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End of year message from BASW Advice & Representation

Lien Watts, Head of BASW’s A&R Service and Assistant General Secretary at SWU, provides an update as the year comes to an end.

As we fast approach the Christmas break, I have been thinking back over the last year which has been extraordinary for everyone, not least for us, in BASW’s Advice and Representation team. We have been extremely busy and working with ever-shifting sands as advice and guidance changed on an almost daily basis!

Many of our members needed us this year more than ever, and my fantastic team dealt expertly with a lot of very frightened Social Workers from around the country. Even though it was a huge challenge for us, I’m so glad we were able to be there for them.

We have also learned different ways of operating. Having closed our offices very promptly at the beginning of March, we started using ‘virtual’ meetings straightaway and have become accomplished in their use, including, more recently for hearings, even those with the Regulatory Bodies. 

It has been a steep learning curve for us all, but generally, the feedback we have received from members has been very positive. We have also undertaken a number of webinars, which we hope have proved useful and informative in such difficult times.

As we move into 2021, we expect to continue to be very busy, as the Regulators start to clear their backlog of cases, and as employers work through workplace issues that they have ‘postponed’ whilst there were dealing with other priorities, all add to our workload. 

As well, sadly, as we hear of re-structuring and changes to terms and conditions as already cash-strapped Local Authorities try to deal with the cost of managing the pandemic in local communities.

So, there has never been a more important time to be a member of your Professional Association and your Trade Union and I hope you help us spread the word about the great work that the A&R Team does. It is vital that our colleagues join now, just in case they need us moving forward.

We are always proud of our profession, but never more so than in this most strange and astonishing year, when we know that so many of you ‘stepped up’ despite the fear and uncertainty. Well done all!

We wish you the very best for the Festive Season and hope that 2021 brings us all a much happier and healthier New Year - but whatever life (or work!) throws at you, please be assured we will continue to be there for you and will always do our very best for you.

Seasons Greetings,

Lien Watts

Head of BASW’s A&R Service

Assistant General Secretary, SWU