BASW Cymru launches manifesto ahead of Assembly elections

BASW Cymru is calling on the Welsh Assembly to join forces with it on a Social Work Bill that would promote the ‘most neglected and least understood profession in the UK’.

The Association launched a manifesto for the profession in Wales on 11 January, setting out key features of a bill that would include statutory powers underpinning a College of Social Work that would be consulted on training, career structures and conditions of employment. The bill would also place a duty on health, local government and social work to co-operate.

It calls for the development of world renowned Centres of Excellence for Social Work Training across Wales, if the Assembly attains full legislative powers in a referendum in March. Urging members to vote ‘yes’ in the 3 March referendum on giving the Assembly full legislative powers, BASW Cymru chair Keith Drury said: “This manifesto launch is intended to highlight to Assembly members the key issues that BASW Cymru would like to be addressed and supported during the next Assembly term 2011-15. If the National Assembly for Wales attains full legislative powers, then we will be pressing for the key messages outlined in this document to be enacted.”

The BASW Cymru manifesto highlights the intense pressure social workers have been under ‘for far too long’ and warns that caseloads are already above safe and sustainable levels. BASW Cymru is urging the government to prioritise social work services, in the same way as health, education and policing, in the climate of cuts, warning that taking more money away from services will place vulnerable children and adults at risk.

The deputy minister for social services, Gwenda Thomas, expressed her appreciation for “the contribution of BASW to further supporting and professionalising the workforce”. She told the event: “Social work in Wales has a progressive history and we share a strong ambition for the role and profile of social work in the future. The government will have an ambitious future in its sights and BASW is clear about its vision. Together we will ensure that we enable social work to flourish for the sake of those we serve.”

Commenting on the report from the independent Commission on the Future of Social Services in Wales and the submission of the Social Work Workforce Task Group, both received in late 2010, Ms Thomas said she expected to include their findings in a white paper on social services, which will be published in March.

View a full copy of A Social Work Manifesto for Wales