The British Association of Social Workers has called for a national college of social work to boost the status of the profession and raise workforce standards.
The proposal was aired for the first time at BASW’s annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, where Hilton Dawson formally took up his post as the new chief executive.
One of the first priorities of the college would be to create an integrated career structure, clearly linking pay to skills, experience and qualifications. It would also aim to improve post-qualifying training.
Dawson (right) told Community Care he hoped the organisation would initiate “a fundamental transformation of our profession”.
Raising the status of social work
“This will really raise the status and standing of our profession to that enjoyed by people in the legal profession, in the medical profession, in other important areas of life.”
Dawson said the college would be led by social workers, putting the development of the profession “into their own hands”.
Dawson: “Let’s reclaim social work”
In a speech to the conference, the former MP and qualified social worker lamented the decline of the profession in recent years, before issuing a rallying call for members to reclaim it for themselves.
“We have allowed others to define social work for us. We have allowed crucial social work roles to be taken from us. It’s now time for social work to take social work back and to take it forward.”
BASW will submit the college proposal to the Social Work Taskforce, and is seeking partnerships with other organisations.
The news comes shortly after the National Skills Academy for Social Care, due to be launched in October with government funding, outlined plans to improve recruitment, training and leadership in adult services in England.
Do we need a national college of social work? Discuss on Carespace
Centre of excellence for adult social care due to launch in 2009
British Association of Social Workers
National Skills Academy for Social Care