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BASW statement: Social work employers and TCSW membership

BASW is concerned that a number of social work employers in England, particularly but not exclusively local authorities, could be acting in contravention of the law in the way they are approaching the issue of social workers in their employment and membership of The College of Social Work (TCSW).

BASW made a series of freedom of information requests last year to all English local authorities, including one question that stated: Are all social workers required to join The College of Social Work as part of their employment with the Council?

A number of respondents stated or implied that membership was a required condition of employment, that social workers were automatically opted in or that there was an expectation on them to join TCSW. This is a concern to BASW, which has taken legal advice and understands that any provision that requires social workers to join TCSW would amount to an unlawful restraint of trade and, as such, is actionable.

Below is the letter sent to all local authorities in England last week. BASW urges all members to share details of this correspondence with managers and others as appropriate.

BASW also asks that any member who has a concern about this issue, or who has in any way felt pressure or been obliged to join TCSW by their employer, to get in touch in complete confidence to ensure we are aware of what is happening across the country.

Letter to local authorities in England

Email BASW with your experiences or concerns