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BASW calls for a Social Work election

As Gordon Brown has named Thursday 6 May as election day, the British Association of Social Workers has called for cross-party commitment to guarantee that social work services will be prioritised and safe from further cuts.

In its Manifesto for Social Work, BASW urges protection of social work services, stating that social work should be deemed as a priority service protected against cuts alongside health and education services.

Chief executive Hilton Dawson said: “Social work is the most important and least valued profession in the UK.

“Social workers are determined to make this the social work election to ensure whichever government is elected, gives priority to the users of social work services and effective support for our vital work,” he added.

The Association wants a Social Work Act of Parliament which would introduce new legislation and statutory guidance to ensure that a College for Social Work would have a vital role in setting standards around entry into the social work profession, standards for employers, the career structure of social workers, qualifications and continuing professional development (CPD).

Additionally, the Manifesto comprising five key aims, calls for amendments to existing legislation around hospital discharges which would allow social workers to delay someone being discharged from hospital for up to one week if the arrangements around the discharge were unsafe.

Further changes to legislation should afford children the same protection from assault that we give to adults and concepts such as ‘reasonable punishment’ should be abolished.

The Association also urges fair access and dignity in old age through a funding system for the care of older people which recognises that all forms of care should have the same status as the NHS and are funded through National Insurance or general taxation.

Finally, the Manifesto calls for urgent links with the International Federation of Social Work and The Department for International Development to ensure that social work principals inform all aspects of international development work and good social work practice supports communities affected by war, famine, poverty, natural disaster and climate change.

Dawson added: “Until the close of polls on May 6th, social workers will be challenging every candidate in every constituency to demonstrate support for social workers by signing up to the BASW Manifesto for Social Work.

“The votes of 105,000 social workers are at stake at what is likely to be the closest and least predictable general election of modern times,” he concluded.

See BASW’s Manifesto for Social Work