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Chair's blog: September Council – Happy new year

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

The end of our activity year 18/19

Our activity year 18/19 ended in September and we were delighted to see what we had achieved to support and promote social work and our values, within budget, with risks managed.  This is thanks to the activity and commitment of many members, the effort and expertise of our staff, and the support of everyone who helps BASW to make a difference.  Being an association of over 21000 social workers makes it possible for us to influence policy, improve practice and campaign for a better society.

And so to 19-20

In Council we signed off the plan for the year ahead (discussed in my last Council blog. It is an ethical and thoughtful plan that builds on all the work so far.

For 2019-20 we agreed to continue with existing campaign: We will continue to make a difference tackling poverty and austerity through actions like our anti-poverty practice guide; we will improve the context for social workers including through working alongside social workers and employers to use the forthcoming working conditions toolkit,  we will promote relationship based practice including the 80/20 campaign in England. We have added another specific and vital campaign and we will join with others to fight homelessness. See our campaign page for more details.

Council had an update on planning our 50th Anniversary and Heritage Project that will run from June 2020 to June 2021. This will be a nationwide project centred around the history of social work and BASW, with our eyes also firmly on the future. It will share our past and also engage people in the future of social work. (If you are interested in getting involved, you can contact Gaby at heritage2020@basw.co.uk). Much more information will be available from November onwards.

And beyond!

We are currently consulting on our 2025 Vision. This is a chance for members, wider social workers and people with experience of social work to tell us what we should focus on in the years ahead. We are grateful for the views we have had so far which have been really interesting. These echo the priorities in our current plan but will also inform changes and priorities for the future.

It is clear we need to ensure we keep increasing understanding, recognition and influence of social work in society, politics and the media. This is important to social workers in practice, supporting people through tough challenges day to day.  I recently attended Coventry and Warwickshire branch. Members spoke up about the harsh realities and struggles that people they work with face. I also heard how social workers are combatting poverty, upholding rights and challenging abuse. When I asked about how BASW could make more difference, members asked us to enable more solidarity, pride in social work, support for diversity and radical change. They asked us to engage further with the big issues we face such as the climate crisis and human rights abuses.

We will keep doing all we can, and will listen to what you tell us about how we can do better. If you haven’t done so yet, please respond to the survey, and encourage other social workers and allies to do so too.