Our one day event in Glasgow is limited to only 300 people, so tickets are hot property. Don’t miss out. With the bleak news regarding student social work bursaries making headlines, never has there been a more important time to offer students space to debate the realities of contemporary social work. Swan’s student conference offers you a unique chance to hear from service users, team leaders in statutory services, academics such as Stephen Webb, activists and journalists. This opportunity is not to be missed, so rare are the chances when studying to engage in this type of debate with such wonderful speakers.
The deadline for written evidence is on Friday, March 4th which is 3 weeks from today. All the details for submitting can be found here.
Sandwell Unison today announced plans to strike if their children’s services are handed over to an independent trust – i.e. removed from the council. Read the article here. The government appears determined to privatise and outsource public sector services and we here have a chance to offer feedback. Have your say!
We are over the moon to open booking for Saturday 4th June at The Friends House (173 Euston Road, NW1 2AX) in London. Our one day event will run from 9am until 5pm, and we are looking forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. Our conferences are always energetic, inspiring and unique in the social work annual events calendar. They are not to be missed. This year in particular, despite having only one day, promises to be an essential event as privatisation, cuts and ideological attacks upon the profession and it’s service users increases. Solidarity is key – come join us.
The last few weeks have certainly been interesting with some eyebrow-raising moments, such as when the Government decided to tell us all that a ‘new’ regulator for the social work profession was in the pipeline. This was the last thing many of us thought was coming, but this Government is certainly full of surprises. The question on everyone’s mind was “haven’t we already been here before?”. It seems such a long time since The College of Social Work closed. Just when most of us thought social work was moving on, it seems as if the profession once again is being pushed backwards. If the past is anything to learn from, then it seems this is another move in the wrong direction! Of course, social workers want to do their job and have a regulator to support them, but to be told rather than to be involved in the discussion about a ‘new’ regulator is not a well-played move. If anyone should steer the social work profession in the right direction it should be practitioners themselves, as they are best placed to advise all and bring forward their first hand experience of what front line practice is really like.
The profession has many exceptionally talented people that can speak up for it, but it needs more practising social workers to voice their concerns. A wise man once said ‘when in a dark room switch on the light’! Social work does not lack talent, rather social workers are not being enthused enough to speak about the excellent work they do and are not being valued – leading to practitioners leaving the profession. The government does understand social work, but it is threatened by it’s engagement with social justice and is therefore forcing through damaging changes that distance social work from it’s core purpose and values, which makes the profession so unique. The elephant in the room here is how to help social workers to speak up and let them tell the government in their words about what they do. Yes, there are some examples of this happening but it is obviously not enough. The government is assured that the changes are in THEIR best interest and are in no way worried about social work’s best interests. Recently, a close friend said to me “We need more of you” and I said “There are more of us, in fact I think there is approximately 90,000 of us”. This is a time for social workers to be bold and it is practitioners who should be writing the chapters rather than having someone else write the book for us. Let us not be led, rather let us lead! And, let us be the force to be reckoned with!
Carpe diem – “Seize the day”
Imran A. Mohammed
One of the main outcomes was that, we as Social Work Students, feel that there can and should be more awareness raised amongst the Social Work student body regarding the current international, national and local issues which impact on our society and contribute towards social injustice and the suppression of anti-oppressive and relationship based practice within the field.
However, the support and understanding we as students received from current professionals in the field, educators and representatives of SWAN and other bodies has given us the impetus to organise and set-up our own student group; we hope this will allow us to discuss topics and issues relevant to social work practice and therefore provide a worthwhile contribution to future SWAN events. It was agreed by all that being able to share our concerns and beliefs within this environment helped assure us that not only can we contribute to promoting effective change within suppressive, managerial and neo-liberal structures and practices, but that we will also be supported and be able to draw upon the knowledge and experience of qualified professionals who share the same values and beliefs.
“We feel that Social Work Education is, in some parts, failing its students and students are also, in parts, failing to educate themselves… As a result we may be entering the profession unprepared to promote a more socially just society and challenge anti-oppressive approaches to practice. It is hoped SSWAND will provide an added resource to Social Work Education and promote a more inclusive approach to learning and awareness of all issues relevant to Social Work practice”
(Social Work Students, Dundee University, February 2016)
Congratulations to Swan Dundee and Student Swan Dundee on their first meeting!
Those wishing to learn more about SWAN in Dundee can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can do your bit to get candidates to endorse the charter by emailing them and sending them to the link to the online petition containing the charter and 12 point reform programme. The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/irish-government-call-for-government-to-support-swan-s-urgent-12-point-reform-charter
You can find your local candidates details here: http://www.wheel.ie/election2016_Voters
Make sure to tell the candidates to include their party/affiliation when they sign and tell them why signing the charter is important to you.
SWAN supporters are also asked to support the principles in the Charter.
Thanks for doing your bit for social justice ahead of #GE16. Let us know how you get on and who signs the charter by tweeting us @SWAN_IRL or find us on Facebook at “Social Work Action Network Ireland”.
The SWAN Ireland National Steering Committee
- All social work and probation vacancies will be filled;
- The salaries of newly qualified social workers will be those negotiated with the trade unions. No moves will be made to cut the salaries of new workers, neither should social work students be used to ‘fill the gaps’, acting as temporary substitutes for unfilled, paid posts. Jobsbridge and similar ‘workfare’ schemes will be immediately terminated;
- In order to prevent the continuing displacement and impoverishment of children and their families, the government will begin an immediate programme of building 40,000 social houses over its lifetime in government, as part of an overall strategy to deal with homelessness and the housing crisis.
- Quality public sector home-care services will be drastically increased to enable more elderly people to remain at home, and adequate structures will be put in place to ensure the voices of older people are central to the provision of care packages.
- The full implementation of ‘Vision for Change’ will occur with particular attention being given to the reform of manifestly inadequate addiction services, with specific emphasis on embedding interagency working with people present with multiple and complex needs;
- A nationwide 24-hour social work service, staffed by a dedicated team of practitioners, will be established. This service will not be founded on social workers being compelled to fulfil a role in this service on a rota basis;
- Travellers will be recognised as a ‘minority ethnic’ population within the state;
- All prisoners will be guaranteed timely access to a social worker;
- In line with the state’s human rights obligations, emergency measures will be put in place to address the conditions, amounting to institutionalised abuse, encountered by children and their families within the ‘direct provision’ system. Children will be safeguarded and protected and their rights, identified in the UN Convention, will be respected. The systemic exclusion of asylum seekers from daily life and civil society will cease.
- The Habitual Resident Condition which is punitive and has prompted hardship and distress will be scrapped;
- Immediate action will be taken to meaningfully address the global refugee crisis;
- Ratification of the UN Declaration on the Rights for People with disabilities will occur.
Please click on the following link to book your place at this inaugural student conference:
Don’t miss the chance to hear high profile speakers cover a range of relevant topics. Open to all students.
Find attached both a flier and a timetable for the afternoon. Share within your networks.