BASW to discuss separate college with ministers

Government ministers have agreed to meet the British Association of Social Workers to discuss its proposals for a UK-wide college of social work.

BASW will put its arguments for a college separate to the one being developed under the social work reform programme for England to children’s secretary Ed Balls and health secretary Andy Burnham.

BASW’s council voted last month to ballot its 12,500 members on the proposals following concerns that the official college, which is expected to receive £5m in start-up funding from the government, would not be independent enough. Children’s minister Delyth Morgan has previously insisted the college would be “clearly independent of government”.

Another concern was that a college initially set up in England would exclude social workers in the rest of the UK.

Fran Fuller, acting chair of BASW, said: “I spoke to Ed Balls on Friday and am delighted that both Ed and Andy are keen to meet with us. We look forward to giving them a thorough demonstration of how a UK college of social work led by social workers can transform the status and standing of the profession.”

She added that BASW would be questioning ministers on whether the UK college could gain statutory powers.

BASW also confirmed it intends to retain its place on the government-supported college development group, despite being asked to step down by interim chair Allan Bowman.

Bill McKitterick, BASW’s lead member on the group, said: “BASW has worked hard on its proposals for a UK college and I am delighted that we will now be able to share all of our ideas with colleagues at the next meeting of the development group.” The next meeting is on 22 March.

BASW’s council is due to meet again on 28 April, where it will receive the results of the member referendum.

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