Book here for the National Conference 15-16th April 2011

Conference registration costs:

£15 Unwaged/student/service user

£45 Waged

£65 With institutional support*/Solidarity price**

Free For asylum seekers

* This is for those whose conference booking will be paid for by their employer, trade union branch or other organisation.

** We are asking those who are waged and can afford to do so to pay the solidarity price. This enables us to charge a lower fee to those on low incomes.

Please contact us if you have any concerns about costs.

There are several ways to pay for your conference booking. You can pay online by PAYPAL or BANK TRANSFER, or send us a CHEQUE. See below for more information on these payment methods.


Log in to internet banking.

Click on ‘Set Up a New Payment’, ‘Make a payment’ or similar.

Enter the following information:

PAYEE:                           SWAN West Midlands

SORT CODE:                 08 60 01

ACCOUNT NUMBER:    20254551

REFERENCE:                (Add name of person registering for the conference here)

AMOUNT:                       (See ‘Conference Registration Costs’ above)

Once you have made this transfer please complete the Conference registration form by clicking here.


You can also pay for the conference via PayPal. However please note this includes a small extra amount to cover Paypal’s charges (these extra charges do NOT apply to payment by bank transfer or cheque).  Therefore to book using Paypal please add the following amounts:

Total to pay

Student/Service User/Unwaged:

add £0.75



add £1.75


Institutional Support/Solidarity Price:

add £2.50


You do not need a Paypal account to do this.

Just go to:
On the header tab select ‘Send Money’.

In the ‘To’ box enter:

In the ‘From’ box below enter your email address.

Click on ‘Personal’ then ‘Other’. Click ‘Continue’

If you already have a Paypal account log in and make your payment.

If you do not have a Paypal account follow the instructions on the ‘Send Money’ page. You will need to enter your credit/debit card and other details.

If you get stuck use Paypal ‘Help’

Once you have made this Paypal transfer please complete the Conference registration form by clicking here.


Please send your cheque to the following address:

SWAN Conference 2011,

c/o IASS,

8th Floor Muirhead Tower,
University of Birmingham,

B15 2TT

Please make cheques payable to: ‘Social Work Action Network West Midlands’, and write the name and address of the person registering for the conference on the back of the cheque.

Whichever payment type you have chosen please remember to complete a registration form. You can either fill in the online registration form by clicking HERE or send a completed paper copy of the registration form – found on the Conference flyer HERE – with your cheque.

Thanks for your booking and for taking the time to complete the online registration form. If you have any queries or problems with the registration or payment process, please email us at


Call for proposals – SWAN conference 2012

We would particularly welcome contributions that consider: “Whatever happened to anti-racist social work?”, Transgendered issues in social work and social care, building alliances for resistance, social work and social movements, social work and women’s oppression – and any other relevant social work or social care issue.

Proposals should be 300 words or less and should indicate the aims of the session, the style of presentation and the content. Please include a cover sheet with your name, email and contact details. Please submit your proposal to both Laura Penketh ( e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and Nigel Kelleher ( e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it )

The Social Work Action Network Constitution

(Agreed at SWAN National Conference, Bath September 2009)

1. SWAN – What we stand for.

The Social Work Action Network (SWAN) is a radical, campaigning organisation of social work and social care practitioners, students, service users, carers and academics, united by our concern that social work practice is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions. While recognizing that social work is one of the mechanisms through which the State controls the behaviours of poor families, we believe nevertheless that social work is a valuable activity which can help people address the problems and difficulties in their lives. Many of these difficulties are rooted in the inequalities and oppressions of the modern world and good social work necessarily involves confronting the structural and public causes of so many private ills.

2. Aims and Objectives.

i) To promote a model of social work practice which is rooted in the value of social justice, which seeks to advocate alongside, and on behalf of, carers and service users and which values both individual relationship-based practice and also collective approaches;

ii) To challenge the domination of social work and social care services by managerialist perspectives and practices  which prioritise budgets, targets and outcomes over the needs of the people who use these services;

iii) To bring together practitioners, students, carers, service users and academics through regular conferences and campaigning activities in support of the above objectives, and to strengthen the radical voice within social work practice, education and wider social policy debates;

iv) To work alongside existing social work, social care and carer and service user organisations, including UNISON and BASW, to promote strong collective organisation and, wherever possible, to campaign jointly around specific issues.

3. Membership

Membership of SWAN shall be open to social work and social care students, academics, carers and service users, and to anyone working in the field of social work and social care who supports the aims of SWAN (as outlined in section 2 above) and who pays an annual membership fee to be agreed at annual conference.

The annual fee shall be agreed each year at national conference. For the period September 2009 to September 2010 the membership fee is £10. The fee for students and service users is £5. Asylum seekers are eligible to free membership.

4. SWAN structure and organization

SWAN is a democratic, grass-roots, membership-controlled organization, which aims to support and promote both local and national initiatives, in line with SWAN’s aims as outlined in section 2 above. As a matter of both principle and resource considerations, any additional layers of organization should be kept to a minimum.

SWAN is committed to the principles of anti-oppressive social work and, therefore, membership of far-right, Nazi organizations like the BNP is incompatible with membership of SWAN.

5. Conference

i)  Annual conference is the sovereign body of SWAN, where policies are debated and agreed upon, and where elections take place.

ii) A national steering committee of 12 people will be elected each year by SWAN Supporters at conference and will be accountable to conference.

iii) In addition, conference shall elect the following office bearers:

a) National Convenor

b) Deputy Convenor

c) Treasurer

Baby P and the case of the Greek “home care” project: two faces of the same coin

What most of the colleagues don’t know –since the media where preoccupied with the aforementioned theme- is that on the same day thousands of Greek social workers and social care practitioners went on strike and took to the streets demonstrating. It was only the first time in 50 years that social workers massively challenged the victimisation of their service users and the deterioration of their working conditions. The industrial action was triggered by the decision of the Greek government to exclude local authority welfare projects from the National Budget and thus ask them to face the horrific dilemma: privatisation or closure.

The early signs of such a development became clear few years ago, when the government ordered local authorities to create their own “private entities” in order to manage the public funding related to the welfare projects. Both social workers and service users faced the consequences of such a decision straight away: unmanageable caseloads, extended working hours and significant delays in payments and salaries. As the practitioners’ Union reveals the majority of social workers have not being paid for over four months. And yet, despite all these fierce attacks, social workers remained on the front line working unpaid in order to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of service users. As in the case of British social workers, Greek colleagues prove and justify their genuine commitment to social justice and equality on a day to day basis, constantly fighting at the front line against the grim consequences of neo-liberalism and managerialism.

“Social justice and universal public welfare” is at the top of their demands while they demonstrate with dignity and determination at the streets of Athens. However, the kind of justice social workers are fighting for has nothing to do with the disorientating and vitriolic abuse of the term that decorates the tabloid front-pages these days. It is a continuous battle to protect service users’ human rights, secure decent working conditions and contribute to the creation of an equal society. The 13th of November appears to be a day when an interesting coincidence occurred; it also the day when Greek social care workers decide to stand up and fight back.