BASW offers to work alongside college development group

The British Association of Social Workers has offered to work alongside the official development group for the college of social work in order to make “any college more potent and sustainable”.

BASW last month announced it was balloting members over launching a “UK college” for the profession due to fears that the college being developed under the Social Work Reform Programme would not be independent enough.

BASW was then asked to leave the official college development group, facilitated by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, due to a conflict of interest.

But the association insists it still wants to work with the college development group and has suggested members of the group could take on a “formal advisory role” to the UK college suggested by BASW. Staff working on behalf of the development group would also be seconded to support BASW’s efforts in setting up a UK college under its proposal.

Acting BASW chair Fran Fuller set out the offer in an open letter to Moira Gibb, chair of the Social Work Reform Board. Gibb said in an interview with Community Care last week that she found BASW’s proposals to form a separate college “puzzling”.

Fuller said in the letter: “BASW believes that the establishment of a college of social work represents a transforming moment when we can raise the status and standing of social work to give our profession the recognition it deserves.

“We acknowledge the progress made by the college development group (to which we contributed) to develop the role and functions of the college in ways which fit with our concerns about the limited recommendations which emerged from the Social Work Task Force.

“Nevertheless there is clearly ground for further work and no reason for us to part with you on these issues.”

Fuller said the college development group’s proposals were “fatally flawed” because they were not “firmly located within a social worker-led organisation from the start”.

“This will cause immense problems in establishing credibility with social workers who you need to join and pay membership fees to provide sustainability,” she said.

BASW’s proposals:

• Develop a joint working programme.

• The college development group takes on a formal advisory role to and supports recruitment to a college of social work across the UK (CSWUK).

• Members of the college development group nominate social workers for election to the CSWUK council on 20 May [the date of BASW’s next AGM].

• Staff currently working on developing a college under the reform programme are seconded to the CSWUK to work on development.

• Those membership organisations within the college development group consider becoming CSWUK associated organisations.

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