Solidarity With West Dunbartonshire

In June, West Dunbartonshire workers took the decision to vote for strike action, should their working conditions fail to immediately improve.

SWAN Stands In Solidarity With West Dunbartonshire’s Social Workers As They Vote To Strike

The needs and safety of vulnerable children and their families are being jeopardised by the unsafe working conditions of their social workers, say West Dunbartonshire’s Unison members. SWAN condemns the closure of offices, forcing staff to work in inappropriate environments away from their colleagues, away from support, and requiring long travel distances. SWAN condemns high workloads that are preventing social workers from being able to offer each child and family what they are entitled to from social care services – and what we are legally obliged to provide.

Scotland is not sheltered from the UK Government’s waging of war upon the most deprived people in our society. The decimation of public sector funding and resources has resulted in fear, insecurity and anxiety for workers and service users alike. Strike action and workers’ resistance is the key to real change. It shines a light on the willingness of management to abandon their responsibilities and leave staff to face the serious consequences. We have seen, after the walkout of the homeless case workers and the successful Equal Pay strike within Glasgow, that united disruptive action gets results. 

SWAN offers our full support to the social workers who have voted to strike in West Dunbartonshire, should significant changes fail to materialise swiftly. Solidarity Meetings amongst our members are being organised in response. We stand together against this dangerous erosion of good practice.

SWAN Steering Committee



Fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’ has called a rally against the BBC in Salford, Greater Manchester on Saturday 23 February. The convicted racist criminal has no right to be on our publicly paid TV service in the first place. The fraudster has sought to sow division, and the media have every right to criticise a man with a history of racist violence and fascist organisation. The former BNP member and EDL founder would like to remove the freedom of the press to criticise him so he’s free to whip up racism and Islamophobia.

Recently he targeted refugee children from Syria in Huddersfield in order to incite Islamophobia. Working people in Manchester have long rejected the toxic politics that Robinson stands for. Manchester is a proud multicultural city with Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, LGBT+ communities. We should stand in unity against this Nazi thug.

Saturday 23 February, 11am BBC Television Studios, Salford Quays, Salford M50 2QH

Hosted by Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism

Submit your proposals for workshops at the #SWAN2019 Conference!

This year’s Swan conference is a fast paced one day affair, with a huge number of speakers available for your enjoyment. Nevertheless, we are reserving space for 20 workshops to run during the very popular Workshop Stream.

We are inviting you to submit proposals relevant to the topics covered during the conference, the full schedule of which is available here.

Swan aims to promote diversity and inclusivity within its timetable. The workshop stream is a great opportunity for often marginalised voices to be heard and for international perspectives to be presented.

Papers can be presentations (speaker focused) or workshops (interactive), but must run for no more than 20 minutes, and 10 minutes will be allocated for audience questions.



Radical Social Work In Tumultuous Times: Fighting For Equality and Social Justice!

We are pleased to announce that booking is now open for our annual conference on the 6th April. This year’s conference is a one day affair, packed to the rafters with speakers of outstanding calibre representing local campaign groups, families and individuals working with social workers and professionals from across the social work world.

Book here!

The conference takes place against a backdrop of growing economic crisis, continuing austerity, Government meltdown over Brexit and the growth of right-wing populism and racism (in the UK and internationally). From Brazil to Hungary, right wing politicians are trying to push back gains made over generations for women’s, LGBT+, workers and indigenous rights.

But it’s not all gone their way. Over the last year we have witnessed the magnificent victory for women’s rights in 8th Amendment campaign in Ireland and the growth of the anti-austerity ‘yellow vest’ movement in France.

What has been the impact of austerity and cuts on children’s, adults’ or mental health services? In the face of managerialism, how do we retain our values? How do we counter the rise of racism and Islamophobia? What do we say to counter Transphobia? How do we support refugee rights? How can we support the struggles of Palestinians?

