BASW Chair blog: Gerry Nosowska
BASW Chair, Gerry Nosowska, reports back on the 2019 AGM
The 2019 AGM was held on midsummer day in Belfast. And, for me, it was an example of involvement, integrity and inspiration.
Members attended, sent in proxy votes, and contributed to motions being brought by colleagues.
We had five motions and two emergency motions that were debated and discussed by members. It was a delight to see a student social worker from Worcestershire Branch propose a motion, to hear proposers and seconders who had never spoken at an AGM before, and to witness the diversity of members coming to the podium.
It was an opportunity for me to thank all members – every one of you contributes to BASW’s work to enable good social work, support social workers and strive for social justice. And to thank the committees, branches and all the groups who make our work possible. Also to recognise our allies, especially people with lived experience who enable us to understand more and do better.
Reports from the Chief Executive and Treasurer highlighted the way your membership money has been used to deliver support and learning for social workers, to lobby and campaign for change, and to invest in BASW’s next 50 years. The Annual Report is full of examples across the UK of influence and impact – for example: action against austerity and homelessness in Wales; work on social work in disasters in England; research on Social Work through the Troubles in Northern Ireland; professional development on The Social work Role in Domestic Abuse in Scotland; and World Social Work day celebrations across the UK.
The Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust shared how members’ support enabled them to offer help to social workers with financial struggles and nowhere to turn. And the Educational Trust highlighted our help for social workers to undertake learning they couldn’t otherwise have done.
Above all, the motions passed at the AGM demonstrate the integrity of members – we voted to: work to end homelessness; campaign to support people with no recourse to public funds; press for legislation to enable paid leave for people facing domestic violence; enable recognition of social work through nominations for Queen’s Honours; encourage initiatives to build inclusive communities; work for an end to potentially abusive institutional places for people with learning disabilities and/or autism; and affirm our commitment to sustainable development in the face of the climate emergency.
The AGM was an inspiration because it showed the commitment of BASW members to social justice, and our belief that social work can create a better world. I finished the AGM enthused by all that we can build on and all that we can achieve in the future.
Next year is BASW’s 50th anniversary. Political, social and economic change are all around us but BASW remains as a constant force for good. Over the next six months we will be developing our 2025 Vision – our aspirations for the next five years. Look out for our consultation and tell us how you want social work to be, how social workers should be supported, and what kind of society we should strive for.