Skip to main content

BASW Statement: Dr Ruth Allen to be next BASW Chief Executive

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) today announced that Dr Ruth Allen, currently Director of Social Work at South West London and St Georges' Mental Health NHS Trust, has accepted the role as BASW’s new Chief Executive. Ruth will start in post on 11 April 2016.

Ruth will be taking on the leadership of a growing organisation. BASW, which last year launched its ‘2020 Vision’ to be the strong, independent voice for social work and social workers, now benefits from a its highest ever membership of more than 19,000 social workers across the UK.

On accepting the post, Ruth commented: “I am honoured and delighted to have been chosen as BASW’s next Chief Executive. It will be a privilege to lead the Association and be part of developing and delivering the 2020 Vision. I am looking forward to continuing to grow the Association, building on our strengths and ensuring we develop and innovate to meet the needs and expectations of current and prospective members – and of the diverse social work settings and policy contexts in which they work. My professional roots are in supporting and developing excellent, values-led social work practice. Sustaining great social work requires a strong and confident profession. I am excited about being part of taking that to its next level through BASW.”

Ruth Allen succeeds Bridget Robb, who will retire at the end of April, stepping down at the BASW AGM. Bridget will continue in the role of General Secretary of the Social Workers Union until their AGM in June and also plans to move into independent social work practice. Her contribution to BASW has spanned 40 years – as a BASW member, as a member of staff, as its Development Manager and finally in the last three years as Chief Executive.

BASW UK Chair Guy Shennan endorsed Dr Allen’s appointment to the role: “Ruth was an outstanding candidate to become BASW’s new Chief Executive. Her time as Chair of The College of Social Work’s Mental Health Faculty combined with her varied experience as a practitioner and social work leader, her strong focus on social work practice including through her academic interests and her writing, and her strong adherence to our core values, make Ruth the perfect choice to lead the Association.”

Prior to her role as Director of Social Work at South West London and St Georges' Mental Health NHS Trust, Dr Allen served as the Head of Social Care for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust (2004 – 2007) and as Integration Manager for Tower Hamlets and the local Health Trust (2002 – 2004). Her career to date demonstrates values-based leadership in social work and social care with a commitment to transforming social work practice at both a national and local level.

Dr Allen’s ongoing dedication to social work practice has led her to co-chair the Practice Advisory Group to the Chief Social Worker for Adults (for the continuation of the work of the mental health and adults faculties of The College of Social Work), to chair the Social Care Strategic Network for Mental Health and to be the co-developer and facilitator for the Excellence in Social Work Leadership programme, alongside being a recognised author in social work and a practice development consultant.

Dr Allen holds a Master's degree in Social Work, with distinction, from the University of Sussex and a Professional Doctorate in Education, also awarded by the University of Sussex. She is also actively involved in current social work research through her research fellowship with St George’s University.