Dumfries and Galloway social work challenges outlined

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The head of social work in Dumfries and Galloway has underlined the significant challenges being faced by the service.

In her annual report Lilian Cringles has described how it is dealing with budget cuts and rising demand.

However, she also highlighted service progress including groundbreaking work to enhance safeguards for vulnerable children and adults.

The full report will go before councillors when they meet in Dumfries on Tuesday.

The region's social work department has a workforce of more than 870 who deal with thousands of case referrals every year covering children and families, adult services, public protection and criminal justice.

In her newly-published report for 2016/17, Ms Cringle said the year had been extremely challenging in the face of an ever-increasing workload, service redesign and spending reductions which saw £2m lost from adult services alone.

Case studies

However, the annual report also draws on case studies to document the progress made in delivering improvements to priority areas.

One such development was the establishment of a multi-agency safeguarding hub - known as MASH - which brought together social workers, health professionals and police under one roof.

The unit, which includes an adult and children's section, screens and acts on all referrals where concerns have been raised about individuals who may be at risk of harm.

Overall, more than 3,200 protection referrals were made during the year.

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