BASW has been is developing an anti-poverty practice guide to support members in their work with service users living in poverty. This work builds on the principles enshrined in the BASW Code of Ethics and the ongoing campaign by BASW against austerity. The work is also collaboration with Professor Kate Morris and Calum Webb of the  Child Welfare Inequalities Project.

This guide is being written for social workers in their everyday practice, thus while it will address the causes and impact of poverty, it will be written in a form that can be ‘used’ by practitioners. It is intended to address the following questions:

  • What issues should social workers consider in their work with service users who are victims living in poverty?
  • In the face of diminishing services arising from austerity, how should social workers involve third sector organisations in statutory work?
  • How should social workers address the ethical and human rights issues arising from poverty?

As part of this work, BASW has held consultations with members across the UK to obtain their views about what information should be contained in the guide; how they will use the guide and how it can be designed to have maximum impact on their practice.

 To date five workshops have been held:

  • Cardiff – with BASW members
  • London – BASW members and social workers
  • Plymouth – social workers employed by Plymouth City Council and third sector organisations
  • Northern Ireland – BASW members, civil servants from the office of the Chief Social Worker, and academics
  • Cardiff – In this second workshop, BASW members were consulted on the definition of poverty that should be adopted in the guide

Next steps

In addition to the workshops above there are two planned. On 29 August 2018, there will be a workshop with service users who have experienced poverty to garner their views. This will be followed by another in Edinburgh on 10 September, 2018 and after this, the information from the consultations will be integrated to draft form the draft guide.

If you are a BASW member and would like to be involved in the consultation please contact Dr Godfred Boahen, Policy and Research Officer at