Resisting the Austerity Agenda: Engage in the General Election

Well, assuming that other people will do it clearly won’t work. Despite this being the first time in decades that opposition parties have presented so many pro-welfare state policies, much of the public remains exhausted, mistrustful and unable to conceive of anything other than ‘better the devil you know’. Our media has fallen for the Tory tactic of staying very quiet, and is failing to scrutinise their last 7 years in power. The British political landscape is complex and at times frightening. The need for us to engage, to speak with neighbours, colleagues, friends, strangers, has never been greater. 

SWAN does not affiliate with any one party, but calls on everyone to use their vote as a vote against austerity and racism. Use your vote to demand a properly funded welfare state free from vulturine private companies.

Please create or assist in voter registration schemes over the next week. Those living with disability, with mental illness, women and students in particular have the power to change our lives – let’s get people registered! 

Please host public meetings with other public interest/campaign or charitable groups in your area. Invite political candidates to come and ask them some hard questions! We have attached a flyer with 5 questions covering Brexit; the NHS; privatisation of social work; health and social care and the refugee experience. Use and share this flyer! 


Disability Studies: Austerity and Precariousness Seminar Series

Please find here an Introductory You Tube video, and an Eventbrite link for tickets and a full timetable for the day.

Disability studies is a scholarly movement that engages with interdisciplinary insights into the construction(s) of disability and ableist-normativity and what these dividing practices means for social policy, social care, legal regimes and biopolitics more generally. Precariousness ‘implies living socially, that is, the fact that one’s life is always in some sense in the hands of the other. It implies exposure both to those we know and to those we do not know; a dependency on people we know or know not at all’ (Butler, 2009, 14).
Precariousness can be a significant measure of the efficacy of social policy and law.  This seminar series will bring together researchers whose work focuses on the marginal, the aberrant, disabled people, displaced persons and the trans/categorically ‘othered’ to explore austerus, those ‘dry, harsh and sour’ landscapes of thinking about difference, variability and the increasing (re)turn to classifying populations creating inside and outwith zones of belonging and exclusion.
This series is sponsored by:
(Dis)places: Embodiment and community in critical and creative motion
(Dis)places: is a new grouping that goes by a name that is emblematic of its intended flexibility, critically and creative, without us taking ourselves too seriously. The ‘dis’ element, reflects, firstly, the School’s historical and continuing strengths in disability-related research – broadly defined. Bracketing it alongside ‘places’ draws attention to our interest in marginal spaces – physical, political, educational, cultural, economic, etc. – in which disabled people, as well as other groups and communities, find themselves. (Dis)places: Embodiment and community in critical and creative motion highlights the broad disciplinary base of our group – humanities, theology, social sciences (pure and applied), as well as making links with creative arts.

Swan Dundee: Meeting Mark McDonald MSP on June 7th

As per the Minister’s request, it is now arranged that the Dundee SWAN students will be meeting with Mark McDonald (Scottish government minister for children and early years) on June 7 at Holyrood. Items on the agenda will include our objectives as an activism group and how the Scottish government might support our actions, and also to give him our views on the vision and strategy for a social work paper they’re currently implementing… Watch this space!

Your Steering Committee for 2017/18

Here are our names:

Malcolm Jones – Practitioner

Neil Quinn – Social Worker

Mark Baldwin – Retired academic/practitioner

Rich Moth – Academic

Linda Smith – Academic

Alissa De Luca-Ruane – MSW Graduate

Natalia Farmer – SW Student

Bob Williams Findlay – Campaigner

Norah Adeyemo – Social Worker

Dan Morton – Social Worker

Maria-Ines Martinez – Academic

Gaynor Murray – Social Worker

Vasilios Ioakimidis – Academic

Iain Ferguson – Academic

Rachel Natanson – SW Student

Terry Murphy – Academic

Carol Derbyshire – SW Student

Michael Lavalette – Academic

You can contact any of us via We welcome all input, and are here to facilitate as much regional activity as possible. Get in touch to find your nearest group.

