BASW to support social workers who take accreditation tests

Association and Social Workers Union 'ready to support and advise' workers participating in government scheme

Photo: tashatuvango/fotolia

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has offered to support social workers who opt to take part in the government’s pilot of accreditation, which is under way at five councils as of this month.

A joint statement issued today from BASW chair Ruth Allen and John McGowan, the general secretary of the affiliated Social Workers Union (SWU), committed to offering “support and advice” to practitioners who choose to participate in the controversial National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS).

But it added that social workers must not face “undue pressure” to take part in the social work accreditation programme.

Difference of opinion

The approach contrasts with that of Unison, which is discouraging members from involvement in NAAS. At present, taking part is voluntary. The union argues that the programme will heap more pressure on social workers and potentially create a two-tier workforce.

The BASW/SWU statement acknowledged the deep unpopularity of NAAS as originally proposed. But it also pointed to the scaling back of its implementation – in the light of concerns from sector bodies – as mitigating some of its flaws.

Initially, the government had planned to have all 30,000 frontline children’s social workers complete accreditation by 2020. Now, just a small fraction of that number are expected to do so.

“Our view is that social workers should make up their own minds about participating and we will support and advise them whatever their decision,” the statement said.

“BASW and SWU support the ongoing development of good practice – social workers need ongoing access to educationally-sound learning, development and professional opportunities that are both challenging and supportive,” it added. “We need to cherish motivated, skilled social workers and maintain the morale, confidence and skill levels of whose who challenge society’s injustices and provide support to people in need day after day.”

‘No distraction’

The NAAS programme must not be allowed to distract from the structural issues facing children’s social work, the statement from BASW and the SWU said.

“A massive deficit in children’s social care funding, predicted to be at least £2 billion by 2020 according to the Local Government Association and Association of Directors of Children’s Services, needs to be addressed,” it said. “No skills-testing regime can bring about wholesale improvement in the experience of children and families while these widely-acknowledged gaps in resources get worse.”

Editor’s note: The headline and first line of this story was edited on 25/07 to better reflect BASW and SWU’s intentions to support participants of the scheme, rather than the overall scheme itself. 

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11 Responses to BASW to support social workers who take accreditation tests

  1. Sam Culpar July 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm #

    Lol…. this is nuts… overall local authorities are struggling to recruit enough workers permanent or agency… there are loads of vacancies… adding this accreditaton to the mix will only add pressure and increase the void.
    Waste of time and only serves the will of the puppet masters.

  2. A Man Called Horse July 23, 2018 at 2:32 pm #

    BASW Position unacceptable. Clearly this position is directly the opposite of UNISON this is why Social Workers rights are being violated. Why can’t BASW represent the majority of Social Workers who are totally opposed to this additional testing?
    The Government have already given the green light to employers to put workers who fail to pass through capability. The best that can be achieved with these tests is even more division in the profession. Social Workers will be in fear of losing their job should they fail to pass or being downgraded in pay. It is this sort of division that has destroyed the teaching profession leaving staff to endure 60 Hour weeks with no choice other than to quit teaching. Social Workers are stressed under resourced, under-paid and under constant monitoring by big brother. The Tories have clearly infiltrated BASW and with Unions like yours who needs enemies, totally disgraceful betrayal of Social Workers.

    • Sam Culpar July 23, 2018 at 11:57 pm #

      They speak out now because this is an ideal political opportunity for the BASW to raise there profile. I don’t think their leadership have chosen the right battle here. The accreditation is not really popular amongst the general workforce; in fact it is the last thing on many peoples mind when struggling with case loads etc etc, I think they have missed the political mood in Social Work.
      The BASW do offer some good support and insurances/representation at hearings but they have struggled for years to gain any real foothold and influence in Local Authorities and apparently they are or were not formally recognised by the established Unions who have the Public Sector sown up. For the most part, the BASW seem passive and without influence amongst Social Workers.
      I feel they missed opportunities to gather the social care workforce at the outset of the Austerity measures years ago…had they been vocally active in the national press/media, they may have gained more credibility but they appear to have lost momentum before grabbing hold of that slippery chance…well that’s only my view.

      I hope they read these responses.

    • Lin Newton July 25, 2018 at 6:00 pm #

      BASW is a bosses orientated organisation always has been always will be. No surprise at their stance. Stick with Unison for proper representation

  3. BorstalBoy July 24, 2018 at 8:05 am #

    Well that’s made my mind up.that’s my subscription lost BASW capitulates to what is a preposterous idea which will do nothing whatsoever either to raise the status of Social Work or improve recruitment and retention.

    It’s a micky mouse scheme and BASW has let Social Workers down very badly here.


  4. Maharg July 24, 2018 at 9:12 am #

    I’m not surprised, I’ve always felt BASW was not worth letter value of the tile in Scrabble.15.

  5. Phil Sanderson July 24, 2018 at 8:27 pm #

    One wonders if they consulted their members on this before they went public. It is a very poor decision which lets social workers down and they should reconsider. Social workers are best placed in the TUC affiliated unions of Unite and Unison.

  6. Hilton Dawson July 24, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

    This is a sensible approach by the organisations which are led by social workers & sound professional values.
    Of course they recognise the unacceptable context of the government’s reforms but acknowledge that there may be some value for practice in what’s being proposed. Above all they show a willingness to respect & support the decisions of social workers operating at the front line.
    Well done BASW & SWU for this careful & intelligent steer.

    • A Man Called Horse July 26, 2018 at 8:48 am #

      You are joking right?

  7. sw111 July 25, 2018 at 10:51 pm #

    Basw should completely cease. The advice they offer makes situation more difficult for the workers. They are passive and appear to have no clue about the needs of the workers. They tend to appease the local authority rather than advocate and represent workers.
    The workers are bullied and pressurised. Has basw ever considered the level of complaints against BME workers – No they haven’t.
    Workers pay subscription for what – for nothing.

  8. June Thoburn July 26, 2018 at 9:21 am #

    As a member osBASW PPEG that hekped frame the survey and response to the consultation I too was shocked and depressed by reading the Comm Care article. The above responses apart from Hilton’s are in line with the responses of a large majority of BASW members who responded. However I am especially shocked by poor journalism and inaccurate headline, and no link provided to actual statement or to BASW response to-consultation. Having now read the statement, it is much more a ‘sitting on fence’ response. Headline could equally have said ‘BASW/ SWU to support social workers in pilot areas who decide NOT to take part. I hope to see a high profile correction from BASW publicisedin Comm Care. This also raises some important questions about when BASW the prof assoc for social work as well as for social workers acts as one/ or not with SWU, one of the trades unions for social workers. Many BASW members will be members of other unions,especially those most impacted on by NAAS in local govt, UNISON whose ballot of members resulted in a very similar response to the BASW survey.