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England report - May 2014


Increase in membership: England membership continues to increase – notably we have seen growth in student membership, members in full-time employment and those working independently. The annual growth equates to 20% from 1,652 in March 2013 to 2,088 in March 2014. We currently have 12,220 members in England. 

Social Work Manifesto: Thank you for your input and views on priority issues you would like included in BASW’s social work manifesto. We will let you know more details about this in due course and how you can lobby your MP and parliamentary candidates about the issues that are important to us as a profession.

Media: The England team staff and members have been busy this month responding to media requests, including BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio 5 live and Community Care where Nushra Mansuri was invited to participate on an expert panel in relation to live online discussions about the documentary ‘15.000 Kids and Counting’. The programmes were aired on Channel 4 on 3, 10 and 17 April. It was great to see such positive coverage of social work at peak time and this was matched by favourable responses from the public via social media with many expressing their admiration for what social workers do on behalf of society. Well done to Stockport for allowing the cameras in and sharing the complexity of issues that social workers deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Events: Sue Kent was invited to speak by Zoe Betts:Iamsocialwork at a London event together with the College of Social Work, Peter Beresford and Beverley Williams. It was great to see so many enthusiastic students keen to expand their learning at what turned out to be a stimulating evening.

Joe Godden and Peter Feldon, (member of the BASW social work with adult’s reference group and the BASW representative on the Skills for Care Board) attended the annual Skills for Care Conference. There were presentations by Norman Lamb and Lyn Romeo – notes from the conference have been posted on the BASW website. We look forward to having the opportunity to hear more of what Lyn Romeo has to say at the England Conference. The potential agenda from the Care Bill is very widespread, but two notable strong themes for social workers stand out: integration with health and the potential to outsource social work assessment. Both issues raise lots of concerns and we encourage members to let us know their views so the voice of social work can be heard when the guidance and regulation is developed.

Sue also ran a workshop on social work education at a well-attended annual SWAN conference. It was fantastic to hear so many social workers sharing their views and ideas for the future.

Nushra attended a seminar put on by the BASW Alcohol and other Drugs Special Interest Group entitled ‘Conversations about substance use: engaging families in social work practice’. It was led by Rhoda Emelyn-Jones and very much focused on social work being used as a tool to help build the capacity of families affected by substance use ­– unashamedly re-claiming social work and particularly relationship based social work.

Sir Michael Wilshaw’s comments about there being a greater focus on education in early years provision certainly courted a lot a of publicity and coincided with a BASPCAN conference in association with David Niven that took place in Bristol called ‘This is my childhood: there will be no other.’ The conference included contributions from Jane Evans (specialist in working therapeutically with children and families), Professor Lyn Macdonald (Middlesex University) who has pioneered evidenced based parenting programmes and Dame Tessa Jowell. A number of BASW members were present at this event and we are keen to develop a BASW network in Bristol so watch this space!

If you are interested in developing a BASW network/group in your area or would like to invite staff from the England team to a work based meeting or partnership event in your area we would like to hear from you. Please contact us at  

Research published on the role of IROS: April marked the launch of a report on the role of Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) in England as a result of a two-year study led by the National Children’s Bureau. BASW was involved with the advisory group throughout the research. The report suggests that there are significant variations in services across the country and makes a number of recommendations for improvement at a national and local level. download the report here

BASW England reference groups: Both the Mental Health and the Social Work with Adults reference groups met in March. The groups have been working hard to ensure the voice of social work and BASW is heard in a number of forums. We are particularly pleased to have been invited to be stakeholders in a number of Care Quality Commission (CQC) work streams. It is our experience that quite a few social care and social work partner organisations struggle to recruit social workers to their development projects and are really pleased that BASW is able to get practitioners involved. Just one example is the CQC Mental Health Expert Reference Group.

Consultations: A big thank you to members for your contributions to BASW England responses to Department for Education consultations. These were draft regulations and statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied and trafficked children and court orders relating to family law and adoption: getting it right, making it work.  Please go to the BASW website to read the responses in full.

Advance Notice for students and NQSWs: The annual student and NQSW conference will take place in autumn 2014. The last three years have produced very successful events, largely thanks to the involvement of NQSWs and students. If you want to get involved this year please get in touch.