These and similar questions will be addressed at this year’s SWAN conference. To enrich the debate we have a fantastic list of speakers, including:

  • Gill Archer (Unison national officer)
  • Prof Brid Featherstone (Uni of Huddersfield)
  • Professor Dave Whyte (University of Liverpool)
  • Dr Dave Scott (Open University)
  • Nahella Ashraf (Stand Up To Racism)
  • Bob Findlay Williams (DPAC)

We also have sessions run by campaigning social work organisations like Social Work Without Borders (SWWB), UK/Pal Social Work Network, the Campaign Against Prison Expansion (CAPE), and In Defence of Youth Work (IDYW)

Book here!

To top it all off there will be a range of stalls from campaigning organisations and a bookshop selling radical books and merchandise.

The conference is exceptionally cheap, £15 for students and £20 for non-students (and we have 50 free places for refugees and service users).

The price even includes teas and coffees and a packed lunch.

If you would like one of the free places, please email

For the FULL SCHEDULE please click here.

Social Workers invited to Palestine April 2019 with PALUK.

Proposed Social Work trip to Palestine April 2019

Palestine UK Social Work Network (PALUK)

This Network was conceived following the launch of the Global Development Agenda for Social Work, which was launched at the 2010 Biennial IFSW Global Conference.

Under the auspices of this agenda we have sought to develop effective peer-to-peer social work relationships, between Palestinian practitioners and UK based practitioners.

In 2019 we are eager to renew our commitment to the network.  Our colleagues have continued to conduct their professional practice under the ongoing duress of occupation, and at considerable personal and professional risk. Over and above the daily restrictions of movement and harassment at checkpoints, several of our colleagues have either been killed through military actions, have been imprisoned or have had their family members arrested and imprisoned.

We are eager to continue to engage with our Palestinian colleagues. Whilst we have sought to continue to raise awareness about our understanding of their situation here in the UK, we would like to continue to be relevant partners to our colleagues. It is clear that the publicity generated here in the UK regarding the arrest and detention of a prominent social worker has helped to raise global awareness, and as such, has been valued by Palestinian colleagues.

PALUK successfully facilitated a delegation of nearly 50 UK social workers to Palestine in 2014, and this attracted great interest, as it was a tangible expression of global solidarity, for our professional colleagues.

It’s clearly time that we revisited this, or something similar. Those of us who were involved at the initial point had already read “Palestinian Walks: Notes on a Vanishing Landscape “ by the noted Palestinian author and civil rights campaigner Raja Shehadeh (2008). Further we were aware of the success and the impact of the BASW lead event in 2017 “Boot out Austerity” where the social work profession took a stance in raising awareness of the impact of the government’s policy of austerity on the lives of our clients. In essence, we feel that walking together as an act of solidarity, has a lengthy credentials.

Thus PALUK is proposing a trip for UK social workers to join with us on a walk in Palestine jointly with our Palestinian colleagues in April.  We will walk from the city of Nablus, through the Palestinian countryside and olive groves , staying with villagers for three days until we reach the city of Jericho. In addition we will visit the Freedom Theatre in Jenin and meet with colleagues there. We will visit the notorious Ofer Military courts in Ramallah, and visit projects in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron.

 This trip is being coordinated in partnership with our Palestinian colleagues and the Siraj Centre in Bethlehem, who have extensive experience in organizing such trips

Please see attached article re rambling in Palestine

Please note that we hope to film and document this trip for future use, and will seek the consent of participants prior to the trip

We also would like to draw up a draft list of participants  and please note we are restricted to 20-25 participants at most

For expressions of interest and further details regarding dates, price, itinerary, costs, and requirements, please e mail

SWAN statement on Bristol’s social care: When ‘Better Care’ means worse care.

Austerity hit Bristol City’s social care services – when “Better Care” is worse care.

The South West region of the Social Work Action Network (a nation-wide, radical, campaigning organisation of social work and social care practitioners, students, service users, carers and academics) has, in the past 9 months, been pursuing a campaign to persuade Bristol City Council that their Better Care scheme for adult care services in the city is having a detrimental effect on both service user well-being and social worker professional practice.

We wrote to the Director of Adult Care Services in March 2018 expressing our concerns, gleaned following a request for information from nearly 200 social workers, student social workers and service users in the South West of England.

