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MPs probe into College funding as BASW takes case to PM

BASW has repeatedly campaigned for an explanation as to why £30 million of taxpayer money is being used to establish a new quango that will act as a recruiting body to attract new members to the Unison trade union.

BASW’s attempts to find answers to these questions has resulted in the organisation being excluded from negotiations to establish a unified college for the social work profession.

The evidence session will be open to members of the public, and BASW is urging social workers and all interested parties to attend to show their support.

Separately BASW has written to the prime minister David Cameron highlighting the decision of members at its Additional General Meeting on 1 November to commit to transferring the Association’s assets into a unified College of Social Work. It insisted, however, that ministers must ‘address the serious concerns’ BASW first raised with the prime minister on 14 October. ‘We will not be coerced or colluded into backing a College whose foundation has been so murky and in which Unison – or anyone else for that matter – plays an inordinately influential role,’ the letter stated.

A recent FOI request regarding the College of Social Work’s decision to exclude BASW from negotiations admits that should Unison get ‘cold feet’ on an exclusive membership deal, the ‘entire viability’ of the College will be put at risk.

The risk assessment document reveals that the College’s entire business model ‘is based on a service level agreement with Unison and a joint member recruitment campaign in order to gain a critical mass of members right from the start’.

BASW’s Chief Executive Hilton Dawson commented: “We see this decision to hold an evidence session as a vindication of our concerns. For months now we have been asking for someone to explain exactly why the establishment of a publicly funded body is so dependent on a secret deal with Unison to the exclusion of all other trade unions, but have been met by a deafening silence. We owe it to social workers not to stand idly by while the entire social work profession is handed over on a plate to Unison, and welcome this supportive stance from MPs.”