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BASW – World Social Work day challenges us to find new ways of working together

In the current climate of austerity, World Social Work Day offers a challenge for politicians and social workers to find new ways of working together, BASW will say.

Speaking at a celebration event in Westminster later today, BASW Interim Chief Executive Bridget Robb will tell an audience of MPs and social work professionals that money is not the answer to all of the current problems faced by local authority services and make a plea for both sides to work together.

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW), the Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee (JUCSWEC) and the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network have come together through a joint commitment to The Global Agenda and the importance of World Social Work Day to create a celebration event at Westminster to platform this year’s theme of “Promoting social and economic equalities”.

Ms Robb’s speech will say: “We are seeing the impact on families with inadequate money to feed their children, we are seeing the adults out of work with nothing to do, we are seeing the older people who are trapped in their own homes with inadequate heating.

“We are hearing communities saying, enough!

“We are seeing social workers across the world ground down by being expected to keep vulnerable people safe where there are inadequate systems to do so.

“It is no answer to pretend that throwing money at problems will solve them – we are not that naive. But the speed of shutting services and reducing benefits is having a major impact on social workers and the individuals and communities they serve.

“We are challenged to find new ways of working and new ways of living together. In celebrating social work across the world today, the Global Agenda invites us to develop a road map in each country to explore how we can do this together.”

World Social Work Day celebrations are also being held in Scotland and Northern Ireland today and tomorrow in Wales involving their political and professional leaders – and well as in universities and workplaces across the UK and across social media.

Writing in today’s Guardian, Bridget Robb also raises the notion that there could be a new statutory duty on social workers to promote the World Social Work Day theme of “Promoting social and economic equalities” by advocating on behalf of service users. “As more and more people who use and rely on services turn to legal action to seek adequate provision from local authorities, perhaps it is time for a statutory legal duty on social workers as advocates as part of a clear legal process, similar to that with mental health hearings” Ms Robb said.

Read the Guardian blog in full