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The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 was implemented from 17 November 1969 and has been quoted as the most important landmark in Scottish social work history. The Act brought together into a comprehensive service existing provisions for children, elderly, physically and mentally handicapped persons and offenders, which had been previously exercised through the Children, Welfare, Health and Probation Committees. The Act created social work departments and established social work as a professional service within local government.
It was at a Scottish Office sponsored seminar in Peebles Hydro, on 14 October 1969, that the Association of Directors of Social Work (ADSW) was constituted. The first office bearers were Douglas Grant as President, Bob Winter as Secretary, Harry Mapstone as Vice President and Jim Gregory as Treasurer. There were 42 Directors of Social Work present at this meeting. Membership of the Association was open to all Directors of Social Work appointed by local authorities under the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968. The structure of social work has changed over the years in accordance with local government reorganisation. The objects of the Association are the promotion of social welfare and the promotion of the interests of service users.
In 1998 the ADSW was restructured in line with the changes in local government. Its committee structure was developed to reflect the range of concerns and pressures in providing social work services in the 1990s. A Directors Group was established and the Standing Committee structure was streamlined into 5 committees – Children and Familiy Care, Community Care, Criminal Justice Services, Standards, Training and Research and Finance.
The ADSW works closely with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) in lobbying government for funding and in developing and responding to new legislation. ADSW was a statutory consultee of the Social Work Services Group (SWSG) in the Scottish Office and continues working with the Scottish Executive's Social Work Services Inspectorate. From time to time sub groups and working groups are established to deal with specific issues.
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