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College walks out on talks with BASW

The British Association of Social Workers is extremely disappointed to report that The College of Social Work (TCSW) has decided that it is not possible to create a unified organisation for social workers in the UK.

TCSW wrote to BASW setting out again its college model that will leave social workers who join the new organisation without the provision of protection that thousands of social workers need each year to support them with problems ranging from bullying in the workplace to employment tribunals.

Bridget Robb, who has been closer to the talks than anyone and has been a longstanding and determined enthusiast of a unified UK College of Social Work, responded to the letter by expressing her sadness and frustration at the move:

“I have spent much of the past three years striving to achieve a deal that is in the best interests of social work, a deal that would give the profession a renewed impetus to tackle its many challenges. Anyone who knows me will I hope appreciate that I have always genuinely sought a deal that will work for social work and for social workers.

“So it is extremely disappointing to hear from TCSW that not only is it unilaterally pulling out of making further efforts now to secure a unified profession but that social workers who join this TCSW will not enjoy the crucial protection that comes from having access to an expert advice and representation service.

“We know all too well how, every year, thousands of professionals throughout the UK face conduct hearings, employment tribunals, grievance proceedings, bullying in the workplace, and many more problems.

“Social workers have been told what to do by others for years. The possibility of a UK College of Social Work is the best chance in a generation for the social work profession to work together, and with the public, to tackle the serious issues we face. Social workers have a right to be deeply disappointed by this development.

“BASW has not called off the negotiations and will always be willing to talk with anyone serious about securing a model of a College that can improve our profession. While that situation is not available to us, however, we are confident and determined in taking BASW forward as the authoritative voice for social workers across the UK – run by and for social work professionals.”

BASW Chair Fran Fuller also expressed her disappointment and cautioned social workers about the current college model available to them:

“TCSW continues to state that it is the voice of the profession, but in truth it is establishing a quasi-regulatory role in England which is far removed from BASW’s ambitions for a college representing the gathered profession of social work across the UK. The membership subscriptions social workers are asked to pay to TCSW will never give them a strong voice in an organisation in which the main funding will always come from other sources.”

Letter sent to BASW by TCSW
BASW’s response to TCSW