All social worker membership organisations should have a say in selecting the first interim leader of the national college, according to the British Association of Social Workers.
The development group for the national college of social work is now recruiting an interim chair, due to be appointed in June. The successful candidate will be chosen by a selection panel of six experts, headed by Moira Gibb, chair of the Social Work Reform Board.
The other panellists include trade unionists, employers and academics, but BASW chief executive Hilton Dawson wants the group to include more democratically elected social worker representatives in the selection process.
“There is no reason why the smaller social work membership organisations, such as Nagalro and the National Organisation for Practice Teaching, could not be asked to nominate someone to serve on the college development group,” Dawson said.
However, there is no indication that BASW itself plans to rejoin the college development group ahead of the association’s next council meeting on 28 April. The professional body was barred from the group in March after its decision to ballot members on launching a separate UK college.
Dawson said the smaller membership organisations should be given the power to ratify the choice of interim chair, making the college “accountable to social workers from the start”.
However, the Social Care Institute for Excellence, which is facilitating the college development group, suggested BASW’s ideas were unlikely to be taken up.
A spokesperson said: “BASW did not provide the development group with suggestions about which small organisations should join it. Therefore the development group is unable to invite them.”
The spokesperson added that five out of the six panel members were qualified social workers.
Meanwhile, Dawson continued to defend BASW’s decision to ballot its 12,500 members on whether to launch a UK college. The poll closes on 21 April.
When asked whether there was a risk the college debate would distract from improving conditions on the frontline, he replied: “I think it’s a mistake to say the college debate is separate from all of that.
“The college can transform the status and standing of the profession.”
He also confirmed it was likely that BASW would “dissolve” itself into a college of social work, as the college took on the roles and functions of a professional association.