Establishing the College of Social Work


Some movement has been reported in the setting up of the first College of Social Work as recommended by the Social Work Task Force last year.

Firstly two joint interim chairs have been appointed – Maurice Bates, previously interim Director of Children’s Services at North East Lincolnshire Council and prior to that, Director of Adult and Children’s Services at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

At his side, virtually, will be Corinne May-Chalal – professor of Applied Social Science at Lancaster University.

According to Community Care, they both are currently registered as social workers which is a definite bonus compared to others who have been trying to provide leadership within the profession (GSCC, I’m looking at you..).

Interestingly, Children and Young People Now, report that the College is trying to link up with UNISON – the Trade Union that I’d say most social workers would join (I’m a member myself) so as to pool members and resources.  Community Care report that BASW (British Association of Social Workers)  are proposing some kind of merging of functions and membership with the College as well . I’m a member of BASW too.

Personally, I’d be in favour of both a linking of functions with BASW and UNISON. Currently, I pay to join both as I think they serve different functions but with the College in the mix and potentially a third set of subscription fees, it might make a mockery of the systems as they are. It also looks like a lot of the proposed mandate of the College overlaps with BASW.

Community Care reports that

The college is proposing to offer its members services such as a magazine, professional advice, information about training and continuing professional development, professional indemnity insurance for independent social workers and individual representation in disputes with employers.

And this is exactly the function that BASW currently serves. If a trade union association could be added into the mix (I was always in favour of BASW building further extensive trade union links) it would make any fee much more palatable.

BASW has a purpose but it’s purpose would be much better served by a larger membership of social workers. The voice of the combined membership of the college could be very loud and very effective.

I hope these plans of links with both BASW and UNISON come to fruitation because it makes the College more useful and more effective.

7 thoughts on “Establishing the College of Social Work

  1. In Ontario (Canada) we have the Ontario Association of Social Workers, which is membership/voice for social workers, then the Ontario College of SW and Social Service Workers, which is akin to the GSCC. OCSWSSW doesn’t do anything to support social workers, but rather to protect the public.

    There’s my wee addition to your knowledge base!

  2. I too share in your dreams of a social work Utopia…. the union, the voice and the research all in one place for one fee! Would be amazing. All seems a bit fractured at the moment and the fees are off putting to the newest members of the profession who could potentially gain the most.

  3. What’s your take on the argument that UNISON involvement will see the college dominated by trade union interests? I’ve read that this might be a concern for BASW, and we’ve had a comment to that effect on our blog too.

    PS – I follow you on Twitter as @LiquidPersonnel

    • Sorry Paul, your comment seemed to end up in my spam folder and I didn’t check it 😦 But don’t worry, it shouldn’t happen again!
      I think honestly that BASW is terrified because it’s existence is threatened by the College. Personally, I’d like UNISON to have some kind of affiliate link – perhaps as is the case (as I believe) with the College of Occupational Therapists. It would also make social work representation within UNISON stronger.

  4. What do you think of the view that Unison involvement could see the college being dominated by trade union interests? I’ve read that this may be a concern for BASW, and we’ve received comments to that effect on our blog too.

    PS – I’m a big fan of the blog and follow you on Twitter as @LiquidPersonnel

  5. thanks for the comments – Jen – it’s always interesting to have some comparisons! We can feel very insular at times.. retrolemons, I agree completely.
    Carolyn – I love Clare in the Community! Thanks for the link 🙂

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