Two former chairs of the British Association of Social Workers, concerned at the threat to launch a breakaway UK college, are urging the professional body to return to the official development group.
A resolution calling on BASW to re-join the group facilitated by the Social Care Institute for Excellence will be raised at the association’s annual meeting on 20 May.
It will be proposed Terry Bamford, trustee of the Social Perspectives Network, and seconded by Ray Jones, professor of social work at Kingston University, both of whom have led BASW.
The resolution follows BASW’s announcement last month that it was balloting members over launching a “UK college” for the profession because of fears that the organisation being developed under the Social Work Reform Programme would not be independent enough.
BASW was then asked to leave the official college development group due to a conflict of interest.
The resolution says: “This AGM believes that social work organisations need to be united if the goal of a national college is to be achieved.
“It therefore instructs [BASW’s] council to seek to rejoin the college development group.”
It proposes that BASW should take a “leading role” within the development group and argue for:
• A college that is independent of government financial support by 2012.
• A college board, which is controlled by social workers but which includes other stakeholders from service user and carer groups.
• A college that actively pursues the extension of its remit to the whole of the UK.
The resolution will be considered alongside the proposal to form a separate UK college of social work at the AGM.
Two council members who resigned over the ballot, Ken Terry and Rupert Franklin-Lester, have signed the resolution.
Community Care understands a further 10-20 people, including senior social workers, consultants and academics, support it.
They include Tim Chittleburgh, who stepped aside as UK chair of BASW in December 2009 while it investigated a complaint made about his private business affairs.
Chittleburgh, who denies the allegations made against him, has declared his intention to return to his position as chair and run for re-election, with the college debate at the centre of his campaign.
“Moira [Gibb] is right when she says BASW needs to come back to the table,” he said. “Otherwise BASW will end up being outside the decision-making – and it’s decision-making about social work, so BASW should be there.”
A BASW spokesperson said: “The resolution tabled for the AGM regarding rejoining the national college development group is welcome and it will be a full and lively debate.
“BASW has two candidates for position of UK chair, Tim Chittleburgh and Fran Fuller, and we welcome the competition for this key role.”