I think I’m fairly good at griping and raising ‘problems’. For the next week, I want to try and take a positive approach and look at solutions as well as problems.
A few conversations I’ve had over the past week have focused on what is wrong with adult social work and mental health social work at the moment but more importantly what can be done to make things better.
My frustration is that for all the discussions that take place in the sector, so few seem to focus on those of us who have worked and are working at the so-called ‘front-line’. A home carer knows about the ways that contracts have been managed and awarded at the lowest cost and they will be able to tell you with far more insight than any contracting manager about the effects of 15 minute ‘spot’ visits and the lack of dignity present in the care for older people. They would also be able to give you an amalgam of ideas which branch from consideration, knowledge and experience of a wide range of service users.
Are employed home care workers ever invited to discussion forums and debates about the future of care? No. But you know, maybe the feedback would be the most valuable.
On a more personal level it feels as if the conversations about service design and delivery take place around and above us – with us being the people at the front line of support. Yes, there are discussions with service users and carers but how much effort is made to seek out opinions that do not fit in the model that the consultants want them to express? How many of the people who attend these meetings, discussions and debates become self-selecting.
If you create a service user group, for example, in a particular borough, it seems to me obvious that you are most likely to engage will be those whose voices are already heard through different means.
I like to set myself up as some kind of advocate in terms of having an understanding of the needs of people who don’t often have their voices heard in these kinds of meetings and debates because the discussions I have are mostly with people who are at their lowest ebbs on the scale of health and need.
For me, it is crucially important that these people are not left behind by commissioners and service design but my experience and understanding of the sector suggests that they are.
I don’t want to keep harking back to the roll out of personal budgets on the back of the model of direct payments but I will. The voices of those without support and without advocates are understandably quieter and the way that the services have been designed focuses quite rightly on choice but what is not present is a way for an equitable service to be delivered to those who aren’t for some reason able to express choice.
So things that can make things better
– Use of advocates in a more formalised manner throughout the system. Volunteer advocates have a role but I see more mileage in professional advocacy with extensive investment in non-directed advocacy as that is potentially where the greatest need lies. If I weren’t so tied to my job in terms of needing a salary to pay the bills, I would, at a flash, try to establish some kind of enterprise to focus specifically on support planning and advocacy for adults with dementias. I hope there is a role for independent social work in this area in the future – in the meantime, if anyone wants to jump on my idea and run with it, I am happily ‘open sourcing’ it.
– involving front line practitioners in conversations, debates and discussions with the local authorities relinquishing some of the reins of power in respect to conversation. Recognise our professional vigour and competence. We see people and have discussions with people that will never attend forums collectively. We can signpost and support commissioners and contracting officers but we are never asked and never given the time to think more creatively outside our little boxes of control. We have ideas and a happier, more connected workforce is an engaged and interested one.
– speak to home care workers too – those with agencies and where in-house services still exist, with them. They will have good ideas about the ways that their services are failing.
– home visits to facilitate discussions – why have all meetings in a central hall when it can be limiting regarding those who have greater physical and mental health needs.
Technology can facilitate greater conversation and communication with two-way flows but face to face discussion is still very important as technology and keyboards can alienate some people – perhaps exactly those people whom it is most important to connect with.
-Practitioners have to be more engaged with developments in the sector and unfortunately I don’t see BASW or the embryonic College of Social Work being particularly engaged with social workers. Why have social workers become so disengaged from professional organisations and unions? Is it to do with a fear of employers? I think some more group action could really build the strength of social work but it is hard to shrug off the feeling that we are a disengaged and disenfranchised profession that like to feel sorry for our collective selves and wallow in our diminished status. I think if we took a stronger political stance and stood up to our employers and their political agendas and displayed more independence of thought, we would be able to demand more respect.
I have decided that while I can moan and groan with the best of ‘em, coming together with ideas for improvement is by far the best way of making our voices heard.
I’ve written about my background and my somewhat ambivalent relationship with Unison in the past but today, as there is to be a widespread strike in the UK, I almost wish we had also been called out to strike alongside the teachers and the civil servants.
I’m very far from a ‘trigger happy’ union member. My default position has been to vote against any strikes called because I just want to get on with my job. Saying that, my attitude has changed over the last year or so since the election of this government and the dismantlement of the welfare state. The difference is that now, I’m angry.
