The British Association of Social Workers and the College of Social Work have announced an agreement over shared principles for a single college.
A statement from the College of Social Work, hosted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said a shared understanding of its “likely geographic reach” was also reached.
“More meetings have been agreed over the coming month to discuss a process of convergence to build one college,” it added.
BASW – the College of Social Work said the college should extend “across the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man”.
It added that the shared principles agreed for the college were that it should be social worker-led; strong and effective; providing a strong, authoritative voice for the profession; independent; and accountable.
Hilton Dawson, chief executive of BASW – the College of Social Work, said the two parties had now moved on from the disagreement over a joint membership deal between the Scie-hosted College and Unison, announced in November.
A timeline on BASW – the College of Social Work’s website said the association was “given one hour’s notice that an agreement has been reached between the College and Unison for the provision of trade union services”.
Asked whether the interim co-chairs made such an acknowledgement in yesterday’s meeting, Dawson told Community Care: “We’ve moved on from that point.”
He added: “We’ve had a full and frank exchange of views. We’ve had two positive meetings, at one we had a whole lot of issues that needed to be aired but now we’ve agreed on something of fundamental importance to BASW members and social workers across the UK.”
He explained that an agreement over extending the reach of the college across the UK was a “major step forward”.
“The [Scie-hosted] College has been set up on an England basis, that’s been part of the problem.”
Dawson added that there were many complex issues which still needed to be discussed but he described the tone of the discussions as “very positive”.
The agreement marks a first step towards resolving a hard-fought dispute between the two organisations.
BASW – the College of Social Work was launched by the association in January after it became disillusioned with talks about merging with the Scie-hosted College.
A spokesperson for the Scie-hosted College declined to comment further.
“It was agreed at the first meeting that both organisations will refrain from making any further statements (other than official joint statements) about the discussions in order to prevent any further confusion for social workers,” she said.
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