Justice for Daniel Roque Hall

A number of SWAN members have signed a letter to the Ministry of Justice about Daniel’s experiences and to call for Daniel to serve the remainder of his 3.5 year sentence in an environment fully capable of meeting his needs, or tagged at home. Please read the copy of this letter below which will be sent on 31st October. If you would like to add your name to the letter before it is submitted to the Ministry of Justice, please email swanlondon [at] googlemail.com by the end of Monday 29th October stating your fulll name and organisation.

Daniel Roque Hall

Please also join the vigil
1pm, Thursday 25th October
Ministry of Justice
Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ

Alan White produced a good blog article on Daniel’s experiences for New Statesman which you can read here and the statement on Daniel’s situation from Ataxia UK – the national Ataxia charity – here.

Click here for the Justice for Daniel Roque Hall facebook page.

Click here to sign the Justice for Daniel Roque Hall petition.

SWAN understands that John McDonnell MP has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling on the Home Secretary to intervene in Daniel’s case on humanitarian grounds. Please contact your MP and ask him / her to sign EDM 631; there is an outside chance it may lead to a debate in the House of Commons.

Finally, please see the video below made a couple of months ago, when Daniel was still in Wormwood Scrubs.


SWAN Conf 2013: Call for papers and workshops

‘Defeating the politics of austerity: creating an alternative future’

Call for Papers and Workshop Proposals

As we move towards 2013 and society becomes increasingly unequal with social protection perilously eroded, the neoliberal consensus around austerity is starting to falter and fracture.

Social workers and care employees work with families and communities struggling with the cumulative impact of cuts: parents who are forced to choose between feeding their children and paying the rent; people who are out of work or forced onto ‘workfare’ programmes; disabled people who are vilified by the government and media as unproductive scroungers while having their support for independence and employment snatched away from them. Whilst retrenchment deepens, marketisation progresses in social care as multinational companies such as Serco, G4S and Virgin profit from welfare delivery.  Meanwhile, the UK government ‘s collusion with News Corp, rate-fixing by Barclays Bank and the reduction of the top rate of tax on the rich all underline social injustice and feed the anger of people already enslaved to paying for an economic crisis caused by a pursuit of the free market.

Social workers and social care workers are themselves attacked through redundancies, pay cuts and higher workloads; many struggle to practice ethically whilst expected to work with the context of welfare cuts.

Yet social workers and service users are also witnessing and participating in the fight back to defend the welfare state. Likewise, they are involved in social movements that are developing alternative visions of social care and welfare based on collective benefit.  This year’s SWAN conference will provide an opportunity to share strategies in the struggle against cuts and marketisation of services, and to challenge the hardship these create. Join social work and care practitioners, service users, carers, educators, students and other activists to defend, debate and create alternative visions of social care and welfare.

We welcome papers and workshop proposals on the main conference themes:

•    Privatisation in care (e.g. G4S, Virgin, Atos): alternatives to outsourcing
•    The disability movement
•    Anti-racist/anti-fascist social work practice
•    Work with asylum seekers
•    Women and the cuts
•    User-led groups and community campaigns
•    How to do it in practice: radical social work in 2013 in state and voluntary sector social work
•    Radical social work education
•    Big society vs big state – should we take sides? Big Society, community social work and the role of the state in the provision of social work services.
•    Other themes relevant to the conference

We would like to encourage activists and practitioners as well as academics to submit ideas.  We hope to have workshops where people can engage in debate as well as having more formal papers presented.

Please send proposals (200 – 300 words) to swanconf2013 [at] gmail.com by 31st January 2013 and indicate the aims of the session, whether presentation or workshop and the content.  Please include a cover sheet with your name and contact details.  You will receive confirmation of whether your proposal is accepted in early March 2013. All those who are accepted to present at the conference must book a place at the conference.

Make payment for SWAN conference 2013

The fees for the conference are as follows:
£15 Students/service users
£25 Practitioners
£35 Academics
£65 With institutional support /Solidarity price
Free For asylum seekers

If you can, please pay the solidarity price. This enables us to charge less for those on low incomes. 

SWAN is committed to facilitating participation of all those interested in its activities.  Please contact us – swanconf2013 [at] gmail.com – if you have concerns about costs.

There are three ways to book for the SWAN Conference 2013:


In order to do this you must have or register for a PayPal account.

