College delays plans for fully elected board and assembly

The College of Social Work says the majority of its board posts will not be elected until 2016

Photo: London News Pictures/Rex Features

The College of Social Work will fail to meet a pledge to set up a fully elected board and professional assembly by next year.

The governance structure section of the College’s website says “we will have a fully elected Board and Professional Assembly by early 2013.”

But in announcing plans for early 2013 elections the College has revealed just four out of eight social worker posts will be elected to the 12 strong board.

Unelected members of the newly created board will include its chair Jo Cleary, executive director of adults and community services at Lambeth Council, current co-chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and a member of the College’s transition board, and a treasurer, who is to be appointed by the board.

The board’s four lay members will also not be elected. Instead they will be recruited “via an open process” overseen by the College’s nominations committee in March and April.

Latest College documents stress that the majority of board posts will be elected by 2016.

Over the next three years three unelected social worker post holders on the board will step down and be replaced with an elected member. This will take the number of elected board members to seven, but still five short of the promise of a fully elected board.

Membership of the 28-strong professional assembly will include just nine elected places in 2013. Six for social workers and managers currently in practice as part of elections in early 2013 and three more in autumn 2013, when elections take place for TCSW’s three faculty chairs who have automatic assembly membership.

Other unelected members of the permanent professional assembly will include its chair Maurice Bates, currently the College’s interim co-chair, and two student representatives.

An annual rolling programme of elections to increase the elected member quota on the professional assembly will also be carried out over the next three years.

A College spokeswoman said: “At this stage we anticipate having nine elected members of the professional assembly by 2014, 12 by 2015 and 14 in 2016.”

She added that the move to a transitional process of elections was to “maintain continuity and stability.”

She said: “After very careful consideration and legal advice, we have decided on a three year transitional process, after which almost all of the social work members of the board and the professional assembly will be elected.  Until that time an increasing proportion will be elected, but some others will remain as appointees from the existing transitional board.” 

TCSW has confirmed that Cleary has been appointed as board chair for the next three years and Bates as professional assembly chair for a year. After their terms end elections will take place.

Online voting for elected board and assembly posts takes place between February 11 and 25. Applications to stand for election open on January 7 and close on January 28.

The College’s board oversees its policy and strategy, appoints a chief executive and monitors its performance. The professional assembly’s focus includes raising professional standards, lobbying, membership issues and reform of social work.

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