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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

Ahead of the BASW Annual General (members') Meeting and pre-event on 15 September, we are releasing weekly updates on our key priorities.

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.

BASW is enduring, creative, adaptive and determined. It can only able be so because of our amazing members’ involvement and commitment.

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


BASW responds to Government’s ‘New Plan for Immigration (May 2021)

The Police Bill: What is it, what's happened, and what can we do? (March 2021)

BASW and SWU oppose Part 4 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (June 2021)

#KeepTheLifeline: BASW UK joins campaign to stop cut to Universal Credit (August 2021)

BASW submits consultation response to DHSC as part of proposed Mental Health Act reforms (May 2021)

BASW letter to DHSC on Mental Health Act reform (April 2021)

A Vision For Social Work: Adults (February 2021)

BBC News - BASW England's Liz Howard speaks to BBC News about the future of adult social care

A Vision for Social Work: Children and Families (February 2021)

'A government gaslighting initiative with little merit': BASW comments on the Commission for Race and Ethnic Disparities Report (April 2021)


Review of Children's Social Care in England - View BASW England's dedicated web hub for updates (Jan 2021 - present)

BBC News - BASW England National Director, Maris Stratulis, talks about the Child Social Care Review following the increase in demand for child care services

BASW England response to 'Case for Change' report (August 2021)

Community Care - 'Social workers feel misrepresented by care review, BASW warns'

BASW Cymru consultation response:  Race Equality Action Plan (August 2021)

BASW Cymru: Response to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Bill (June 2021)

BASW NI Mental Health Strategy Consultation Response (March 2021)

BASW NI briefing to Health Committee on Health and Social Care Bill (April 2021)

Independent Review of Adult Social Care - SASW Position Statement (November 2020)

Black and minoritised ethnic social workers continue to experience racism at work, report from the Scottish Association of Social Work finds (July 2021)

Community Care - Scottish Government proposes National Social Work Agency