The School of Applied Social Studies team is active in a number of professional social work and social sciences networks. Additionally RGU's service user panel gives the opportunity for people who have accessed social work services the opportunity to contribute to the education of our social work students.


Service User Panel

Are you interested in helping to train student social workers?

What is the Service User Panel?

The service user panel is a group of people who have past or present experience of contact with social work services and who are interested in contributing to the education of social workers in training.

Who might get involved?

Panel members are usually representatives of different service user organisations. This enables members to represent these organisations. Some members of the panel may not have to act as a spokesperson for the organisation they have connections to and may contribute from a more individual perspective.

How does the Panel support social work education?

During training social work students must gain a range of practice skills and an understanding of the needs and views of people who use services. Through its work the service user panel provides an important role in assisting Robert Gordon University to achieve this aim.

Why should service users get involved?

There are many benefits to be gained from service users sharing their knowledge and experience. These benefits will certainly be felt by students and staff, but importantly also by participants. Getting involved in the service user panel can be a rewarding experience with opportunities for personal development, recognition of skills and wider social and well being benefits.

In what ways can service users get involved?

Participants contribute to social work education in a range of ways. These include: Student selection; Student assessment; Direct input to teaching through sharing views and experiences; Course evaluation; Commenting on teaching content & wider national developments.

What can Robert Gordon University offer in return?

In recognition that participants are giving up their own time in order to get involved, Robert Gordon University are able to offer vouchers and travel expenses for panel related work. We are also able to offer support and training, along with new opportunities for development.

Who should I contact?

If you are interested in joining the panel or would like further information please contact:

Claire Marsden on 01224 263373, e-mail or
Iain Fisk on 01224 263233, e-mail

Administrator: Martin Cartney on 01224 263370, e-mail

Professional Networks

Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS)

The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services, (formerly the Scottish Institute for Excellence in Social Work Education), was launched in August 2003 by Mr Euan Robson, Deputy Education and Young People Minister.

The Institute was set up by the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) to design, carry out and evaluate three areas of 'innovative educational developments'

  • Learning for Effective & Ethical Practice (LEEP)
  • Assessment (Integrated Assessment)
  • eLearning (Learning Exchange)

These educational developments aim to shape the future of social work education by driving up standards and ensuring there will be a workforce that is equipped to meet the needs of the profession in the 21st Century. 

A key feature of the Institute is to bring together all nine Higher Education Institutions offering professional social work training in Scotland and to manage a strategic collaborative approach to the development and implementation of the new social work degree.

Full information on the work of the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services can be found on the website:   

Care Inspectorate

SCSWIS are the independent regulator of social care and social work services across Scotland.

The Care Inspectorate (formerly SCWIS) are the independent scrutiny and improvement body for care services in Scotland. They make sure people receive high quality care and ensure that services promote and protect their rights through regulations, inspections and supporting improvement of care, social work and child protection services for the benefit of the people who use them. Various kinds of organisations provide the services they regulate: local authorities, individuals, businesses, charities and voluntary organisations.   

For further information about the Care Inspectorate please visit their website: