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Chair's blog: 'Reflecting on my last BASW Council meeting'

Our chair, Gerry Nosowska, provides members with an overview of the most recent - and her last - BASW Council meeting

As the independent voice of social work, BASW is governed by our Council - a board of directors who are all BASW members and social workers.

A few weeks ago was my final Council meeting – the twentieth that I have chaired. I am going to really miss it.

Over the four years, I have worked with an amazing group of council members from across the UK. I feel very fortunate to have spent time with social workers with such diverse professional and lived experience - and to see the passion everyone brings to our professional association. 

We have strived to increase the visibility of Council and to strengthen its practice voice - and this is reflected in the breadth and depth of our discussions. BASW Council makes some really tough decisions. For example, at this meeting we were reviewing the draft budget for next year, in light of the pressure from the cost of living crisis. This required careful discussion about what we can do differently to give the most to members and balance the books.

Gerry Nosowska, BASW chair

It is so important to be able to talk about difficult matters with people who have a shared commitment to social work and social workers. 

I will miss being at the heart of how things are progressing and growing in BASW. At this most recent meeting, we agreed two standards for the involvement of Experts by Experience:

  • By the end of 2022, we will have a UK-wide Experts by Experience Forum to advise Council
  • From January 2023 we will have Expert by Experience Representatives on Council.

We have been working on this area with Experts by Experience for the last year, building on the excellent work across the nations and committees, so it is wonderful to get to this point. 

We also had an update on the excellent work by the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, which has been in place for two years now. They are developing safe spaces for discussion and peer support, along with work to gather and understand our data. 

We talked about the feedback we will give to members at the Annual General Meeting on motions from last year, as well as looking ahead to the motions coming in this year. 
Council is determined to enable member voice and discussion - and to respond to what is raised.

We discussed how we can better enable members to put forward clear motions, as well as how we can respond to the wider issues that motions raise. This led to us committing to providing better information for members about how we welcome and respond to feedback.

We also had the pleasure of ratifying our newest Branch – Norfolk. Welcome!

'I recommend to anyone who wants to make a difference – put yourself forward for Council'

When I started as Chair, I wanted to increase practice voice, respond to the impact of the context on social workers, and improve how we worked with people with lived experience. Through Council, I have seen these areas develop and I recommend to anyone who wants to make a difference – put yourself forward for Council. Your only regret will be leaving.