Yes, I have a ‘public sector’ pension so the issue that today’s strike is about does affect me directly. I think the amount of jealousy and petty spirited hate that has been stirred up by the current government against public sector workers is distasteful in the extreme. We are portrayed as ‘fat cats’ milking the State while we depend on the poor private sector to prop us up. Oh, I might have a ‘get out’ because I could be regarded (although who knows on what definition that go) as a ‘front line worker’ but I don’t want to be patted on the head and distinguished from those who work incredibly hard to make sure that the work I do ‘at the front line’ can be carried out.
The administrative support, the IT support, the care workers (as we still have an in-house service) the emergency alarm cord operators, the library staff, the receptionists, the training department, the HR team and the accountants.
I want to know who these ‘paper pushers’ are supposed to be as most of the paper pushing happens in the executive offices or in the Houses of Parliament.
Over the last year, when we have had endless consultations about the cuts that are coming in our services and the changes that are coming to our jobs, I have seen the real value of union membership. As a member of Unison, I have attended regular meetings in our service and have gleaned a lot more information about the process than I would otherwise have had. We have been involved because the council has needed to involve us and yes, some of the shop stewards can be a bit bolshy, but that has been a very necessary characteristic in their dealing with the council.
I do wonder if BASW’s idea of a Union of Social Workers would have the same fire and resources to fight so strongly on our behalf as local authority employees. At the moment, I am very happy with Unison and the way they have supported and informed us through these difficult times.
As for today, good luck to those on strike. The issue they strike about today is also my issue but my anger is much broader than the pension issue – it is the destruction of support in society and the way that those who have least as being asked to pay.
I have learnt more in the last year about the importance of union membership than I had in the previous ten. I don’t expect to ever follow blindly but I do value my membership much much more in these uncertain times.
- Strikes: Which Workers Will Walk Out And Why (news.sky.com)
- One million public sector workers to strike this autumn over pension changes, union warns (telegraph.co.uk)
Yesterday, as a part of Lansley’s so-called ‘listening’ exercise, he found himself at the conference of the(RCN) as they voted in favour of a motion of no confidence in him personally by a fairly substantial 99%. Rather marvellously when you take into account the 13 abstentions, only 6 nurses voted against the motion of no confidence. As was mentioned on Twitter yesterday, it seemed to be a miracle that 6 were to be found.
You’d have thought that that was quite a strong message for Listening Lansley to have paid heed to but no, he wanted to give a perception of listening (as if the vote of no confidence wasn’t a strong enough message!).
He asked for 60 specially chosen RCN representatives to talk to him while he ‘listened’ for 90 minutes in a room to which press were not allowed.
Well, nothing wrong with listening of course. I shouldn’t scoff but I can’t help it amid Lansley’s gruff and graceless apologies. Why? Because the listening should have been done before the plans were announced. The listening should be done with a whole wide range of people who have an interest in the health service.
He has got it wrong but he doesn’t seem to want to listen as much as try and persuade and regroup around his message of privatisation.
The message from the Royal College of Nursing was strong, and powerful and it has caught the news media. People listen to nurses when they say things are wrong.
But we can’t forget how wrong the government got when they brought these proposals to Parliament in the first place. What does it say about a government that has to do its consulting AFTER it has taken a Bill to Parliament that has been so strongly attacked on all sides by public and professional opinion. It doesn’t exactly make one comfortable that we are ‘in safe hands’ as they like to promise at election time. Maybe it’s because all the consultations they did before the Bill was presented were with private companies and party donors.
This is a government which is struggling under the surface and has been caught out already on many occasions by acting without any idea of what the plans that they propose actually signify. It is when they try messing around with the health service that people sit up and shout back but what about the other measures that they have proposed like the changes in the welfare benefit systems which seem force degrading and inappropriate ‘tests’ to claimants to jump through hoops to get the money they ‘deserve’. This is what we need to speak up against as well.
And one of my sadder moments yesterday, when I thought about the impact of the nurses and the fact that they are at least being listened to for press purposes, is how we, in social work, have been poorly served by the organisations that supposedly represent our interests.
We should look at the RCN and what they have done and the effect a vote of confidence had on the ridiculousness of Lansley’s ‘listening’ exercise when with an almost unanimous voice they have humiliated him. Where is the nearest equivalent social work voice?
Honestly, is that the best he can do in rousing his members? Is that the best we can do as social workers when we should be at the heart of opposing the government agenda to heap the cuts on those who have the least? We just get into squabbles between Unison and BASW about who has the most social work members? Who is going to ‘lead’ the College of Social Work? Are we going to have a ‘Chief Social Worker’? Surely better to have a broad members organisation that can speak for all social workers rather than split members into different ‘camps’. As for me, I’m a member of Unison AND a member of BASW. Generally, I’ve seen value in both. It isn’t about a competition about who has more members and some people like me would be counted twice in the figures.
