Developing the Social Services Workforce: Retention, Recruitment, Skills

This event will help you understand the challenges facing the social services workforce and explore how it can be nurtured and grown by sharing the latest in research and practice.

Book now to enjoy the early bird rate, available until Friday 12 January 2018
Please quote SSWEB20 when booking to receive a 20% discount

The context

The social services sector in Scotland employs around 200,000 people in a range of settings. It is going through a time of change. Integration of Health and Social Care, Self-directed Support, the expansion of early learning and childcare and other policy and practice developments all mean that practitioners need a wide range of skills to deal with the challenges ahead. Developing and maintaining those skills is essential for all in the sector.

The Scottish Social Service Council’s (SSSC) Workforce Skills Report 2016-2017 set out the challenges and skills issues facing the workforce and outlines some of the initiatives to tackle these issues. 

The event

This event will draw together evidence and case studies exploring some of the challenges ahead and skills gaps identified by the SSSC Workforce Skills Report and illustrate how managers and frontline workers can face these challenges as the workforce evolves.

Key issues to be addressed

  • The challenges facing social services and the skills we need to develop to support the workforce to meet these challenges
  • How supporting staff to manage the emotional toll of working with vulnerable groups can improve retention
  • Statistics show that 85% of the workforce is female: how can we attract more men into social work?
  • Enhancing the skills of the workforce

Confirmed speakers

  • Iona Colvin, Chief Social Work Advisor, Scottish Government
  • Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, Scottish Social Services Council
  • Karen Hedge, National Director, Scottish Care
  • Diane Marr, Network Development Manager, Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution 
  • Alison Christie, Policy and Development Officer (Workforce), CCPS - Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland 
  • Michelle Nairn, Head of Corporate Services, Includem and Workforce Associate, CCPS
  • Lorna Dalton, Learning and Development Adviser, Scottish Social Services Council​


Session 1: The Shape of the Workforce

In this opening session we will look at the characteristics of the social services workforce and consider the recruitment and retention challenges it faces. As we do so we will ask: how we can develop a more diverse workforce by attracting more men into care?

  • The social services workforce: facing the future
  • Workforce retention
  • Attracting men into care

Session 2: Building Leadership Capacity

In this time of change effective leadership is essential for ensuring that today’s workforce is ready for tomorrow. This session will explore what good leadership looks like in a social services setting and look at just a few of the initiatives helping to build leadership capacity.

  • What does good leadership in social services look like?
  • Leadership for Integration
  • Leadership and wellbeing

Session 3: Enhancing Workforce Skills

In this final session we will look at the skills challenges facing the workforce. We will finish with an exploration of the important skill of self-reflection, recognising the barriers that can make it difficult for staff to find space to review their decision-making, the importance of good supervision for enabling reflection and why it continues to be an essential part of care.

  • Supporting social service workers to deal with conflict
  • Enhancing digital capacity
  • Self-reflection in practice

*Agenda subject to change


COSLA, Verity House, 19 Haymarket Yards, Edinburgh EH12 5BH | Map


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Discounted rate: £145 (Voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Reduced rate: 1 place £245 | 2+ places £195 (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary / charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Full rate: 1 place £295 | 2+ places £245 (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

29 March 2018



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