This (insert title) provides an overview of the main documents that BASW has produced since 2010. It does not provide a complete list – since this evolves continuously - but aims to signpost BASW members and other interested parties to the main documents.

How the material is organised

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have their own laws and policies in relation to social work. However, the Westminster Parliament continues to make law and policy on a range of issues for the whole of the UK that relate to social work. Examples include the 1998 Human Rights Act, welfare benefits, immigration and asylum and the Prevent duty.

The way material is organised in this (insert title) reflects this. Material that is relevant to the whole of the UK is listed first. Material that is specific to one of the four countries is listed under that country’s heading. Some issues are not unique to one country (e.g. poverty, digital capability) and for that reason these issues are listed under the UK heading. It is, also the case, of course, that material which is specific to one country might also be relevant to audiences in other countries.

BASW is a member of the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) which has a number of resources which are collectively owned by, and increasingly used by, the UK and global social work community. These are listed under the heading ‘International’.

How the documents differ

The documents differ: this is because they have different purposes. Broadly the documents fall into one of five main categories:

  • Policy statements describe a broad situation and take a view on policy and/or practice which is endorsed by BASW. Examples would include the ‘Anti - Poverty Practice Guide for Social Work’ (2019) and the ‘UK Social Work Manifesto’ (2019).’
  • Position Statements address specific legal, policy or practice situations which will include a view on law, policy and/or practice and is endorsed by BASW. An example would be the ‘Position Statement on Austerity’ (2017).
  • Capability Frameworks address the thresholds social work practitioners (and social work organisations) should aspire to attain. Examples include Capabilities Statement for Social Work with Autistic Adults; Capabilities Statement for Social Work with Adults with Learning Disability; Digital Capabilities Statement.
  • Practice Guides give guidance on a specific aspect of practice in the context of policy and legislation e.g. NRPF: Statement and Guidance (2020)
  • Descriptions and Resources are rather different to the three categories above. These documents describe a situation that is relevant to social work practice. As resources they are not necessarily taking a view that a situation is good or bad, or that BASW has a view one way or the other, they are simply describing the situation. Examples might include ‘Social Work and Human Rights: The International Context’. Describing a situation should not be confused with endorsing a situation. From time to time BASW works with external organisations and / or individuals to help inform an issue – and an examination of the issue can be part of generating a resource. This may include research studies, for example, ‘UK Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing’ (2017) or opinion pieces based on research e.g. ‘Rethinking social work ethics during Covid-19 and beyond: A BASW think piece’. The opinions cited in the description and resource may not necessarily be the view of BASW.
  • Manuals. These deal with ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ from members around BASW activities. Examples include ‘Establishing a BASW Branch: Set Up Guidelines’ (2018).

Each document has the prime classification(s) written against it to help navigate between the different types of document

The Small Print

Please note:

  • The (working title) lists the key documents produced since 2010. This is not to say that material produced before 2010 is not relevant – far from it – rather it is an acknowledgement that in a rapidly changing workplace members and stakeholders will need to access the most recent material first.
  • Where there has been a succession of statements on the same issue (e.g. Brexit) the (insert title) only lists the most recent.
  • BASW regularly prepares briefing papers and responds to some government consultations. These are not listed here because of the frequency of production.
  • Material (especially descriptive material) was accurate at the point of publication, however, law and policy frequently change.

Future Work

Undertaking this (insert title) inevitably throws up gaps and omissions. Not every gap and omission can be resolved immediately but we value the views of members on the priorities for developing further material.


Since this is a (working title) - rather than a set of references - we have not included the names of the authors. However, we would like to express our thanks to the many BASW members, social workers and other individuals and organisations who contributed to, wrote, edited or funded the documents listed.

