The 2012 conference takes place against a backdrop of Government cuts and austerity measures that are producing a massive crisis in social work and social care. Workers face redundancies, increased workloads, pay cuts, threats to pensions and a stressful working life that is producing all manner of social and personal problems. For service users cuts mean worse services, more expense and less involvement in significant decisions that affect their lives. The Government response has been to argue for greater marketisation, as a reflection of ‘customer choice’. They have taken every opportunity to encouraged businesses, large and small, to bid for contracts and make profits from public services, yet as the crisis of Southern Cross shows the priorities of companies are always profits, not meeting human need.
The Government’s agenda is ideological. It is not a response to ‘economic necessity’. The crisis started when the Government bailed out failing banks – why should ordinary people and public services pay the price?
This year’s SWAN conference addresses these problems and issues. It provides a forum where academics, frontline workers, students and service users can come together, debate and forge alliances to create a counterpoint to the Government’s mantra that ‘there is no alternative to the market’. Instead the conference will explore alternative visions which offer hope that ‘another social work’ and ‘another form of social care’ is possible.
Speakers include: Danny Dorling, Charlotte Williams, Gurnam Singh, Iain Ferguson, Michael Lavalette, Peter Beresford, Helga Pile
Sessions include: In defence of multi-culturalism; Responding to the crisis in adult social care; Challenges in children and families social work; Is there a future for youth work? What can we learning from radical international social work projects? Fighting the cuts, building the resistance