What we stand for: The independent voice of social work and social workers
BASW’s place in promoting the voice of social work and social workers in the UK is unique
BASW stands for the independent voice of social work and social workers. We are a professional body of our members, not fettered by political affiliation, institutional funding, business interests or charity laws.
We are guided by our UK Code of Ethics, research and evidence, our long experience in influencing policy, practice wisdom and the views and ideas of people with lived experience of social work services.
We enable our members to have a voice on key policy and political matters collectively and individually. We do this through consultations and surveys, enabling members to speak out in the press and media, and through representing members’ and the sectors views at significant events.
As an example, on 8 September 2021 BASW Chair Gerry Nosowska will give evidence - based on members’ views - to the Westminster Health and Social Care Select Committee, on the implications of the Health and Social Care Bill 2021 for social work and social care in England.
We regularly represent social work views and have increasing influence within the governing institutions of all four nations of the UK and this work is reflected in the links to recent statements, articles and consultation documents at the end of this article.
A diverse membership
As BASW membership grows, it is also diversifying in identities, characteristics, areas of work, stage of career and expectations of the association. When we say we are the independent voice of social work and social workers, we mean the diversity of UK social workers.
BASW needs to keep pace and adapt to a changing membership profile while remaining true to our core ethics, values and purpose.
Sometimes, member views are very divergent on areas of policy, practice or tactics for influence.
Consultation with the whole membership and within countries is essential so we have the material we need to create strong and influential contributions to policy and in the press and broadcast media.
Increasingly, we use social networking/media platforms to reach out to members and non-members. This is a powerful tool for connection and reach across many views, but it is not a substitute for consultation and careful professional debate and consideration.
We will react quickly to policy developments, but we will also take the time needed for professional responses. These are what raise the profile and influence of social work in the long run.
A leading voice
As the professional body for social work, BASW exists to shape and provide ethical leadership on policy and practice for the present and future of the profession, in the UK and the international scene.
BASW’s national and UK committees, member-led topic groups, communities of practice and UK Special Interest Groups are all vital in working with staff and BASW Council to shape policy positions and commentary. We take very seriously the range of views that members express – and take an evidence-based and ethics-driven approach to finding the common views and experiences that need to be voiced and shared.
BASW’s place in promoting the voice of social work and social workers in the UK is unique. It is one of very few organisations now working to continue learning and sharing experiences across all four nations of the UK. It embraces all social workers through every career stage – students, practitioners, social work leaders and managers, independents, academics and retired members of the profession. We celebrate the many ways in which social workers make a difference.
Examples of recent consultation responses, policy and position statements and press articles from BASW UK, BASW England, SASW, BASW Cymru and BASW NI include:
Please note this list is not exhaustive; it shows a snapshot of our work around policy and voice