Further queries

If you after using this (working title) you need further help contact one of the Professional Officers or one of the Policy and Research team (generic emails)

UK Wide

The role of the social worker in Adoption, Ethics and Human Rights: An Enquiry (2018). (Description/Resource)

Alcohol and Other Drugs (AoD). The AoD Special Interest Group has produced the following practice guides: Substance Use and Domestic Abuse, Alcohol and Other Drugs Pocket Guide, Alcohol and Older People: Learning for Practice, A Child’s first 1000 days: the impact of alcohol and other drugs; Young People and Alcohol, Children, families and alcohol use, Mental health and substance use (All Practice Guides)

BASW Code of Ethics

BASW Social Media Policy (Policy)

Position Statement on Austerity (2017) (Position Statement)

Anti - Poverty Practice Guide for Social Work (2019) (Policy)

Various Brexit position statements/EUSS/Social Care

Campaign Action Pack: Leave no stone unturned in the fight against austerity (Resource)

Code of Ethics for Social Work: Statement of Principles (2014) (Policy/Position Statement)

Covid-19. Rethinking social work ethics during Covid-19 and beyond: A BASW think piece’ (Description/Resource).

Digital Capability for Social Workers: Stakeholders Report (2019) (Description/Resource)

Digital Capabilities Statement for General Social Work Practice (2020). (Capabilities Statement)

BASW UK summary position statement on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (2021)


BASW UK Statement on Anti-Racism. (2021)

Domestic Abuse & Child Welfare: A Practice Guide for Social Workers (2020) (Policy/Practice Guide)

Establishing and Developing a Special Interest Group at BASW (2019) (Manual)

NRPF: Statement and Guidance (2020) (Position Statement/Practice Guide)

Prevent position statement (position statement)

Regulation of Social Work and Social Workers in the United Kingdom (2018) (Description / Resource)

Rethinking social work ethics during Covid 19 and beyond: A BASW ‘thinkpiece’ (Resource) 

Social Work and Human Rights: A Practice Guide (Description/Resource)

Social Work and Human Rights: The International Context (Description/Resource)

Social Media Policy (2018) (Policy/Position statement)

Submission to UN Special Rapporteur (2018) (Description/Resource/Position statement)

UK Supervision Policy (2011) (Policy/Position Statement)

UK Social Work Manifesto (2019) (Policy/Position Statement)

UK Social Workers: Working Conditions and Wellbeing (2017) (Description/Resource)

Untested Models: The role of private and independent providers in social work (2018) (Description/Resource)

Voices of Social Work through The Troubles (2019) BASW / Northern Ireland Social Care Council (Description / Resource)

Social Worker Wellbeing and Working Conditions:  Good Practice Toolkit (2020)


80:20 Campaign (Policy / Resource)

Capabilities Statement for Social Work with Autistic Adults (Capability Framework)

Capabilities Statement for Social Work with Adults with Learning Disability (Capability Framework)

Establishing a BASW Branch Set Up Guidelines (2018). (Manual)

Good Practice Guide for Social Workers in England and Wales Working with Adults with Acquired Hearing Loss (2018) (Policy)

Professional Capabilities Framework (Capability Framework)

Social Workers and a New Mental Health Act (2019) (Resource/Policy Statement)


Social Work Across the UK: Legal and Policy Differences from a Scottish Perspective (2018) (Description/Resource)

Domestic Abuse & Child Welfare: A Practice Guide for Social Workers (2020) (Policy/Practice Guide)

Northern Ireland

Above and Beyond: At what cost? NIASW Social Work Workload Survey Report (2017) (Description/Resource/Policy)

Shaping Social Workers Identity: An All-Ireland Study (2020) (Resource)

Social Work not Paperwork: Cutting Bureaucracy in Childcare Social Work (2017) (Description/Resource/Policy)

A Blueprint for Change for Adult Services Social Work in Northern Ireland (2017) (Policy) 

Insult to Injury: exploring the impact of intimidation, threats and violence against social workers. (2018) (Resource)

Voices of Social Work through The Troubles (2019) BASW/Northern Ireland Social Care Council (Description/Resource)


Good Practice Guide for Social Workers in England and Wales Working with Adults with Acquired Hearing Loss (2018) (Policy)


The Global Definition of Social Work

The Global Social Work Statement of Ethical Principles