The British Association of Social Workers has been most effective
when it has been seen to concentrate on professional issues rather
than campaign on issues like poverty.
Malcolm Payne, professor of social work at Manchester Metropolitan
University, told the Social Work History Network conference that
surveys of social workers over the years show that BASW is viewed
as “distant, elitist and remote”.
While the organisation had had some successes – among them raising
the profile of social work – it had failed to distinguish social
work as a valued profession.
BASW’s policy influence had also varied, he said. While it had had
a major impact on the Children Act 1989, it had had little on the
NHS and Community Care Act 1991 and its output of policy papers and
press releases had fallen in the past 30 years.