Guy Shennan, Chair of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said: “We can appreciate why many social workers are now doubting the government’s commitment to the profession, given that its first action following the election is to close the College of Social Work.
“This comes in a week where Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, confirmed the government’s plan to consult on jailing social workers for ‘wilful neglect’.
“If ever there was a time for the social work profession to stand united, that time is now.
“There is no doubt that the children, families and adults that we work with are going to experience ever increasing hardship and the College closure is yet another blow for our social work colleagues and for service users.
“The College has done some good work for the sector and we will be contacting ministers and College members to discuss how this work can be taken forward.
“There are many newly qualified social workers currently undertaking the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) who will be worried about what the College closure now means for them.
“Only recently BASW has questioned the future of the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and its relationship to the new knowledge and skills statements being led by the Chief Social Workers.
“We also don’t know how the closure will affect members who have taken out Professional Indemnity Insurance with the College.
“BASW has spent the past year consulting with members to determine our future shape and direction and we will be releasing the results of that work in due course.
“BASW remains committed to providing a strong and independent voice for social work and social workers in the interests of both social workers and those who use our services.
“We are keen to work constructively with any individual or organisation where this will support and strengthen the social work profession, in England and across the UK.
“We will be marching alongside service users at the People’s Assembly protest against austerity in London tomorrow and urge as many social workers as possible to take part. We have to keep the faith and stand up for social work.
“It is vital we maintain our professional ethics, values and independence in these challenging times for the profession.”
BASW Chief Executive, Bridget Robb, who was a member of the original task force which identified the need for a professional college for social work, and a member of the negotiating team for the merger, added:
“This day has been predicted for some time as the model established by the government was not sustainable. We now look forward to working with the College and all its members and supporters to see how we can reunite the social work profession across the UK.”
BASW is keen to hear comments and questions from members on the College closure. Please email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org