We're excited to announce that our day of learning and development with Dr Karen Treisman has now sold out. It is great to see many of our members booked on to this event, with many of you coming with your whole teams.

The event - 'Navigating the Iceberg' - will see Dr Treisman set out practical ways that you can deliver a shift in culture towards trauma-informed practice by navigating the 'iceberg' that so often sinks organisational change.

The visible part of the iceberg is 'the way we say we get things done' - the overall vision and strategy we have for children and young people. However, the larger part of an iceberg - 'the way we really get things done' - often remains below the surface, unseen. This includes the cultural barriers to achieving the organisational change we want to see.

We all know that we cannot achieve this shift in culture if we do not understand the 'iceberg' - both the visible (how we are expected to work) and the invisible (how we work in reality).

Here at Staf we know that practitioners and managers working with care leavers across Scotland are committed to rights-based and relationship-based practice in order to fulfil duties as Corporate Parents. We also know that there has also been a welcome shift towards an adversity and trauma-informed approach

Through our engagement with you at focus groups and events we know that you face significant barriers in trying to achieve that culture change. In particular, budgets for local authorities have been under severe pressure in recent years, which directly impacts children’s services budget decisions.

As budgets have decreased, demands on the care workforce have increased. The ambition behind new policies, such as the welcome introduction of Continuing Care, has often been undermined by a lack of guidance and resources.

This, in turn, has a negative impact on the wellbeing of the workforce. A 2018 survey found that “high caseloads” were a cause of stress for social workers, with two in five of those surveyed looking to leave the profession. This echoes the findings of a 2016 study commissioned by the Chief Social Work Adviser in 2016, which found recruitment and retention issues in the social service sector, with pay, conditions and workload cited as challenges[1].

Within this context, of a system that is itself stressed, Dr Karen Treisman will explore the practical ways that we can lead and deliver a trauma-informed, trauma-responsive culture in your own place of work.

Karen is clear that stressed systems can themselves be trauma-inducing. If we are stressed, we cannot be the ‘safe hands, thinking minds and regulating bodies’ required by young people to develop the relationships they need to heal from trauma. To put it another way, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

So, we are looking forward to welcoming you, learning with you and really filling up your cups on 8 May 2019.


[1] Recruitment and retention in the social service workforce in Scotland, Shona Mulholland, Jo Fawcett and Sue Granville, 2016: https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/corporate-report/2016/12/social-work-recruitment-retention-project-survey-findings/documents/c6ac78e0-198f-4968-86d7-5ed1c161396d/c6ac78e0-198f-4968-86d7-5ed1c161396d/govscot%3Adocument