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September Council – Plans, Campaigns and Inclusion

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

Council is the board of directors that oversees BASW. Council met on 16 September online.

This was our second full online Council meeting and we were joined by new members. Like many social workers, we are working as colleagues without having all met face-to-face. So it was our shared purpose and values, rather than shared cups of tea, that helped us to forge rapid relationships. Our new members are Julia Ross, Mandeep Gill, Hári Sewell, Lyndsey Young, Martin Sexton and Lewis Roberts.

This Council was the last of our 2019-20 financial year, and followed one day after our Annual General Meeting. We reviewed our annual plan. Despite Covid-19, BASW has achieved its goals for the year, including setting up the new Support Service and Employment Service. We reviewed our plan and budget for the year ahead, and our contingency planning for Covid-19 so that we can keep delivering all our services while looking after the staff team.

Following the Annual General Meeting we have 9 new motions to follow up on. Motions are proposals that members make which are voted on in the Meeting; if the majority votes for them, they come to Council for us to agree next steps.

Motions on anti-racism will inform the work of Policy, Ethics and Human Rights committee. We will work on education and support for social workers in two important areas. Firstly, to co-produce guidance on practice within our diverse Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. Secondly to develop capabilities and training on gender identity. We will continue to push for community alternatives to hospital care for people with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism. We will continue to challenge No Recourse to Public Funds through our anti-poverty campaign. Our four campaign areas (the others are Working Conditions, Relationship-based Social Work, and Ending Homelessness) will continue and will include more of a focus on anti-oppressive practice.

Council has three motions that we will take a lead on: the first is to identify with branches how we can better support them; the second is to work with the Social Workers’ Benevolent Trust to celebrate their 50th anniversary next year; and the third is to establish an appropriate memorial in the name of Terry Bamford.

In Council, we discussed our ongoing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work. BASW’s Advisory Group has identified priorities to work on, and our next steps as a Council are to develop transformation standards for our leadership, structures and activities.

As part of our inclusion work, Council agreed to extend easements for people taking on committee chair roles and to agree honorary payments for time attending Council meetings. This will reduce the financial impact of attending council and will enable more members to consider these roles. Council also looked at principles for making our language more inclusive, including not using jargon and acronyms, and avoiding assumptions.