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Chair's blog: Social work is a force for good

BASW Chair Gerry Nosowska's latest blog...

“I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other human beings.” (Maya Angelou)

Today the UK exits Europe, for which BASW has issued a comment, and this has led me to reflect on how our society and our world need understanding, kindness and sharing. 

The recent General Election showed the divisions across the country. We live in an age of great inequality, and globally there are many situations and challenges that drive people apart.

We became social workers because we saw social work as a way of improving people’s lives and building a better world. This is an aspiration that is made real every day through our ethics, practice and influence.

The British Association of Social Workers is instrumental in supporting social work to make a difference.

Social work is a force for good. It is greater than political, social or economic circumstances. It outlasts governments and it overcomes divisions. In BASW, we will do all we can to enable social work to fulfil its potential. 

We support social workers

BASW’s research with Bath Spa University  provided valuable evidence of the stress, barriers to direct work and demands that social workers experience. Also, of the vital importance of manager and peer support.

BASW provides an essential safety net of advice, guidance and representation, alongside the Social Workers Union. And we offer peer support through BASW groups, events and activities.

We continue to lobby government representatives for better working conditions across the UK . We are currently developing a tool kit to help employers to support social workers better.

We uphold ethical social work practice

Social work has a global code of ethics. BASW is the custodian for these ethics in the UK and creates ethical policy such as our human rights policy. We provide guidance around ethical issues. Recently we launched practice guides for Anti-Poverty Practice and for Human Rights – to help social workers develop ethical practice.

We speak up for social work

BASW has influence in parliament and in the media, and we lobby across the devolved nations of the UK. Social workers go to governments alongside our allies to speak up for better laws and policies. Branches and groups across the UK lobby, march and speak up on local issues.

We have UK-wide campaigns to challenge austerity policies and poverty, to combat homelessness and to build relationship-based social work.

Some activities that are coming up show our work in action:

•             On March 5th we are leading the UK Standing Conference on Social Work. This brings together people with lived experience of social work, practitioners and leaders to look at how we uphold social work ethics and social approaches when working with other agencies

•             On World Social Work day, March 17th, we will be holding events and visiting work places across the UK, supporting social workers and celebrating their work

•             In April, we are hosting the International Federation of Social Workers’ Europe meeting. This brings associations together to work across borders on issues like climate justice, migration, social workers’ safety and poverty. We will also host a conference on 23 April to support activism and international partnerships

•             On June 22-23 we are celebrating the start of our 50th year with our Annual Conference and Members’ meeting (AGM). Members can bring proposals (motions) to the meeting about what BASW should be working on. The conference will share great practice and what the future of social work should look like

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