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Our 2020 Vision: An update on our vision and aims

BASW’s 2020 Vision is our commitment to develop the impact and effectiveness of the Association and to meet the expectations of our members, potential members and the wider social work and social care sector. This summary update of our activities in 2015/16 presents key highlights from the past year’s achievements and looks forward to our ambitions for next year, showing how our strong, independent presence is good for the profession, good for the quality of the services social workers provide and good for the citizens of the UK.

We are driven and inspired by the huge potential of social work to have greater impact for a better society and by the importance of creating a unified professional body. Our values and ethics have never been more important in socially and politically uncertain times and with so many fellow citizens and public services affected by long running austerity measures and reductions in public sector funding.

Social work and social workers need a high profile professional association that can raise our status and public standing, underpin and develop our professionalism, represent social work in the media and other public contexts and promote the best interests of all those with whom we work. With the closure of the College of Social Work (TCSW) for England in 2015 and BASW’s instigation of the 2016 Social Work Summit: Talking About the Future of Social Work, we have seen new opportunities arise for UK-wide representation of social workers and the formation of cross-organisational partnerships and alliances, including with people who use services and their carers and families. These relationships are a vital foundation for the future development of the Association and our impact.

We have seen a significant increase in members over the past year and we have ambitions to see that continue as we work towards achieving mass membership to ensure we have a strong, sustainable organisation. But development of the organisation means much more than increasing membership. It means a wide range of effective member-led activities, high quality professional guidance, robust research, events and learning activities, representation and campaigning and a strong presence in the media. The growth of specialist member-led expert groups (producing professional guidance and critique), member-led branches and member activism in campaigns and media work are combining not only to raise the confidence of BASW’s membership but also to increase the sense of ownership of BASW by the profession as a whole.

In 2017 we will launch our new Professional Development and Education (Prof DE) arm of the Association, which will provide a new and reinvigorated focus on supporting the continuing professional development and excellent practice of social workers from all parts of the profession and at all stages of their career. We will support social workers to meet national policy requirements whilst promoting professional approaches and ethical standards that are determined by the profession. As an independent organisation that is not reliant on government or other subsidy we can pursue best social work practice and the interests of social workers without political hindrance or dependency, while still working closely with and influencing policymakers and social work leaders in government and employing organisations.

With the widespread and increasing recognition of BASW’s credible UK-wide leadership and policy-shaping public role, we believe we are on our way to fulfilling our 2020 aspiration to be the essential professional membership body for all of social work. We hope you enjoy this summary and look forward to working with you on our ambitions for the coming year.