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BASW membership renewals - Dr Ruth Allen's message to all members

Thank you for your continued membership and support of BASW over the past year and I hope that you will continue to be part of our growing and increasingly influential organisation.

Every member matters. We are on the cusp of reaching 21,000 members across the UK as our membership has risen by 13% in the last twelve months. I am very pleased to say this means we can hold our subscription rates for the fourth year running.

It also means we can keep improving our services to you – whatever your field of social work or your role – as we grow into the strong professional body for social work that is needed across the UK.

I am fortunate to have taken up my CEO role with BASW, in April, at an exciting and important time. I look back to a year of successes and progress, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities on the horizon. We are on our way to fulfilling our 2020 Vision to become the, “Strong, Independent Voice of Social Work and Social Workers” which we adopted in summer 2015. In October 2016 we will publish our first annual report of progress on achieving the 2020 Vision – and there is much to report.

Increasing membership, good leadership, unwavering commitment to social work ethics and increasing resources means our strategic impact – with governments across the UK, in the media, in education, policy and research – is growing. We have, for instance, a strong presence in Westminster through our full-time parliamentary officer (crucial for raising our concerns about the Children and Social Work Bill which is currently going through parliament). We also have a strong profile with all the governments of the UK through the work of our dedicated country teams. But we can only continue to have this impact with your support, because membership is the backbone of our Association.

In January 2016, we hosted the first multiagency, UK-wide Social Work Summit. This brought new impetus to our collaborations with a wide range of social work and service user organisations, and key individuals from education, practice, policy, activism, management, government and beyond. People who use services were at the heart of the event and our service user and carer involvement and co-production framework is something I am personally delighted we are progressing in 2016. We are also working with service user organisations and other partners to raise awareness and campaign against the impact of austerity, particularly on low-income households and people with disabilities. We look forward to developing our campaigning profile on key issues for social work, service users and families in the coming year.

BASW now has a clear leadership role as the host for interagency debate and we will be taking this forward in the coming year as we establish the Standing Conference for social work across the UK. This much-needed forum will be established as a broad alliance of all those with a concern about and stake in the development and standing of social work in our society.

Our 2020 Vision progress report will also describe many other achievements such as a stronger focus on excellence in practice through numerous practice guides, position statements, learning activities and member-led forums on excellence; widened opportunities for member involvement and platforms for debate and action through more local branches across the UK – from Jersey to Shetland;  growing involvement from students and newly qualified social workers; the launch of our All-Party Parliamentary Group for Social Work report on adult mental health; our contribution to the International Federation of Social Workers regional and global conferences and the launch of the International Development Fund which supports membership involvement in international social work issues.

We look forward to your continued support for the Association and to your contribution to the strength of our profession.