More than anything we can see the importance of having a strong, national voice as a profession and as representatives of a social care sector that is being and has been ravaged by repeated governments. Perhaps a broader College of Social Care might not have been a bad idea.
The stronger the body the louder the voice.
Of course, that isn’t going to happen. It looks like we will be left with a College that few social workers who are on the front line will be interested in because we don’t have time for the politics within the profession. We have too much to do and need to focus on the politics of the country before everything that we know and love about this society is lost. So while the College or Colleges (depending) spend all their time and money rewriting competencies or capabilities or capacities again and again and again ad infinitum – some of us will just be getting on with doing the actual work.
But the shame of it is that a College of Social Work/Social Care could perhaps have been a voice to shout against the Welfare Benefit Bill and the ridiculous tests that are put in place to make decisions as to ‘eligibility’ in the same way that the nurses are a voice to shout against the health and (oh the irony) social care bill.
We should be more like the nurses. We need to be if we are to survive and have relevancy. We need to be listened to as well. But in order to be listened to, we need to build support up amongst ourselves rather than squabble like schoolchildren. That is the pity.
- Andrew Lansley receives vote of no confidence from Royal College of Nursing (telegraph.co.uk)
- Lansley says sorry to NHS workers (mirror.co.uk)
- Nurses ‘no confidence’ in Lansley (mirror.co.uk)
- Leading article: The health service needs evolution, not revolution (independent.co.uk)
- You: Nurses pass vote of no confidence in Lansley (guardian.co.uk)
- Nurses pass vote of no confidence in Lansley (independent.co.uk)
I am more than a little frustrated that BASW (British Association of Social Workers) and the College of Social Work (in its current interim state) haven’t been able to thrash out their problems.
I’ve mentioned the background to this before and it’s certainly worth, if you are interested, reading through a long and involved thread on CareSpace – a Community Care discussion board – about the process. It goes into a fair bit of history and detail.
As a battling Front Line Footsoldier or actually more accurately a conscientious objector, to say I feel frustrated is an understatement – or rather, I feel frustrated when I have time to remember that this battle is happening. Most of the time, I’m just getting on with my work.
I have to despair of the inability of the parties to actually sit around a table. Yes, the whole momentum for setting up a College came from BASW and they feel they have been unfairly frozen out but they aren’t really doing themselves any favours outside their own goldfish bowl world at the moment.
I’m a member of BASW and I joined the Interim College as a ‘founder pre-member’. I’m curious by my nature and I strongly believe that social work needs firm representation. I am not going to jump one way or the other and my absolute ideal outcome is convergence so that there are not two different bodies.
I have been and remain a strong advocate for BASW. I’ve often extolled their collective virtues. It can seem a little insular at times though but I think that it has been so much more effective over the past few years. I am just not sure this is the right fight because it reflects badly on an organisation and by extension, the profession, that needs to show a more united front.
I am baffled by the current BASW position quite honestly. An organisation that claims to be member-led seems to be going about things in a strange way.
Yes, there was a referendum last year. I didn’t vote in it even though I was eligible because quite honestly, I didn’t understand the issues. I wanted convergence. Yes, I know that pride was damaged when SCIE rather than BASW were asked to lead on the ‘official’ setting up of the College but I suppose it was felt that BASW membership was too narrow and it would not ‘bring’ enough members. That’s, I suspect, where the link with Unison came from. It is the link with Unison which seems to have outraged BASW as they felt they were not fully consulted about this. I’m a member of Unison too, by the way, and with all my griping about them, they are coming into their own in the current climate of austerity. I am very glad to be a union member in general and a Unison member in particular.
The Council of BASW seem to have decided that the referendum last year (which achieved an overwhelming majority of ‘yes’ votes but the vote was for a British College and the turnout was roughly 5000 out of 13000 members – I assume it wasn’t only English members who voted) gave them a mandate to ‘go it alone’ and declare themselves a ‘College of Social Work’ for England only.
I’m left befuddled. I don’t quite want to walk away from BASW at this point because I do think they have a role but I don’t know how else to make my voice heard to them about the dissatisfaction that I’m feeling in the way that they have conducted themselves without asking the membership specifically on this point.
