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

As we get to the new membership year, I want to thank you for your continued involvement in BASW. Throughout 2016/17 we have made progress on our 2020 Vision to be the Strong, Independent Voice of Social Work and Social Workers. The continued growth of our influence on social work and wider society, and the ongoing development of the association is only possible through our strength in numbers. That means every member matters.

We know there are challenges for many social workers in practice right now, such as the impact of austerity on services and citizens, pay constraints and high workloads with fewer resources. We know also that many locums and independent social workers have been hit hard by the enforcement of IR35 tax legislation. We hope you will agree that BASW’s relevance and importance – providing a professional home, practical support, an effective campaigning voice, shared identity and common value base - has never been greater.

Year-on-year growth in the association shows how much social workers value their membership, especially in these uncertain times. As I write, a campaign to recruit even more members begins via social media: #membershipmatters. It is crucial that membership continues to rise further to fulfil our 2020 Vision. To that end, and to recognise your contribution to BASW, I hope you will take advantage of the following offer:

Introduce a new member to BASW and when they join up you will receive a 10% discount on your membership for the year. The new member will also receive a 10% discount for a year. For more details on our ‘Recruit a Friend’ offer, please visit the BASW website. I hope you will take up this offer by encouraging friend and colleague social workers to join and make BASW their professional home.

And remember – because BASW is recognised as the professional body for social work, you can claim tax relief on your membership subscription which may significantly reduce the cost to you. Simply ask your tax office for form P358 or completing the details in your tax return, if you do one.

The growth of the association means we can improve your benefits in two ways; we are holding the membership fee for the fifth year in a row while providing a wider range of services and member opportunities.

New and improved member services and opportunities in 2017/18

In response to the many of you who took part in our online survey and other activities to gather social workers’ views, I am very pleased to share here some of the new and improved member benefits we are offering in 2017/18.

  • The launch of Professional Development and Education (ProfDE): a new and much expanded programme of CPD and educational opportunities relevant to social workers at all stages of career and job roles. There will be free and substantially discounted events, courses and online learning for members. See the ProfDE page on BASW website from 15 September onwards for regular updates. Information will also be in Professional Social Work magazine, ebulletins and social media
  • A range of discounts from other high quality CPD providers, including continuing 20% off courses at the Tavistock and Portman.  Visit www.basw.co.uk/events for more details
  • A new, state of the art ‘mobile first’ website (launch January 2018) – an essential development for BASW and of great benefit to all members
  • A new online membership system for easier two-way communication between you and BASW, enabling us to tailor better the information we send you according to your interests, needs and wants
  • A range of retail discounts to be launched soon
  • Increased country-specific communications and campaigning capacity so you will receive more tailored communications from each country office
  • A larger and revamped Professional Social Work magazine with more investigative and incisive journalism
  • Worldwide indemnity cover at no extra cost. Please view our online insurance FAQs at www.basw.co.uk/login.php
  • Photo ID cards and encrypted email service for independent social workers
  • Improved help and business services for locum and independent social workers especially in dealing with IR35
  • A new Social Work CPD Provider ‘Accreditation Scheme’ enabling providers of learning and development for social workers to demonstrate the highest quality, ethics and values fit for the profession of the future (applications open November 2017)
  • More branch meetings and networking events across the UK, including active outreach to areas with less BASW presence and fewer meetings currently
  • Increased ‘Special Interest’ and other practice and policy groups focused on sub-specialities across the four nations providing involvement opportunities, practice guidance and sharing of expertise

These are just some of the exciting developments amongst which I hope you find things of great value to you as a social work professional. They will be rolled out throughout 2017/18.

Thanks again for your continued support and we look forward to serving you as a member in the coming year and beyond.