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BASW Statement: Social work unites to explore the future for the profession

BASW welcomes any government plans that will genuinely help in raising social work standards and is hosting a meeting of social work professionals, service users and other allied professionals on Thursday 21 January to examine the future of social work services. BASW launched its own 2020 Vision in June 2015.

Coming after Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s announcement on 14 January of “big and bold” changes the event couldn’t be more timely.

Commenting on the announcement, BASW Chief Executive Bridget Robb stated: “The announcement contained both old and new information. The proposals for the specialist regulator will be met with mixed reactions since it is not so long ago that the government closed such a body (the General Social Care Council) to transfer everyone to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The government recently closed another organisation – The College of Social Work.”

Ms Robb went on to observe that the constant changes of government supported structures do not help the profession and she hoped the four regulators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland would work closely together for the good of the public and the profession.

Ms. Robb continued, “At a time of massive change in the ways that services are delivered to the public and the challenges created by the cuts in public services, it seems a luxury to focus on the professional regulation and education structures yet again. – Of particular concern is the focus on Frontline and Step Up to Social Work and the inequity of funding between these and mainstream university courses.

“Some of these proposals will require changes to primary legislation, so we know this is going to be a long process but we look forward to facilitating the debate about the future delivery of our services and our professional structures both at our meeting on the 21st and in the months to come in order to ensure users of services, social workers, and academics can work effectively together.”

The changes outlined by the Education Secretary include:

  • The creation of a new regulatory body for social work to replace the current regulator the HCPC,
  • Funding of up to £20 million for a new ‘What Works Centre’ of best practice examples,
  • Changes to legislation to prioritise adoption as a permanence option for children in care, and
  • Expansion of the Step Up to Social Work and Frontline training schemes.

The government outlined this five year plan within, Children’s social care reform: a vision for change, which also includes proposals for children and families social workers to be assessed against the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families’ Knowledge and Skills Statement.

The social work summit will enable the profession to come together to assess its position on the proposed reforms, and their impact on social workers, academics and the profession as a whole. A joint statement is planned on behalf of the profession, post-event.

View the event programme

View presenter biographies

See all the photos from the day

See how the day unfolded on Twitter (#swfuture16)

Read BASW Chair Guy Shennan's blog post about the day 'Social work practitioners and service users at the summit'