SWAN concerns:

* There has been increased monitoring and scrutiny of service users, experienced by them as intrusive, reframed by managers as promoting independence but seen as cost-reducing in purpose.

* Social workers tell us that the cost reduction agenda is openly pushed by managers with little regard to service user need

* Service users tell us they are increasingly reluctant to contact adult care because they are scared that it may trigger an intrusive and oppressive review.

* Pre-payment cards are being used to control service users – again, social workers and service users believe, to reduce budgets.

* Management are pushing practices that would appear to be unlawful under Care Act guidance: e.g. assessments dependent on agreeing to accept a pre-payment card; offsetting carer support against personal budgets/packages of care.

* Social workers are experiencing dwindling community/voluntary resources but being put under pressure to refer service users to them because they are of no cost to the authority.

SWAN’s Conclusions

* SWAN believe that Bristol City Council Adult Care Services have listened respectfully to what we have to say.

* BCC accepts the problems of austerity and cuts but insist that the Better Lives model (bought for an undisclosed cost from Impower the social care consultancy firm) is good because it is both effective and social workers like it.

* The Council accepts that they need to ensure there is more discussion about these issues amongst social workers and this is going to be facilitated through the Social Work Board.

* They also accept that there needs to be far more service user involvement or co-production as they called it.

* Whilst SWAN is pleased to have been given a hearing and to have had some of its arguments accepted, we do not believe Adult Care Services are going to do anything about the poor state of services for older and disabled people in Bristol, beyond raising the issues internally.

* SWAN does not know how any progress will be monitored and evaluated.

* Fundamentally, there was no acceptance that a change of direction was required to make things better for both service users and social workers.

* SWAN believes that Bristol City Council needs to fight back against central government’s continuing policy of austerity which Bristol Council have put into action by making huge cuts to services at all levels.

* Bringing care services back into local authority democratic control would be a start to ensuring service users get the services they require, and for which the local authority would be accountable.

* The involvement of service users in the planning and delivery of services would ensure that those services meet their expressed needs.

More information and details of these concerns, and the Bristol City Council response

The Social Work Action Network (SWAN) is a radical, campaigning organisation of social work and social care practitioners, students, service users, carers and academics. We are united by, amongst other things, our concern to challenge the disastrous effect of austerity on social care, and 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 services. We campaign nationally and regionally against injustice and the marginalisation of service user’s interests and social work professionalism.

Some service users with substantial needs are required to keep detailed diaries of their daily living. Managers then require social workers to study the diaries, looking for parts of the day when care or support from personal assistants is not needed. Those periods (sometimes of only 15 minutes) are then totalled up and reframed as opportunities for independence, when care is not required. Their personal budgets are reduced accordingly. This is even being applied where an individual has been assessed as requiring 24 hour care for their safety and well-being.

Some service users have been allocated a pre-paid card to buy their care, as is their choice according to the law. We have information that service users are being

threatened with withdrawal of resources if they do not accept a pre-paid card even if they do not want one. The pre-paid card is like a credit card that has a service user’s personal budget added. They can then spend the amount allocated following assessment of their needs, on the services and resources that they believe will meet those assessed needs. It is useful for some service users but others find it intrusive and restrictive. Council like them because they can monitor expenditure more easily – how much is being spent, and on what. It also, as the manufacturers indicated in their sales pitch, means that Councils can reduce a service user’s allocation much more easily.

One area of focus for Bristol’s Better Lives programme is on community resources. SWAN is very committed to this as a way of working – ensuring service users can receive the services they require in their local communities, but again, the ravages of national austerity policy means there are fewer of these services available. We raised the issue of accessibility to these community resources. Social Workers are being pressured into referring service users to these services even though, without adequate transport or support available, they are not readily accessible.

SWAN strongly argues that genuine co-production with service-users is essential. It is our view that involvement by service users in policy, practice and service development in Bristol, is tokenistic and that BCC needs to prioritise this way of working. SWAN argue that knowledge and expertise required is already in the city, and that both Disabled People’s Organisations and SWAN are sources of advice.

