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 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:
- 27th November 2018. Time: 2.00 ‘No Safeguards? No Liberty: Preparing MPs for the Mental Capacity Amendment Act Location: Room M, Portcullis House RSVP to Madeleine Jennings as spaces are limited.
- Help us get as many MPs as possible to attending by emailing/writing to your MP using this template.
- January 2019. Working Conditions: Introducing the Toolkit.
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:
- July 2018 – November 2018: Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill. View the latest BASW submission. You can help us campaign by sending a letter to your MP and asking them to attend the APPG on 27th November.
- June 2018: The Social Workers Regulations 2018. View BASW briefing.
- 1st May 2018: Domestic Abuse Bill. View BASW's response.
- 14th March 2018: Westminster Hall Debate – Foster Care. BASW submission coming soon.
- 13th March 2018: Westminster Hall Debate – The Contribution to Society of Social Workers. View the BASW submission.
- 1st March 2018: Green Paper on Transforming Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service. View BASW's response.
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.
On 18th December 2018 BASW England will be meeting with Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi to present the 80/20 Campaign.
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.
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.
For daily updates on BASW’s parliamentary work you can follow Madeleine Jennings on twitter and look out for her monthly column “Westminster View” in PSW.