The Parliament at Westminster is responsible for UK-wide legislation and policy which has a direct effect on social work practice across the UK; areas include Austerity policies, Universal Credit, and Asylum and Immigration. Westminster is also responsible for social work specific legislation and policy in England (social work legislation and policy is devolved for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales).

BASW seeks to influence the government, political parties and politicians in the interests of social work and social workers.  

BASW seeks to achieve this goal through six main routes:

  • The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Work
  • Select committees
  • The legislative process
  • Meetings with ministers and shadow ministers
  • Informing political parties
  • Meetings with individual MPs

BASW has a full-time Public and Political Affairs Officer based in Westminster. You can contact Madeleine Jennings here.

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Work

The APPG is chaired by Alex Cunningham MP. Former chairs include Shadow Children’s Minister Emma Lewell-Buck MP and officers are drawn from across all parties.

Meetings of the APPG are held every two months. All APPG meetings are open to the public (and thus all BASW members) and are held in Westminster. Please let Maddie know if you wish to come: space can be limited and room notifications change at short notice. Allow time to clear security if you plan to attend.

Planned APPGs include:

  • 11th September 2018. Time: 2.00 ‘Stand and Deliver’ - Presentations and discussion on the reality and risks of new delivery models for social work services.
  • November 2018. ‘Mental Capacity and Social Work’
  • January 2019. ‘The work of Approved Mental Health Professionals’

Select Committees

Select Committees, made-up of backbench MPs, scrutinise Government legislation and its impact, the key ones for BASW are the Education, Health, Housing Communities & Local Government and Public Accounts Committees.  Members of these committees can issue a call for evidence, question experts, debate an issue and produce a report. Where relevant BASW submits evidence and takes part in Select Committee hearings.

Currently BASW is asking the Housing Communities and Local Government Committee to conduct an inquiry into the working conditions of social workers as part of BASW & SWU’s ongoing Working Conditions campaign.

The Legislative Process

BASW scrutinises all relevant legislation as it goes through parliament and seeks to influence relevant legislation.

Current legislative issues:

Meeting with Ministers and Shadow Ministers

BASW regularly meets with relevant Government Ministers and with Shadow Ministers to inform, to promote dialogue and to argue a case. Meetings with Government Ministers are often difficult to secure so these are opportunities that must be used for maximum effect.

Informing Political Parties

An effective mechanism for influencing MPs and political parties is through the annual party-political conferences. In 2018 BASW co-hosted two panel discussions at the Labour and Conservative conferences. Decisions on events are based on which interventions are likely to be most effective, partnerships and cost.

Labour:

Sunday 23rd September with the Alcohol and Families Alliance (4pm – Liverpool ACC Concourse Room 1)

Families First: Protecting Families from Alcohol Related Harm

Tuesday 25th September with the Children’s Society (12:30pm – Liverpool ACC Youthzone)

Crumbling Futures: Why vulnerable 16 and 17-year olds need more support as they move into adulthood.

Conservative:

Sunday 30th September with the Alcohol and Families Alliance (3:45pm – Birmingham ICC Executive Room 8)

Families First: Protecting Families from Alcohol Related Harm

Tuesday 2nd September with the Children’s Society (12:30pm – Birmingham ICC Youthzone)

Crumbling Futures: Why vulnerable 16 and 17-year olds need more support as they move into adulthood.

Meetings with individual MPs.

A great deal of work-related activity at Parliament (like in any workplace) is carried out informally, which is why BASW has the Public and Political Affairs Officer based in Westminster. This results in frequent conversations with individual MPs. Constituency matters (i.e. issues that relate solely to the Parliamentary constituency of the MP) are best handled by BASW members meeting directly with their MP in Parliament or in the constituency. If you would like a meeting with your MP about a social work issue Madeleine can advise on how to make your case.  

Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers

BASW is a member of the Alliance for Children in Care and Care Leavers, a coalition of forty charities and associations who work together to campaign on issues that are specific to children in care and care leavers. Madeleine, BASW’s Public & Political Affairs Officer is currently the co-chair of the Alliance which meets on a quarterly basis (link: https://www.tactcare.org.uk/about-us/policy-and-campaigning/campaigning-for-children-in-care/alliance-children-care/ this is about to change as Fostering Network will now host the page and details will be updated)

For daily updates on BASW’s parliamentary work you can follow Madeleine Jennings on twitter (link to @MaddieJPIP ) and look out for her monthly column “Westminster View” in PSW.