Social Work Pioneer, Morag Faulds: An Obituary

Professor Morag Cameron Faulds, who died peacefully after a long illness, was born in Tobermory on the island of Mull. She began school there and later attended Oban High School. Subsequently, she took an arts degree at Glasgow University followed by a diploma in social sciences. From there, she went on to qualify as an almoner (a medical social worker) under the auspices of the Institute of Hospital Almoners. In 1946, she was appointed as a social worker at Kings College Hospital, London. In 1948, she returned to Scotland as head social worker at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, then held a similar post at the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow.

In 1967 she left social work practice to become a lecturer in social work in the department of social administration at Glasgow University. By 1969, however, she had returned
to fieldwork when she was appointed the first director of social work for Inverness County under the Social Work (Scotland) Act of 1968.

Miss Faulds pioneered the setting-up of the new local authority social work department there, augmenting her knowledge of social work with her familiarity with the Highland way of life in general and of the language in particular. In 1975, she again returned to teaching and was appointed senior lecturer in social work at the newly-established social work department of Paisley College (now Paisley University). Once again, her role was that of a pioneer and establisher of a new unit. In doing this, she set a very high standard of requirement in the fieldwork placements she used for her students, in due course introducing a degree-level course, while assisting the college in other ways, including setting up its innovative post-qualifying course in alcohol studies.

The university recognised her immense contribution to social work training when she was appointed honorary professor.

Faulds’ personal integrity, wide experience and commitment to social work resulted in her being invited to represent the profession in many activities on the wider scene. For instance, when she was director of social work in Inverness, she represented the directors of social work on the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and on its Scottish Advisory Committee. Later, she became external examiner to social work courses.

Over the years, her responsibilities included serving as a member of the Clayson Committee on Scottish licensing laws and later membership of the Jay Committee (UK) of Inquiry into Mental Handicap Nursing and Care. She also served for a term as a member of the Centre for Policy on Ageing.

In 1973, at the request of the Scottish Office, she took part in a week’s study into the deployment of field personnel for social development programmes in Nicosia, Cyprus, under the auspices of Unesco. She served on Quarriers Council and was hugely influential in the establishment of Pain Association Scotland, chaired Barnardo’s Policy committee and was founder chairman of the Scottish Child and Family Association.

She served on the board of directors of the Strathclyde Branch of the Epilepsy Association Scotland – now Epilepsy Scotland, and the Relatives Association in Scotland.
Her Christian faith was central to her life and she served on the committee of the Free Church Retirement Housing Project. All of these activities were deservedly recognised in the award of an OBE.

Morag’s life was not all work. She was a talented watercolour painter, loved books and music and relished holidays in Scotland and abroad. She will be remembered with love by her family, friends, colleagues, patients, students and many others – a warm, caring person who took great joy in serving others.