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BASW Chair blog: July Council – what went on?

BASW Chair, Gerry Nosowska, reports back on the latest Council meeting

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about BASW Council. In the spirit of keeping members informed about what we are up to, I will be writing an update after each Council meeting.

Council met on 17th July in SASW headquarters in Edinburgh. As ever, we started off by reviewing the budget, business plan and risk register (still looking good). We then looked at the high level plan for 2019-20 (our financial year starts in October).

The plan starts by reiterating our vision to be the Strong, Independent Voice for Social Work and Social Workers. The main areas of work are: increasing membership; independent membership development; advice and representation; professional development; creating the 2025 Vision; and delivering the Heritage Project for our 50th Jubilee.

The essential enablers for this to happen are in the plan – supporting our staff, increasing diversity and inclusion, involving people with lived experience, and working sustainably. We will continue to improve our website and tech, our headquarters, and (therefore) our response to members. We will also build on our joint work with Social Workers Union.

Above all we want to increase our impact, not only through our services to members but also through our lobbying and campaigning. And we will show our impact better by having clear measures and regular reports to members on the difference we make.

The budget is tight for the range of activities that members want us to undertake, so we will keep on striving to prioritise. In our consultation to develop the 2025 Vision, we will be asking you about the most important areas to put our efforts into.

Next, we had the inspiring task of looking at the motions that you passed at the AGM and identifying next steps.

Homelessness will be a central theme for next year and we will work across the organisation to develop an overarching campaign around this. We will ask Policy, Ethics and Human Rights Committee to look at how to progress the No Recourse to Public Funds motion, and the National Standing Committees to write to their governments about leave for people who experience domestic violence.

Committees will be reminded that membership passed a motion that nominations for Queen’s Honours could be made. We reiterated the Association’s encouragement for local initiatives that promote the wellbeing of all groups supported by social work and social care services.

We will continue to grow and support local Branches and groups in order to enable grassroots activism. We will keep working on climate sustainability, including researching how we might become carbon neutral in the future.

And, in light of the emergency motion following exposure of abuse in Whorlton Hall, we heard from the Chief Executive about ongoing work around supporting people with learning disabilities and autism.

We also encourage Branches and groups to identify how they can support local efforts to develop community-based provision so we can move away from institutions.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy remains high on our agenda. We have recruited some consultancy advice, and Council’s initial priorities will be to set standards for inclusion in Council and to co-opt members to increase our diversity. We will update you on this work as it proceeds.

Other areas that we discussed in Council included: plans to increase support for Independents including setting up an Action Network, a review of how we support new Special Interest Groups and the initial planning for the UK Social Work Standing Conference.

This will bring social workers, people with lived experience and organisations together to build collaboration around supporting social workers, social work and social justice.

Next Council is 25th September in Birmingham and we are lucky that day to also have the chance to meet with BASW England ambassadors.

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