– Visit https://www.paypal.com/uk/webapps/mpp/send
– Login to site or register new account
– Select ‘Send Money’ tab
– In ‘To’ box, write swanconf2013@gmail.com
– In ‘Amount’ box, enter the relevant fee for the ticket you are buying (see above) – ensure currency is GBP – British Pounds
– Click continue and pay.

NB: Paying by PayPal will charge you a small fee on top of the regular charges. Do not worry about the suggestion that you have paid Social Work Action Network West Midlands – we are reusing a PayPal account from a previous SWAN conference.


Please log in to your online bank account and transfer the relevant amount to:

Account Name: London Social Work Action Network (SWAN)
Account Number: 20244231
Sort Code: 086001


Please make cheques for the relevant amount payable to’London Social Work Action Network (SWAN)’

Please then send the cheque listing details of your name and email address (for us to confirm payment) to:

SWAN Conference 2013
HSC Faculty
London South Bank University
103 Borough Road


You will receive an email from swanconf2013@gmail.com when you have booked a place successfully (i.e. you have registered and completed payment). Please bear with us as the nature of the payment processes – especially receiving cheques and paying them in – takes some time.

‘Doing Radical Social Work Today?’ free workshop on 17 October, Birmingham

The speakers are Liz Davies and Phil Frampton, both social care campaigners. Liz Davies has worked tirelessly as a Social Work Campaigner, from her exposure of child abuse scandal in Islington when Margaret Hodge was then Council Leader, to her support for the Jersey child abuse survivors. She was an expert witness for Victoria Climbie’s social worker. Phil Frampton was born and raised in care. A lifelong campaigner, Phil is the author of several books including the critically acclaimed ‘The Golly in the Cupboard’.

The event takes place in Room 714, Muirhead Tower, University of Birmingham from 16.30 – 19:00 (food and light refreshments are available from 16:30.

To reserve a place – email swanwestmidlands [at] googlemail.com

Please the flyer below for more information.

Reflections on the Rochdale Report

The main recommendations of the Report from the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board (RBSCB) focus on the need to raise awareness of sexual exploitation and grooming amongst young people, more training and clearer procedures for professionals working with children and young people at risk, closer links with communities and improved multi-agency working.

These proposals are fine as far as they go. In important respects, however, they dodge the real issues.  Awareness-raising work in schools, for example, like youth work in general, has in the past usually been carried out by voluntary organisations which are funded by local authorities.  Voluntary organisations, however, have been amongst the main victims of the Coalitions’ cuts. Where they do continue to receive funding, it is likely to be only for direct work with service users, not for the kind of preventative work which reaches young people more widely.

Similarly, more training and clearer procedures sound good but in the absence of additional resources, these can simply become a means of shifting the responsibility – and the blame – onto already hard-pressed front-line workers (‘she’d had the training – she should have known’ or ‘he failed to follow procedures’).  

It’s ironic that the report should call for closer links between professionals and the community. Back in the 1980s, community social work was precisely about trying to build these kinds of links.  Since the introduction of the market into social work and social care in the early 1990s, however, the trend has been towards locating social workers in huge call centres, often run by private companies like BT or SERCO and very far from the communities they are supposed to serve. One of the saddest parts of this report is where it discusses the fear and isolation these young girls felt.   For them, with a couple of exceptions, none of the major agencies involved – and especially the Police and the Children’s Social Care Service – were interested in listening to them.  

That underlines what is perhaps the main point of the report. Very few professionals – and least of all the police and the Crown Prosecution Service – were really prepared to listen to what these girls were saying, let alone act on it. Astonishingly, children in their early teens, several of whom were in residential care, were seen by these agencies not as victims of abuse but as ‘perpetrators’, making sexual choices.  That reflects the reality of life for many young people who end up in care due to neglect, abuse or family problems and are then seen not as kids in need of help and support but as ‘problems’. And a combination of cuts and a contract culture which requires voluntary and private organisations to cut staffing levels even further means there is even less support for them than previously.  It’s perhaps not so surprising then that in 2009, two 14-year olds walked out of the residential care home they were staying in near Glasgow and threw themselves from the nearby Erskine Bridge. If there’s one lesson to emerge from this experience – it’s the need to listen to – and act on –  what young people in need are saying, not the alleged ‘political correctness’ of hard-pressed frontline workers.