Currently, and certainly among people who have contacted me personally, either in work because they know I am a member (I’d been trying to recruit people to join in the past) or socially as I have some friends who are social workers and social work students, are without exception laughing at BASW and feel that the organisation is responsible for making the profession a laughing stock. As if we needed that
I’m sure the Interim College acted improperly by not consulting BASW more openly about the Unison deal. I’m also sure that the Interim College should have focussed on things that BASW doesn’t do rather than trying to create an equivalent but separate organisation or cornering BASW into convergence on their own terms.
But in my opinion (and I come from a view of being generally very positive about BASW) the SCIE College is winning the ‘battle for hearts and minds’ on the PR front.
BASW’s press releases strike one as tetchy and showing an unnecessary over-reliance on the legality of the name of the ‘College of Social Work’.
As the decision to ‘go it alone’ was not seemingly taken by the referendum – not least because the context for the referendum was not replicated when the action was taken – I thought I’d find out who did make this decision on my behalf, as a paying member of BASW.
They are :
Fran Fuller – Chair
Lesley McDowell – Vice Chair and Chair of Policy, Ethics and Human Rights Committee
Ronnie Barnes – Chair Finance & Human Resources Committee
Dave Harrop – England Committee
Joan Franklin – England Committee
Gerry Madden – Northern Ireland Committee
Jenni Rice – Northern Ireland Committee
Graeme Rizza – Scotland Committee
John McGowan – Scotland Committee
Keith Drury – Wales Committee
Nick Lovell – Wales Committee
Beverley Prevatt Goldstein
15 people to make a decision on the setting up of College of Social Work that is only going to be operating as such in England as that is the remit from the Social Work Taskforce. On that basis, shall we discount those who don’t practice in England as surely they wouldn’t vote on this issue that affects English members.
It’s our own, social worky ‘West Lothian question’.
So remove the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales Committee members.
We are left with seven but it is presumptuous for me to assume that all the remaining members are English. So I looked on the GSCC register. And the SSSC register and the Care Register of Wales and the NISCC. (Wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could search them all simultaneously).
Julia Wassell and Fran Fuller are registered in England. Ronnie Barnes and Matt McGregor are registered in Scotland. There are two Lesley McDowells registered in Northern Ireland (and none in England, Scotland or Wales so I’m assuming she is one of the two in NI).
I couldn’t find James Birchall or Beverley Prevatt Goldstein on any of the registers but I’ll assume that was just my poor searching and misspelling of names and getting confused between my searching of the different registers at 6am!
At best, that would give us between four and six people on the Council who would be primarily interested in English matters.
Just for the record, I’m no happier about some of the choices made to the interim board regarding representatives but, and this is a big but, they ARE an interim board. The SCIE College doesn’t actually exist yet, where BASW has a constitution and democratic process.
I completely understand why BASW felt they had to do something and couldn’t wait until the AGM in May but I think some kind of EGM might have been called for.
This feels like an all-out attack on BASW but I don’t want it to be. I just want a wider debate and understanding of the needs of the social work profession – not just BASW members – and it is crucially important to understand that BASW does not represent the majority of British or English Social Workers.
While BASW has expertise in all the areas the College wishes to promote and provide and perhaps it should have led on the setting up of the College – it wasn’t chosen and shouldn’t over-play the status that it has.
BASW after all, had many years in which to demonstrate that it was able to represent all social workers and still has a relatively small membership.
Personally, I think they should accept the mediation offer – although it means egg on their and our collective faces rather than continue to alienable and gripe about the rights to the name of ‘College of Social Work’.
As for the Interim Board, they’ve offered independent mediation. I am sure there are lots of things they should have done differently in respect to BASW but surely mediation is the place to thrash it out, rather than increasingly bitter press releases.
- The Two Colleges (fightingmonsters.wordpress.com)
- BASW vs College of Social Work (fightingmonsters.wordpress.com)
- A house divided: social work colleges split loyalties (guardian.co.uk)
- Social workers to get new professional body – or maybe two (guardian.co.uk)
I’m almost weary of this story before I start to write it to be honest. Unfortunately the story is ripe for pickings, I can’t really help but go with it.
A bit of background. (note : this is my understanding and perception of what has and is happening – if I’m wrong on the details, please correct me because I haven’t trawled through documents.. it’s just as it looks from a humble practitioner’s viewpoint).
BASW (British Association of Social Workers) has long been the professional organisation for social workers in the UK (the clue is in the name). BASW does not have a large membership. It seems to have a smaller group of mostly retired, independent or management members – lacking in front-line staff. I am a member of BASW. I have been an on-off member since being a student but I’m probably in my longest continuous stretch of membership at the moment.
