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Local Practitioner Forums

Achieving the aspirations of Changing Lives will require leadership from the front line as well as from the top of organisations. Practitioners from public, private and voluntary sectors are being actively encouraged to set up forums to discuss practice issues.

January 2009

Significant progress has been made across Scotland in relation to the development of Local Practitioner Forums (LPFs) and in harnessing their contribution to transforming social work services. By September 2008, 21 LPFs were established and working effectively, with all other areas in the process of setting up a forum.

In July 2008, the ADSW Executive Committee agreed that the association should assume professional leadership for engaging frontline staff, supported by the Scottish Government. To help re-invigorate local interest in LPFs, and make clear the value that is placed upon the practitioner input, each area has been allocated the support of a dedicated ADSW Professional Development Manager.

Practical support is provided partly through the revised Scottish Government LPF Toolkit document that advises on the effective engagement of local stakeholders in LPFs and Changing Lives.

ADSW support has included re-establishing ten ADSW Geographical Area Grouping meetings for senior managers, all of which will soon be fully operational. The remit of the groups is to implement the Changing Lives agenda locally, working with the LPFs to break down the traditional distinction between policy development and service delivery.

ADSW will meet with leaders of independent and private service providers with the aim of widening membership of the ADSW geographical groups, and has developed a position statement to assist LPFs with developing effective lines of communication and influence. The aim is to benefit from the practitioner’s view of practice development and to consider the practicalities of existing and anticipated policies.

Opportunities for sharing ideas on change and reviewing solutions across levels of organisations have been created through the establishment of the National LPF Chairs Meeting, chaired by Alan Baird, the President of ADSW, and attended by the Scottish Government and ADSW Professional Development Managers. National LPF Chairs meetings were held on 11 September and the 19 November 2008 with most local authority areas represented.

Justin McNicholl, Chair of Clackmannanshire LPF, was elected as National LPF chair at the last meeting. The next national LPF chair meeting will be held in Crieff in March 2009 when senior managers from the local authorities who support the LPFs will also be invited. These national meetings will be held, as a minimum, bi-annually.

Engaging with your local LPF/Setting a LPF up

The Scottish Government are currently working with ADSW on the future support and facilitation of LPFs. Redrafted guidance to replace the original ‘toolkits’ is available here.

If you would like information on, or would like to get involved with the LPF in your area, or would like to get in touch with other LPFs for advice or to share ideas and experiences, please click here to download the latest contact lists for LPFs across Scotland

If you have any other query relating to LPFs, please contact Ben Coburn ( at the Scottish Government.

August 2008

National Practitioner Forum Meeting Announced

ADSW have announced the date of the first National Practitioner Forum meeting – to take place at Crieff Hydro on 11 September 2008. The National Practitioner Forum meeting will bring together Chairs of each of the Local Practitioner Forums, ADSW President Alan Baird, ADSW officials and a representative from the Scottish Government. Invitations for the first meeting have been sent to current LPF Chairs and those on the LPF contacts list that are in the process of setting up a LPF or have indicated an interest in doing so. If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please contact Wendy Harrington. Email:

July 2008

As requested at the June LPF meeting a Core Products Timeline giving a brief description and indicative launch date for the Changing Lives Change Programmes core products has been circulated to all LPF contacts.

June 2008

Click here for an article on West Dunbartonshire’s Local Practitioner Forum journey (source: Changing Lives Newsletter Spring/Summer 2008)

On 25 June, at the National Practitioners Conference 2008 in Halbeath, Justin McNicholl, Clackmannanshire LPF, co-facilitated a local ownership workshop with Wendy Harrington, ADSW.

On 11 June, the Scottish Government facilitated a meeting of local practitioner forums (LPFs) to discuss the first steps towards their future support and facilitation. Also present was Wendy Harrington from ADSW, who set out ADSW’s future proposals for LPFs. A note of the meeting is available here.

Following the meeting, Scottish Government and ADSW will be meeting again and working towards clarifying and building on the discussions held. A number of actions resulted from the meeting, and Scottish Government will shortly begin drafting guidance for those involved or interested in LPFs. More information will appear on this website in due course.

On 10 June, West Dunbartonshire launched their LPF. A number of other local authority areas previously without an active LPF have engaged with Scottish Government over the past two months. There are currently 15 active LPFs, 16 areas engaged (at varying stages), and only one area without any engagement.

March 2008

In keeping with the original intentions of Changing Lives and the Concordat, and the need to encourage increased ownership of the Changing Lives agenda at the local level, we are currently in discussions with key partners regarding the future support and facilitation of LPFs. Perth & Kinross launched their LPF on 26 March, and West Dunbartonshire are poised to follow suit in the summer.

December 2007

There are now 13 LPFs up and running and we are engaged with 11 other local areas. A meeting was facilitated on 15 November in Edinburgh to bring those involved in LPFs together. The agenda was set by the LPFs, and the meeting was an opportunity for those involved to discuss issues of interest and to network.

On 15 November, 2007, the Scottish Government facilitated a meeting of local practitioner forums and invited all those with any involvement in forums to attend and to set the agenda. Minutes of the meeting were taken by a local practitioner in attendance.
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