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BASW England Country Update March 2015

BASW England Country Update

BASW England membership

BASW England membership continues to grow; we currently have 13,721 members and BASW’s overall membership stands at 17,016. This is a fantastic achievement and a direct result of the hard work and dedication of members and staff throughout the Association. As you know BASW does not receive any grants direct from the DfE or DoH.

BASW membership is growing because you are choosing BASW to represent your views and the profession of social work – no strings attached!      

A call to employers – please support your staff to attend the IFSW European Conference

The IFSW European Conference is taking place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre from the 6-9 September 2015. This is an exciting opportunity for all of us to meet with others from across Europe and share our experience of social work practice. 

Chief Social Worker’s MCA Seminar – Friday 13 March 2015 in London

Message from Chief Social Worker for Adults: “The purpose of the seminar is two-fold. First, I feel it will be valuable to share learning, best practice, and concerns/ challenges face-to-face. Second, I believe it will be valuable to share directly some of the recent MCA developments (including tools and guidance) and discuss how we can use these to instigate local collaborations and improvements in application of the Act. I would welcome attendance from anyone with an interest in the Act – from all professional groups, especially the NHS.”

If you would like to attend this event please email: chiefsocialworkerforadults@dh.gsi.gov.uk

Social work education and bursaries

The BASW England Professional Development Reference Group have forwarded two responses relating to social work education; the first raising our concerns about the proposal to cut social work training bursaries, and the second on the proposed teaching partnerships (the documents are available on our website: http://www.basw.co.uk/resource/?id=953)

Media profile

The team have been busy with radio and TV appearances commenting on the complexities of safeguarding and court proceedings work, the retention and recruitment of social workers, and the diversity of recruitment strategies being adopted by employers.

Media opportunities have enabled BASW to support frontline social work staff and the WhiteFlowers Campaign. We shared the platform on Sky News with Simon Danczuk who agreed with our position on pressing for adequate social work recourses and multi professional work. In the week that Louise Casey’s report on Rotherham was published Nushra took part in a live current affairs radio programme. She spoke extensively about the report in the context of whistle blowing; this is a strong theme of both the historical child sexual abuse inquiry and the more recent ones that address child sexual exploitation.

And shocked once again by the media’s portrayal of a social worker we raised issues about the storyline within the BBC drama, Silent Witness. Our views can be found on the BASW website and with Community Care – it promoted a lively discussion from different angles.

The Ambassador Scheme is now in place and we look forward to receiving more applications soon. Three members have been approved and have started in this role.

Care Act 2014

We are weeks away from the introduction of the Care Act and we are interested in knowing how prepared BASW members feel for this monumental piece of legislation. Anecdotally we hear that some employers are doing much more to prepare their staff than others. This was confirmed at the first of our seminars on the Care Act led by BASW member Pete Feldon.

Concerns that participants raised included:

  • Fear about how the demand for assessments will be met,
  • The national eligibility criteria and how this will be interpreted at a local level,
  • The lack of community-based resources to meet need, and
  • Whether the expertise and knowledge of social workers will be used appropriately.

Some good learning materials are being developed by SCIE, however it was evident from the seminar that in-depth discussion about the materials and what the Act means in practice are very necessary. There is still statutory guidance yet to be released on parts of the Act, for example guidance on the capping of care costs and also appeals, and we will be critiquing these. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how well prepared you are for the implementation of this Act.

Mentoring.

We have had a lot of interest in our BASW England mentors from NQSWs and others struggling to get work. With the help and support of our mentors some mentees are finding employment.

One mentee recently wrote: “Following the interview I am pleased to say I got the job within the safeguarding and assessment team as a NQSW. I want to take this opportunity to thank you for all your valuable advice, some of what was mentioned within the hand outs included really did help. :-) So thank you.”

If you are interested in being a mentor please contact Joe Godden.

BASW England engagement with HCPC research relating to regulated professions

‘Preventing small problems from becoming big problems in health and care’. We would encourage employers, members, unions and professional bodies to read this report and to explore implementation strategies to enable professionals to feel valued, supported and adopt a ‘no blame culture’.

Branches and networks

Our meeting in Ipswich supported by the University Campus Suffolk and in partnership with The Centre of Social Work Practice was well attended with members, prospective members and academics. All heard about BASW’s growth and the multiple benefits of joining the Association.

We are currently holding very exciting discussions with keen local members on the potential to create a branch in the region.

BASW branches and networks continue to be busy; Derby Branch is planning their next series of seminars and has recruited new members to their committee. Black Country Branch is holding a hustings event – please see below.  

Politicians face grilling from social workers on the future of services

Representatives from five political parties are to be quizzed on their policies by the region’s social workers. The Black Country Branch of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is hosting a hustings event at Wolverhampton University on Thursday, 19 February. This is a free event and all are welcome to attend.

In a time of cuts and huge demand for social work services, the focus of the debate will be the Future of Social Work over the next five years. 

BASW chief executive Bridget Robb will chair the event. Speakers include:

  • Lee Dargue, Liberal Democrat candidate at for Birmingham Edgbaston. Lee is a social affairs spokesman with a special interest in mental health issues
  • Rob Marris, Labour candidate for Wolverhampton South West.  Rob is a solicitor who was MP for Wolverhampton South West until 2010
  • James Burn, Green Party councillor in Solihull. James is a practicing social worker and opposition spokesperson on Health and wellbeing
  • Darren Henry, Conservative candidate for Wolverhampton North East
  • Dave Everett, UKIP candidate for Wolverhampton South West

Julian Levitt, chair of the Black Country branch of the British Association of Social Workers said: “This is a particularly important time for social work, social workers and entire communities. In this time of austerity, the impact on income, housing and the wellbeing of those less able to manage has been considerable. The hustings will give political representatives an opportunity to explain their perception of future plans and the impact on social workers and the people we serve.”

Calls for evidence – share your views on social work and primary care.

We want to hear your views about the important contribution social work can make as part of an effective whole person approach within integrated primary care and support the achievement of best outcomes for people. 

For further information please contact: joe.godden@basw.co.uk

Share your stories

Are you interested in sharing your story and experiences of being a social worker? The Northern Writers’ Centre and University of Newcastle are going to publish an anthology of fictional short stories, which will be written by well-known UK writers.

If you are interested please contact researcher, Viccy Adams: vsadams@gmail.com