They publish the British Journal of Social Work, they have an advice and representation service, they have a regular magazine but they fell short of being a trade union.
One of the things they were pressuring the government through the Social Work Taskforce was the establishment of a ‘College of Social Work’. Fine, good. Whatever. Sounded nice but I wasn’t entirely sure how it would make things different and make things better for me.
The Taskforce ran with this idea and proposed this. Negotiations began. SCIE (Social Care Institute for Excellence) was left in charge of the process and given significant amounts of money to set up a College of Social Work – but crucially, just for England rather than for the UK.
BASW seemed to feel increasingly marginalised by this process as they were only one of many partners rather than the lead partner that they had envisaged being.
There’s a lot at stake for BASW.
The College went along its merry path with BASW increasingly becoming irritated by it’s lack of leadership of the process.
Consultations took place. And then the ‘arrangement’ with Unison was made by the College. That seemed to kick off the main source of trouble.
Personally, it seems that the College development had a choice of convergence with BASW or with Unison and they picked Unison – one of the largest public sector trade unions. Unison though could deliver more members than BASW and the trade union element was one thing that the SCIE College could offer that BASW couldn’t.
BASW probably quite rightly fearing for its own existence, decided to establish herself as a ‘College of Social Work’. As of Friday, BASW is now called –
BASW – The College of Social Work
The SCIE-inspired College meanwhile sent out calls for social workers to join their own organisation in advance of it becoming an official college.
Here’s the rub.
The SCIE College says it will offer as membership services
– a magazine
– peer reviewed journal
– professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance
– representation and employment advice via Unison
– tools and resources to use in practice
– attendance at annual conferences
– special awards
– special interest groups, forums, communities of interest
It goes on and on.
The difficulty comes when you realise that this is exactly what BASW offers apart from backing of Unison.
In response, BASW has claimed it is going to develop it’s own trade union branch just for social workers.
The difficulty is that there are over 100,000 social workers or social work students currently registered by the GSCC and BASW has 13,000 members.
The GSCC only registers people in England. BASW membership covers the UK.
Can we see a problem here? Basically the SCIE College claims that BASW doesn’t have a mandate to have the prime mover role in its version of a college and BASW retorts, well, it’s better than anyone else has.
Except Unison – who may well have a higher number of social workers as members.
That’s a slightly shady argument though. Firstly, I’m a member of both Unison and BASW. I see them as having wholly different goals.
Anyway, BASW have now renamed themselves ‘BASW – The College of Social Work’. They have registered the name ‘The College of Social Work’ and seem to be insisting that the SCIE College refrain from using that term.
There have been many exchanges of letters that very few people will actually read.
The perception of disruptiveness whether right or wrong is likely to harm BASW.
I’m not an active member. I don’t have time to be but I didn’t see this coming. I received a letter through the post on Saturday about it. It didn’t inspire me very much to keep fighting the fight.
At the moment, this ‘fight’ seems somewhat distant to me. I can understand that BASW feels excluded and is fighting for its life. I wouldn’t want to see it go – there are good people there – but it really should have been fighting this fight for decades. If it had a larger membership and had inaugurated a trade union branch ten years ago without being under the threat of extinction, it would have been in a much stronger place now.
Perhaps it is the fault of the profession of social workers for not standing up for ourselves enough.
These bodies, these organisations mill around us and claim to be speaking for us but we have so little time to speak for ourselves that we allow them to be filled with the same faces and the same almost-professional committee members and board members.
The problem with BASW that I saw is that its’ vision of social workers was set very much by ‘old schoolers’. People who practised decades ago and moved into management, independent practice or the academia – thus having time to devote to committees and policy development – leaving the front line behind them.
There needed to be more support in those first few years of post-qualification working. Something that those of us who are hardly the best-paid professionals in the world, would look at and say ‘that’s value for money’, ‘that organisation knows what it’s like FOR ME’ – not just for my manager or for my wildly experienced colleague but for me as I enter this minefield of a profession.
I can’t see that the SCIE college will be any different. They haven’t made much of an effort with the interim board members. Where are the real issues that are facing us as the profession (in adult services) slips away and has slipped away?
Where was BASW 5 and 10 years ago when we should have been challenging the orthodoxy that has led to this current malaise?
I have been impressed by the drive of BASW since Dawson took over as Chief Executive, to be honest, but it may well be too little too late as BASW is judged on past performance and current membership.
