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strategic review


strategic review

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									Strategic Review – a proposal for discussion of a draft UK structure This paper is for discussion about how BASW UK could make most use of its members and staff resources to meet the future needs of the profession in the four constituent parts of the UK. In the past 10 years BASW has grown both in members, staff and resources and undergone significant devolution in parallel with political changes in the UK. Each country has produced strategic priorities on an annual basis and activity has grown politically, in terms of PR, member services and vision. We have diversity not only with the four countries but within the countries, from rural, urban and island communities as well as in our membership of race, culture, sexual orientation etc. In the membership we have diversity in where people work, whether for local authorities, the health service, in the third sector, in the private sector, in education, the armed forces and independently. Our glue that brings us together is our Code of Ethics, our search for high standards and commitment to making a difference – helping people to help others. To build on the progress of the last 10 years we need  To promote policy into practice reflecting research, knowledge, experience and the Code of Ethics  More Members.  Better Services.  Greater influence

The UK Perspective What is it that binds the four nations together? In the UK most legislation and powers in social work, police, health and education are devolved to the four different Parliaments and Assemblies and their respective governments. Defence, international affairs, state benefit levels and migration are reserved issues that look likely to remain with the UK Government until at least 2014. The complicating factor for England is that Westminster still deals with both England and UK issues without the clear boundaries that exist for the other three countries. BASW UK as part of the Global Social Work Profession We are a UK Professional Association of Social Workers who link internationally through IFSW. In Europe where our main activity currently is centred we are linked through the UK being a member of the EU and the Council of Europe. Increasingly these political associations across Europe are part of our everyday environment and increasingly the work of the European Parliament and the European Commission will impact on our work, whether through opportunities to

work throughout the EU, the movement of people across Europe or the working time Directives. We have strong links internationally which we should be using more effectively and this work urgently needs to be repositioned in the organisation. We can learn a great deal from what our colleagues are doing across Europe and the rest of the world. Links with Brussels could also bring in income, particularly in terms of the proposed College of Social Work. We also have an increasing number of workers in our workforce who have lived and trained in other countries and we have a diversity of international resources in our own social work community. It might also provide some challenge to our inclusiveness of other social professions within BASW. Many of our colleague organisations who are members of IFSW include in their membership social pedagogues, community social workers, social educators and social animateurs. These are social professions that are beginning to evolve in parts of the UK. The UK Perspective The issues that bind us together in the international profession are the same issues that bind us together in the UK - our Codes of Ethics and our common professional role. We meet need, assess and work with risk and through our working relationships respect people and their rights. We spend a great deal of our time balancing need, risk and protecting human rights. Often these factors are in competition not only with an individual but in families, communities and the wider society. These are the issues that form the basis of many referrals to A&R, when we are in the spotlight after a child death or abuse of a vulnerable person, or in the office when we are struggling between several courses of action. They are the factors that each of us have struggled with in our professional practice. In the review of BASW Structure we need to look at what binds us together in a UK organisation and internationally. We need to respect each of the four jurisdictions in their autonomy in creating and developing social policy in their countries. We also need to be an organisation fit for purpose and clear in our objectives as a professional association internationally, in the UK and at National level. Most people will be faced at least once with a serious ethical dilemma and this is the glue that joins us together through our use of our Code of Ethics. Historically we have never been able to make the Standards and Ethics Board work as a proactive support for our members yet Standards and Ethics are key to our work. Members, users of services, employers, politicians, educators and other key professionals should be able to see that this is what we are about – high standards in practice. It is therefore suggested that a BASW UK Structure might be represented by the following diagram

Social Work is a global profession and BASW is the UK member of IFSW Global I IFSW is a group of 6 Regions Europe, SE Asia, Asia Pacific, North America, South America, Africa,

BASW Council Ethics Human Rights International


Users Staff


Academic s






Finance & HR

Each country would be a section of BASW UK and names would reflect the devolved countries and their legal jurisdictions. The A& R Service and Finance and Human Resources be separate sections to ensure the proper running of services for members. The Ethical and Human Rights Committee would be the committee where national committees, members, users and others could take issues that cause the professional dilemmas. The Committee/Commission should have people who have sufficient gravitas to make an impact on some of these critical issues that social workers face. We therefore suggest that the Terms of Reference might include

1. The composition of the group should be a mixture of academics and practitioners – possibly about 6 in number – one from each country a Chair and vice Chair 2. Meetings by telephone/video conferencing and face to face meetings for a minimum of 8 or 10 times per annum, possibly monthly, depending on demand. 3. It would support members either individually or collectively with complex ethical dilemmas – for example plans for a child of a mentally ill parent, whistle blowing, asylum cases, voluntary euthanasia, users who have been abused in care situations etc.  The Professional Officers could have all used such an active group in the last few years for example in discussion about the i. reserved tasks for social workers, ii. registration issues, iii. practice governance, iv. support for children caught up in the asylum system v. calls from members on ethical dilemmas. 4. referrals would come from  Members  National Committees  Users and Carers  Academics  Staff  Others Not all the work will be possible through this structure and it is envisaged that there will be ad hoc work groups, SIGs, VIPs and other groupings of members that will follow through on policy developments either in the nations or on a UK basis – but these would be groups focusing on specific issues that would feed issues through the system. The same issues that we face in the UK are often the same issues that we discuss in Europe and globally so that the workstream that currently is done in IRAP and other parts of the association would be more integrated through this new committee.

This model was evolved by the professional officers for discussion within the UK. August 2009

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