Swan Scotland Open Event, 23rd May: Supporting Refugees, Challenging Racism

Social Work Action Network (Scotland) Open Meeting
‘Supporting refugees, challenging racism”
Tuesday May 23rd  – Room A426f – The Govan Mbeki building, Glasgow Caledonian University  –    6-8pm
Iain Ferguson, SWAN Steering Committee: After the 2017 SWAN Conference: where next for SWAN? 
Natalia Farmer, PhD student, Glasgow Caledonian University will present her research findings on  Social Services Support for Destitute Migrant Families with ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF)
Dundee University SWAN students, winners of the 2017 SASW Special Award for Leadership, will show their moving and powerful film recording ttheir visit to the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais  in 2017 and discuss their activities since then.
Chair: Norah Adeyemo, Glasgow UNISON shop steward and Co-convenor, SWAN Scotland
Tea, coffee and biscuits will be served from 5.30pm
All welcome!
Please share.

UNISON Responds To NAAS With Strong Criticism


Unison released this article yesterday, drawing attention to the lack of support amongst social workers for the new accreditation scheme. With so little support, the only question remains why is this such a focus for the government? This topic is being covered in a workshop at our conference 8th and 9th April, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Timetable For 2017 Conference – Middlesborough

Conference Timetable




                 PLENARY 1 – RACISM AND REFUGEES

2.30-2.45PM: COFFEE BREAK 









11.30-11.45AM: COFFEE BREAK 

11.45-12.45PM: WORKSHOP STREAM 2




SWAN Dundee Award: SASW Press Release

The dedication and achievement of social workers across Scotland was recognised when Childcare and Early Years Minister Mark McDonald presented the SASW Social Work Awards on Tuesday.

The annual Scottish Association of Social Work awards were held in Edinburgh on World Social Work Day before an audience of 120 guests, including social workers and people who use services who had come along to support their nominations.

People were invited to demonstrate their practice under the World Social Work Day 2017 theme of “Promoting community and environmental sustainability”.

This year awards were made in four categories and judged by a panel of SASW committee members and staff. There were also a number of Special Awards for Leadership, Collaborative Working and Recognition by Users of Services.

Guests were entertained by the Edinburgh Phoenix Soul & Gospel Choir and poet and performer Ellen Renton, originally from Edinburgh and now based in Glasgow.

Mark McDonald, Minister for Childcare and Early Years, said: “Every day social workers make a direct and critical contribution to our shared goal of building a fairer, more equal and socially just and inclusive Scotland.

“Social work changes lives and social workers should be proud of that. Social work matters and it is a profession that everyone in Scotland needs to value, support and protect.

“All the nominees demonstrate that challenge and change can bring real opportunities to do things differently to enable people to have better lives and it is from these opportunities that we hear the most inspiring stories. I want to congratulate everyone who took part – you truly are a credit to your profession.”

SASW Manager Trisha Hall said: “Social workers are a small but vital part of the social services workforce in Scotland. With this celebration, we also aim to highlight all the other social workers united by the unique professional identity our association promotes and supports.

“The examples and stories that we share on the night are reflections of work which supports but crucially also protects, enables and empowers individuals and communities in what can be extremely difficult circumstances. It makes us proud to be social workers in Scotland.”

The winners in each category are given below:

Social Worker of the Year

WINNER: Ailsa Rainnie, Social Worker, Care and Learning Children’s Services, Highland Council

Newly qualified Ailsa is described quite simply as a “breath of fresh air” by colleagues and service users alike. Her approach to young people is inclusive and her attitude clear but non-judgmental. Where possible, she focuses on the need for families to achieve sustained change so that they can carry on without social work support. Creative and reflective, she is always open to different ways of doing things.

