The end of a four-month feud between the two colleges of social work has been met with relief by the sector, but questions remain about how the organisations will resolve their differences.
Leaders of the College of Social Work and their counterparts at BASW – the College of Social Work announced last week that they will merge into a single, UK-wide organisation by January 2012.
The General Social Care Council praised the two bodies for calling a halt to their dispute, which stemmed from a disagreement over how a college should be structured and run.
“It is reassuring to know that the college of social work will be operational by January,” said GSCC chief executive Penny Thompson.
“Its role as the bastion of high standards in social work and champion of the profession will be crucial.”
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said the agreement, which is underpinned by a memorandum of understanding, would “set the college on the right track”.
However, at a session at Community Care Live after the announcement, delegates were sceptical about whether BASW and the College would set aside their differences.
The organisations have admitted there are still issues to be resolved, including the question of the college’s structure, business model, staffing arrangements and relationships with trade unions.
BASW reacted angrily when a joint membership deal between Unison and the College, supported by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, was announced last year.
A member of the audience asked: “What will be the relationship between the college and Unison?” Maurice Bates, interim co-chair of the College, replied: “You will have to wait and see.”
Unison has refused to comment on the possible future merger between BASW and the College, except to confirm it will be involved in talks to take forward a single college.
What happens next
● 26 May: BASW members will vote on the proposals at the association’s AGM in Birmingham.
● October: BASW members will vote on whether to close the association and transfer its assets and membership to the new, single college of social work.
● January 2012: The college will be launched
What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails