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Update from BASW Council – February 2021

BASW chair Gerry Nosowska provides an update

Update from BASW Council – February 2021

Council – BASW UK’s board of directors – had our quarterly meeting on 3 February.

Being on Council is a privilege because of the people that you work with, the difference you can make and the chance to do something really ethical.

It also, with the best efforts of the Chair, involves some dry figures, spreadsheets and procedures. The important thing is to remember why these matter and how they support our Vision for social work, social workers and a better society.

I will try and make that link in this short update about our last meeting.

We started with a Trustees’ meeting for the BASW charitable trust (all Council members are also Trustees). This trust allows BASW to deliver not-for-profit activities, principally through our Professional Development and Education activity. This has evolved rapidly during Covid to give more opportunities for social workers to gain confidence and expertise, for example through our webinars, new podcasts, increased research activity and heritage activity including open access articles from the British Journal of Social Work. There is more impact that the Trust could have in the future and we will return to this in a future meeting. 

We looked at the final accounts for last year, the audit report and the planned sums for 2020-21. A clean audit and the highest membership figures we have ever had, enabled us to consider how we can invest in more staff capacity, more infrastructure and more services, whilst still having contingency for the unexpected.

Council signed off priorities for Equality Diversity and Inclusion for the next six months, based on recommendations from the Advisory Group. These include better understanding of who are members are, more diverse leadership, anti-oppressive practice resources, and more inclusive activities. To help us with this work, we have recruited additional staff.

We signed off a number of policies that will help us live our values. The international Code of Ethics has just been updated and we signed off some revisions to BASW’s Code as a result. We also signed off principles for how we can use inclusive language, which will inform our website development. We made a commitment in November to take into account learning from the Equality and Human Rights Commission report into antisemitism in the Labour Party. We have included initial actions in our Equality Diversity and Inclusion plan around gathering data about complaints and reviewing our complaints and conduct process.

As ever in Council, we try to look to the future as well as the present. We know that, when we emerge from Covid, there will need to be a time of recovery for staff and members, as well as a plan to blend former ways of working with new developments. Our 2025 Vision will guide BASW, and our Vision for Social Work, published on 12 February, will guide our calls for developments in social work across the UK.

Council acknowledges that we are starting the path to our organisation’s 2025 Vision at a strikingly difficult time for social work. Following Council, on Monday 8 February, we paused to recognise loss during this pandemic. We will remember this again on World Social Work Day on 16 March. We are also planning how we can ensure permanent recognition of social workers’ contribution and experiences during Covid, including remembrance of colleagues we have lost. And how best to honour the legacy of social workers in the pandemic through our social justice work.

In this and all we do, we will keep members at the heart of our efforts.