BASW barred from national college development group

Hilton Dawson

The British Association of Social Workers has been barred from attending meetings of the official national college development group until the outcome of its members’ referendum is known.

Allan Bowman, chair of the development group, said the ballot of BASW members over launching a separate college of social work represented “a clear conflict of interest”.

However, Bowman insisted the door was still open to BASW’s involvement in the group and the association would be kept informed of future discussions.

Earlier this month Bowman asked BASW to reconsider their position as a member of the group after announcing the intention to form a breakaway college.

However, the latest decision was reached following discussion with all other members of the group during a meeting in London today, attended by BASW’s chief executive Hilton Dawson and Bill McKitterick, a member of BASW’s council.

Bowman said: “Following discussions with the College of Social Work Development Group today, it was unanimously agreed that BASW should withdraw from the group for the period of the BASW referendum as it represents a clear conflict of interest.

“The group is, however, keen to work with BASW.”

Bowman added that BASW’s future participation in the group would depend on the results of the referendum and any decisions that BASW’s council takes based on those results.

“Should it be possible, the group is keen to involve BASW in the development of the college.”

The results of the ballot are due to be announced at the end of April.

A survey of BASW members, released today, showed 93% believed there should be a UK College of Social Work and 90% thought it should be led by the association.

Meanwhile the official college will be launched in April 2011, with an interim chair due to be appointed in June this year. The Social Work Task Force, of which BASW was a member, recommended setting up a national college to improve standards, influence policy and provide a national voice for the profession.

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