As for me, my heart says I don’t want BASW to die a death. I have a positive feeling towards the organisation. I know they want and mean well. I like the idea of a UK-wide College.
But the government has pumped money into the SCIE College. I’m also a member of Unison which has sided with the SCIE version. It may also become an issue of money. I pay a lot to be a member of BASW and Unison. My gut feeling is to prefer a social work specific trade union as I don’t feel particularly well-served by Unison but Unison does have a lot of fingers in a lot of pies. It is hard to imagine not having the backing of a strong union.
I just wanted everyone to get on but at the moment, this seems like a bit of a mess and I think I’ll just be sticking my head in the sand and will let them battle it out. We’ll see what emerges from the dust.
I say that with a very heavy heart. Problem with social workers, they are too busy working to get involved in conflicts outside the workplace and it doesn’t really do us any favours at all.
- BASW vs College of Social Work (fightingmonsters.wordpress.com)
- Social workers to get new professional body – or maybe two (guardian.co.uk)
It was with more than a little weariness that I read in Community Care that BASW (British Association of Social Workers) may be about to launch their own ‘rival’ College of Social Work having been in dispute and frozen out of the ‘official’ discussions with the embryonic ‘College of Social Work’.
My first response was sheer exasperation. I’m a member of BASW. I pay a not insignificant amount of money to them annually for that privilege and I have a generally warm feeling towards them (I wouldn’t be a member otherwise!). I don’t see them as an alternative to a union although I would actually prefer it if they were. I like the idea of a more specialist union but I’m also a member of Unison, the public sector trade union and I also pay them a not insignificant amount of money for the privilege.
A little disclosure before I continue. I’m a little miffed with Unison currently. I know their reps must be incredibly busy as jobs are going and people are being asked to take salary cuts but I’ve been trying to contact my branch officers for weeks about something at work that affects a few people – phone calls, messages, emails and haven’t even had the courtesy of a response. I must have paid them thousands of pounds over the years, have never asked for any assistance before and honestly, on the scale of things, this is a fairly minor matter and have been wholly and completely ignored. Harumph to Unison but you know, I’ll of course, keep paying. And paying.
But back to BASW and the College. BASW it seems are being steamrollered by the College and are trying to put up a fight in the form of an ‘alternate college’ plan. It is ironic seeing as BASW were so forceful in pushing for the existence of a College of Social Work in the first place.
BASW, it seems are unhappy with the deal that has been made between the College and Unison –
Under the deal, Unison will provide employee representation services to college members and the college will provide professional advice services to social workers who are Unison members.
First, I welcomed this potential merger but I do see an issue if BASW are going to be frozen out of the process.
As a lay-person, I see the potential role for a College of Social Work to be almost an exact equivalent of the services that BASW provides apart from having a statutory footing and the addition of trade union functions via Unison. It seems more than a little uncouth to push BASW out of the process.
I know that BASW don’t have a large membership base. It can seem almost cliquey at times but as a newly qualified social worker with limited money, if I had to choose between union membership and the membership of a professional body, I would go with the union membership every time just as a means of self-preservation.
That is what BASW have to face up to.
The problem is that they seem to have taken some kind of decision to split off from the process of establishing the College of Social Work. Whether they are right or wrong (and I don’t necessarily think they are wrong) there is a big problem of perception about being seen as ‘disruptive’ to the process. I can see how they might feel betrayed by the process of these different interest groups vying to positions of power. Retrospectively, I think they should have been given the lead role in the establishment of a College rather than SCIE (Social Care Institute of Excellence) but that’s all in the past now.
I say this with a heavy heart, but I’m not sure BASW can exist as an independent ‘College’ and I am not convinced that their branching off will be successful in the long run. I would have prefered a BASW-led college but I think we are now too far down the ‘other’ path.
My ‘perfect’ solution would have been some kind of mass consolidation of BASW, the College and Unison (or trade union functions by another means) but that looks nigh on impossible now.
The problem is that there are few enough social workers who are engaged with the process of actively wanting to be involved in these organisations as it is. All these bickerings will no doubt put many people off membership of ANY of the organisations. You don’t want to ‘pick the wrong one’.
These rumblings leave a nasty taste in ones mouth and may be a disincentive for people in the social work profession to become involved.
Which will lead to the same people who like ‘being on committees’ and being at the head of things – mostly managers who can give themselves time off work for these things or retired/independent members – to run the same organisations and to claim to be speaking for ‘front line social workers’ when, in fact, none of them do because the ethereal ‘front line social workers’ are way too busy working to be bothering themselves with who represents them!