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National Care Service – Justice Social Work – Stakeholder Update June 2023


  • Research update
  • Workshops
  • Reference Group
  • Workforce Panel
  • National Care Service Bill update
  • National Care Service Regional Forums 2023

Research update

IPSOS Scotland and Professor Beth Weaver (University of Strathclyde) were commissioned in December 2022 to undertake research to help inform a decision on whether justice social work services will become part of a future National Care Service or not. Professor Weaver has now completed a desk review to better understand the opportunities and challenges for justice social work (whether in or out of a future National Care Service).

The key findings from this review have been shared with justice social work staff and partners via in-person and virtual workshops, as well as through the National Care Service Justice Reference Group and Workforce Panel. Professor Beth Weaver also presented the initial findings to the COSLA Community Wellbeing Board in April 2023.

IPSOS have begun the next stage of their research. This will comprise of  approximately 50–60 Interviews with justice social work practitioners, partner organisations, and service users from across six different local authority areas. The final report is due in September 2023 and will provide an evidence base to analyse options for the inclusion or not of justice social work  within a future national care service.


As mentioned in our previous update, we have now held a total of nine workshop sessions with justice social work practitioners and community justice partners.  Seven in-person workshops were held in Ayr, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness. A further two virtual sessions were also held. A mixture of in person and virtual workshops has allowed us to capture as many views as possible from across Scotland, hearing from approximately 200 people the opportunity to share their views. As a team, we would like to take the opportunity to thank those who attended for their time and valuable contributions. The team have collated this information and a written summary will be included in our next update.

These sessions have been successful in providing us with frontline experience of how the justice social work system is working for both practitioners, service users, and partners. This will feed into our options appraisal work and further, more focused, workshop sessions will be held later in the year ahead of a formal public consultation.

Reference Group

The NCS Justice Reference Group continues to meet regularly with the most recent meeting being held on the 16 May. The group continue to provide valuable contributions to our programme of work, specifically

  • Engaging directly with the researchers to establish a working relationship and to provide views or guidance at various stages of the research;
  • Promoting our engagement events through their communication channels; and
  • Assisting with the shaping of future workshop sessions to ensure a wide range of views are heard in a collaborative setting.

The group will continue to meet on a monthly basis throughout the programme of work.

Workforce Panel

A workforce panel of 10 frontline social work practitioners is also meeting regularly to provide an enhanced input and ensure that the views of the workforce are reflected at key points.

The panel has met three times since it was established in February, membership captures a wide range of experience from local authority areas across Scotland.  These include a mixture of rural and urban settings to ensure there is a balance in the frontline social worker views provided.

At the last meeting, the group discussed the interim research findings that have been produced by our external researchers.  We will continue to consult the group on key issues and factor those views into how the work is progressed. Future meetings are planned for over the summer.

National Care Service Bill update

As you may be aware, the Scottish Parliament has agreed to an extension the NCS Bill timeline. The Stage 1 debate will now take place in January 2024. The intention is that the delay will mean the Scottish Government can have more direct engagement with people with lived experience, our workforce, unions and local government to make the Bill as robust as possible, and allows Parliament time to consider the outcome of those discussions.

At present, we are considering what this extension means for the Justice Social Work programme of work and associated timeline. Should there be any changes to our timeline as previously shared we will aim to bring this to the attention of our stakeholders at the earliest opportunity.

National Care Service Regional Forums 2023

As part of the wider development of the National Care Service, we’re hosting events with people who have experience of accessing and delivering social care support. From June to August the Scottish Government will be visiting Forth Valley, Glasgow, Skye, Tayside, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Highlands and the Black Isle, Shetland and Moray to hear from as many people as possible about what they would like to see from a National Care Service. There are also online events taking place at the end of August for those who cannot make it in person.

These events will focus on the five co-design themes:

  1. Information sharing to improve care support
  2. Keeping care support local
  3. Valuing the workforce
  4. Realising rights and responsibilities
  5. Making sure my voice is heard

If you are working with people who have lived experience of accessing or delivering community health and social care, please encourage them to come along to an event near them. Registration for the events can be found on Eventbrite.

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