UK social work organisations have agreed to campaign collectively to safeguard their profession – and the people who rely on them in a time of need.
In a statement late last week, the organisations condemned the impact of welfare transformation and austerity on the lives of some of the most vulnerable communities in Britain, noting that austerity is linked to growing child poverty and increased levels of mental ill health.
It was agreed that social work is a “valued profession that is worth preserving and promoting in contemporary society”.
Good social work, adequately funded and supported, “is a transformative profession that supports people to make changes in their lives that meet their needs and realise their aspirations”.
The statement said that the organisations are concerned that recent political initiatives could “significantly undermine social work education and training and the profession more generally”.
These include the announced closure of the College of Social Work, together with and the investment of significant public funds in ‘fast-track’ training schemes such as Frontline and Think Ahead.
The statement notes that “we see a link between the attempt to transform social work employment and education, and the weakening of the position of some of the most vulnerable in society”.
The organisations state that they “intend to develop a charter for social work” and will also work together to “strengthen our alliances and partnerships to promote the best interests of the profession and of those who need and use social work services”.
A one-day conference is to be organised to bring social workers, social work students and service users together to broaden and deepen the alliance and develop work.
This organisations involved include the British Association of Social Workers, the Social Work Action Network, Joint University Council Social Work Education Committee, the Association of Professors of Social Work and the relevant trade unions, UNISON, the University and College Union and the Social Workers Union.