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NIASW's October – College machinations, working for you and good practice ...


As you may have seen, it has been a busy and significant month for us at BASW. We in the NIASW office are saddened by The College of Social Work’s (TCSW) decision to break off talks with us. It ends our plans to form a single unified UK College for the profession.

BASW at all levels has put in enormous effort to establish a college that would be a strong independent, unified voice for the profession, and those of you whom we’ve met over the past two and a half years can testify to NIASW’s commitment to that end. We have engaged with you and debated what a college should be and whether we in Northern Ireland need one? We have stood firm and fought for the profession and advocated on your behalf, ensuring that your voice was always at the centre of discussions.  And so whilst there is sadness and frustration over the decision, it does at least close that chapter in BASW’s life and allows us to focus on a new future.

Working for members
With the closing of one door, so opens another and so we have a unique opportunity to stop, catch our breath and refocus. To refocus on the work that we do, to represent you, the social work profession, both individually and as a group. To lobby our politicians on your behalf, to remind them of the invaluable, the complex and demanding work that you do every day. To lobby your employers, to lobby the DHSSPS to deliver on the ten year social work strategy, to show leadership for the profession, to set professional standards and be – continue to be – the voice of the profession across the UK.

But is this enough? Is this what you want us to do? We need you, our members, to be actively involved with us, to help us to set the vision for a renewed, re-energised, refocused and strong professional body. Help us be what you want us to be by letting us know.


Good Practice
Carolyn Ewart was delighted to meet with Linda McConnell, change co-ordinator for the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust (SEHSCT), to learn about a piece of work she has undertaken with the Gateway team in Newtownards to review and improve practice. Linda and the team identified a problem with unallocated cases and when they reviewed what was happening highlighted the amount of time being spent by social work staff on duty, inputting data to a computer. By involving administration staff in this work, to ensure that the right people were doing the right job, and reviewing the referral systems, they successfully reduced the cases awaiting allocation by freeing up social workers to see children and families. In addition to improving the outcomes for service users the social work staff reported increased feelings of job satisfaction, as well as a reduction in stress.

There will be a full article appearing soon in PSW highlighting the findings of our Bureaucracy in Child Care Survey; it offers a vivid example of you telling us how it is and NIASW then ensuring your experiences are disseminated and better understood. Where appropriate, we will also share innovative practice. We are sure that there are lots of examples across a huge variety of teams, so if you have something you want us to highlight, please get in touch.