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With cuts deepening and the impact of austerity biting, your role to make a difference becomes even more important

Andy Gill, BASW England Chair reflects on a year of progress and looks forward to opportunities for 2018.

Six months ago, I was elected Chair of the BASW England Committee.  It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege and I want to thank everyone who has supported me, particularly Maris Stratulis (BASW England Manager) and Angie Bartoli (Deputy Chair). 

Together we have worked collaboratively with the Committee and members to focus on the things that matter to social workers on the ground. 

We identified a few key priorities that we can deliver, this included looking at how we creatively reach out to listen, recruit and retain more members as the professional body for social work.

Angie and I met with Isabelle Trowler (Chief Social Worker) to discuss areas of mutual interest, including social work regulation and practice development. 

We supported the BASW ‘Boot Out Austerity’ campaign, which recently launched an excellent action pack.  

Judith Grant from the Social Work Reform Unit spoke at a recent committee meeting on better engagement with BASW members, particularly around how we integrate the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) with the governments Knowledge and Skills Statements (KSS). 

Thanks to all members who attended the recent round table discussions on the KSS. 

I would like to acknowledge the great work that members do for the profession through the sub-groups of BASW England, without your efforts we significantly diminish our influence.

This year social work had to step up to help deal with the aftermath of shocking terrorist attacks, including those in Manchester and London and tragedies such as the dreadful fire at Grenfell.  There were many stories of social workers going the extra mile to make a difference.

Maris Stratulis (BASW England Manager) was a media star when she appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire Show to highlight how social workers make a difference to young people in care and just a few weeks ago we had the England Social Worker of the Year Awards 2017, where we were pleased to welcome the Minister of State.

So, what are some of the opportunities for BASW England in 2018?

Firstly, we are discussing a new campaign to shift the focus of social work away from form filling, to having more time for direct work with children and adults.

Secondly, we need to work harder at understanding our membership and to ensure we are properly representing them and offering the services they want; linked to this we want to develop further the excellent work of BASW branches.

We welcome your views and suggestions about the above and please do not hesitate to email me at .

My old boss said, ‘Being a social worker is a real privilege, where you have a genuine opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives’. 

This is a thought that I ask you all to hang onto going into 2018, with cuts deepening and the impact of austerity biting, your role to make a difference becomes even more important. 

Our role within BASW is to fight for excellent social work practice and to support you in the important work you do everyday!

Angie and myself would like to wish you and your families a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.