Threat of legal battle over College of Social Work name

Battle lines have been drawn over who has the legal right to use the “College of Social Work” name.

The British Association of Social Workers has revealed it registered the company name “College of Social Work” in February 2010, at around the time it announced a controversial referendum of members on how the college should be shaped and run.

Now BASW’s UK chair, Fran Fuller, has written to the co-chairs of the College of Social Work, Corinne May-Chahal and Maurice Bates, demanding that they “cease to use this title forthwith”.

Community Care understands the College of Social Work is taking legal advice over its name.

Explaining the move, BASW’s chief executive Hilton Dawson told Community Care: “Legally it is very clear; BASW – the College of Social Work is the only organisation able to use this name.”

Dawson said BASW had registered the company name in 2010 as a “sign of our commitment to making the college work”. The association then offered the name to the interim board of the College of Social Work, pending a successful merger.

But negotiations broke down towards the end of 2010, partly because the College of Social Work entered into a partnership agreement with Unison.

“Seems BASW are playing hardball,” said Grinch, a user of Community Care‘s forum, CareSpace.

Other CareSpace users pointed out that the two organisations have registered a variety of similar internet domain names, including the College of Social Work’s and BASW’s

As stated by JoSoPhine, the company name “College of Social Workers” was registered to the Social Care Institute of Excellence’s address in London on 24 November 2010 – nine months after BASW registered the “College of Social Work.”

She said: “It would seem like BASW planned ahead, particularly with domain names and Limited Company registrations.”

According to the Companies House website, any company that registers a name which is very similar in visible appearance or sound to an existing company name could be directed to change its name.

Community Care is still awaiting a comment from the College of Social Work.

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