BASW defends rebranding of Scottish branch

The British Association of Social Workers has defended a decision to rebrand its Scottish branch in response to concerns that the new name adds confusion to the ongoing college of social work debate.

BASW announced on 31 January that BASW Scotland had been renamed the Scottish Association of Social Work (part of BASW).

But this has prompted complaints on Community Care’s forum, CareSpace, about the timing and clarity of the rebranding exercise, which comes less than two weeks after BASW relaunched as BASW –  the College of Social Work.

BASW relaunched as a rival to the “official” college already being developed under the government’s social work reform programme in England, partly because of a belief that a college of social work should be UK-wide.

“Now that there is a SASW, where does that leave the preferred option of a UK college?” asked one CareSpace user, Rupert M.

Another user, hound, said: “It seems like they are on a mission to confuse me.

“One of the primary criticisms they seemed to have with the [official] college was that it was England only.

“And in response to that BASW has well, they have seemingly broken up their own organisation, at least in terms of branding, and started to develop new plans, apparently, for the England only part of it.”

Responding to the comments, Ruth Stark, manager of the newly-named SASW, said the decision to rebrand was taken after “wide consultation” and because of the unique nature of social work in Scotland.

She wrote on CareSpace: “The issue of a college of social work should not be confused with how we in Scotland are developing support for our members.

“BASW Scotland has been metamorphing [sic] into the Scottish Association of Social Work but still remains part of BASW – the College of Social Work.”

Stark went on to admit that BASW was in “uncharted waters” when it came to establishing a UK-wide college of social work because, politically, social work is a devolved issue.

The official college has previously said that, while it will initially cover England, it will seek to establish itself in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, should this be desired in each of those devolved administrations.

“We are still keen to work with the devolved administrations with a view to rolling out our services and working in these countries in the future,” it said in a statement on its website.

What do you think of BASW’s rebranding exercise? Join the debate on CareSpace

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