Social Work Team of the Year

WINNER: Women Who Offend Team, Fife Council

From the outset, this team has been proactive in working with partners including housing, community learning and development, NHS and voluntary organisations such as SACRO. It also set up WINGS, a one-stop shop where women can receive a wide range of services. WINGS now offers sessions in five areas of Fife resulting in significant increases in women accessing services and taking part in activities.

Student Social Worker of the Year

WINNER: Kazamira McGroarty, Dumfries and Galloway Council, University of the West of Scotland

Kazamira’s strong ethical base was shown on placement when she supported a 15-year-old victim of a serious sexual assault. The young person had little trust in social work but Kazamira managed to have frank discussions about sexual activities, substance misuse and keeping safe. The young person did not want to press charges and despite police pressure Kazamira stood firm on the right to choose.

Practice Teacher of the Year

WINNER: Jim Paul, Senior Social Worker, Dumfries and Galloway Council

Jim consistently delivers a high quality service to his students and also the children and families he works with every day as a newly appointed senior social worker. Not only is he a remarkable social worker and practice teacher with a great sense of humour, he can also deal with serious issues with compassion and dedication. He is seen as the ‘go to’ man whenever people need help in the team.

Special Award: Recognition by Users of Services

WINNER: Diane Morrow, Social Worker, Easter Ross Community Mental Health Team

Diana works with very vulnerable people whose lives have been turned around and they are now living in the community. Friendly and approachable, she always treats people with dignity and respect. One service user says: “Every time we meet up she has been very polite, respectful of how I feel, supports me to make realistic goals and encourages me to meet them. I believe we need thousands more like her.”

Special Award: Best Example of Collaborative Working in Integrated Setting

WINNER: Care at Home Team, West Dunbartonshire

More and more older people are living independently at home through the dedicated work of this team of skilled staff. The team forms a crucial part of the partnership’s integrated provision for older people and those in need. As well as an excellent core service, it created an integrated out of hours care at home and district nursing service to respond more effectively to risks and avoid unnecessary hospital admissions.

Special Award: Leadership in Social Work

WINNER: Dundee University Student Social Work Action Network

This dedicated band of social work students has worked hard to not only become one of the most active branches of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN) in the country but also help change how students learn and develop. Last summer, three students travelled to the camp for displaced people in Calais to show solidarity, deliver aid and contribute to a report into mental health and human rights violations.

Photo Credit: Graham Clark

We Welcome Swan Lancaster!

Here is an update from their very first meeting!

“Due to a mix of students with different responsibilities we have decided to run daytime and evenings sessions.
So our first meeting of the week happened on Monday 13th March, we were joined by John Garman who came to give us a talk about the A21 Campaign Really thought provoking and inspiring, some of the stories he shared from survivors were harrowing but truly inspiring. We had a good discussion about how we can support his work here at the university, raising awareness around the issue of Human Trafficking. Greater awareness and action is needed regarding the significance this threat poses to the unaccompanied refugee minors currently being denied access into the UK due to the DUBs Amendment being scrapped! We also talked about some of the implications for our future practice. We will be meeting again to discuss how we can work together in the future.
This was followed by an evening meeting on Tuesday 14th March where we screened ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and had a post screening discussion around welfare issues, and the many problems surrounding the ‘outsourcing’ of PIP and ESA assessments. The evening was attended by representatives from the BA and MA programmes as well as lecturers from the department. 
Our next planned event is attending the SWAN Conference on 8th-9th April!! We are really looking forward to meeting with fellow like-minded individuals, finding out how we can get involved with future and current campaigns working together for a fairer, safer future for everyone.
We also now have a facebook group – Social Work Action Network Lancaster University and a twitter account @LancasterSwan.
Look forward to seeing you at the conference! Not long now…..”

Conference 2017: Students Accessing Group Accommodation

Some of you are staying in the University’s student accommodation. In order to avoid charging delegates a cleaning fee, we are asking you to bring your own sleeping bags and toiletries. Each room is a single, and will have a bed but no bedding! 

This conference is shaping up to be an excellent event for students – something quite special. We are really looking forward to having you there!