of new research and events, looking at the foundations of social work, the opportunities and challenges facing it today, and where the profession will go in the future. Below you’ll find links to all the resources produced.

50th Anniversary Report

Authored by Prof Brigid Daniel (Queen Margaret University) and Jane Scott (Independent Researcher) this cornerstone report summarises the key developments within social work during the past 50 years and reflects on the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Prof Brigid Daniel’s keynote address at the Social Work Scotland Conference 2018 (June)

Professor Daniel (Queen Margaret University) gave our audience an overview of the 50th Anniversary project and the journey of social work over the last fifty years. Watch her input here.


Community Social Work in Scotland


Written by Colin Turbett, this report is a critical history of community social work in Scotland. It was produced with the support of Social Work Scotland, IRISS and SASW.

Personalisation: Back to the Future?

Personalisation is now established in policy circles as a key element in the future of social work practice. Authored by Andrew Eccles and Raymond Taylor, this paper explores if personalisation has resonance with the 1968 Act, and how the theory has developed over recent decades.

Prevention or Crisis Response?

In this study, Jane Scott, Jean Lowe, Martin Carnavan and Clare Simpson explore the role of direct financial assistance in addressing poverty.

What is Youth Justice?

What is youth Justice? Report Cover

Written by the team at the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice (Nina Vaswani, Fiona Dyer and Claire Lightowler), this paper draws upon archival records, literature, data, media reports and testimony from policymakers and practitioners in order to chart the development of youth justice since 1968. Read it here

Reflections on the 1968 Act: Editorial

Reflections on the 1968 Act: Editorial

This series of publications is a chance to pause and reflect on where social work in Scotland has come from, and where it can build upon the successes to date as it faces the challenges of tomorrow. Social work has always operated in a context of change and challenge, and yet the need of wider society for social work is just as pertinent today as it was in the lead up to the 1968 Act. Read our editorial of the new research commissioned as part of this project, written by Iona Colvin (Scotland’s Chief Social Work Adviser) and Jackie Irvine, President of Social Work Scotland).

Celebrate the Social Work (Scot.) Act 1968 Event – Main Auditorium slides

Example of auditorium slides

On 5th December 2018, we held an event to celebrate 50 years of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, bringing together practitioners, students and academics to reflect on the past and consider the future. The keynote address was given by Professor Brigid Daniel and Jane Scott. You can review their slides as part of the Main Auditorium slide show from the day.