Social Workers have given us information suggesting that BCC management is pressurising them to act unlawfully. 1) There is evidence of service users being told their level of personal budget is dependent on accepting a pre-paid card. 2) Social workers are being told to include care provided by relatives as part of their assessed needs. Both of these practices are outside of The Care Act guidance.

For further information please get in touch with the South West region SWAN contact:

Mark Baldwin (Dr), Senior Lecturer in Social Work (retired)

Mobile: 07757506472 Email:

Mental Health Social Workers Strike In Solidarity With Admin Workers

Mental health social workers join Avon and Wiltshire admin workers to protest against cuts to staffing at the NHS Trust.  

Administrative staff working for an NHS mental health Trust covering a large area of the South West of England are fighting bosses’attempts to drastically cut back on admin capacity, a move which local Unison reps say will severely jeopardise the quality and safety of mental health care.

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust (AWP) are proposing to save £500,000 by cutting and downgrading large swathes of admin staff. There is talk of 74 fewer Band 4 posts and staff forced to reapply for a reduced pool of Band 3 posts, with specialist medical secretary jobs, for example, absorbed into generic the Band 3 administrator role, and the introduction of cheaper Band 2 apprentices to fill some of the gaps.

As one admin worker commented, ‘It is difficult for me to accept that one day I will be coming into work on a Band 4 and the next I will be working on a Band 3, when my work will not have changed one iota.  The Job Descriptions may be new but the actual day-to-day work will be exactly the same.’ In fact, not only are both administrative and clinical staff already over-stretched in terms of workloads, but many admin staff are also working beyond their band.

Furthermore, this attack on what are overwhelmingly women workers goes completely against the Trust’s stated commitments to significantly narrow the already large gender pay gap in the AWP. 

The proposals come against a backdrop of a crisis nationally in mental health care.  On the 22nd October this year the Trade Union Congress (TUC) released a report showing how the decreasing provision of mental health services across the UK is coinciding with increasing demand (i.e. rising mental health need). Thus, over the last five years, the number of patients accessing mental health services in England has risen by a third (540,000), yet over the same period the number of mental health nurses, doctors and beds in the country has fallen. This has meant ‘huge pressure on the workforce and left mental health services struggling to staff services safely’, and consequently this ‘is ‘having a negative effect on patients who use these services and on the health and safety of the staff who provide them’ (p. 14) (TUC, 2018, Breaking Point: the crisis in mental health funding. Available at:

Whilst it’s complicated to calculate the scale of this cut to administrative capacity in the AWP, we are looking at up to a 40% reduction. Thus, in a context of a 34% rise in patient demand across of the South West of England (TUC, 2018), far fewer staff will be expected to cover the same (and growing) amount of work.

The proposals will have a very big impact on clinical staff, including social workers who perform care coordination and/or assessment roles, as well as other specialist clinical interventions. Reduced administrative support means even less space both to develop therapeutic relationships with service users and to properly reflect together with colleagues on our practice and to deepen understanding and skills outside a narrow medicalising framework.

Such implications are reflected in the solid support from clinicians for the admin workers’ campaign to oppose the administrative review proposals. A recent Unison-organised Day of Action on Thursday 6th December saw hundreds of AWP staff from a variety of professional specialisms engage in lunch time walk-outs across all the main localities of the Trust: North Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, and Wiltshire. Apart from immediate dangers to staff well-being, and quality and safety of care, clinical staff including social workers know very well that if these proposals go through, they will themselves be a lot more vulnerable to future restructuring and levelling down.

Unison is now preparing for an indicative ballot of admin staff as the next step towards industrial action against the proposed changes ,and will continue to liaise with health campaigners, service users and their family members/loved ones.

Messages of support please to

[photos at: ]  

Swan Pickets The SWA 2018 Ceremony: SWA Forced To Recognise Strength Of Feeling


SWAN and our supporters took the case against unethical corporate sponsorship to the Social Worker of the Year Awards and held a friendly picket outside London’s plush Royal Lancaster Hotel on Friday the 30th November, where the 2018 awards ceremony was being held. For over an hour we leafleted, spoke to sponsors, social workers, nominees and their guest arriving for the awards. We found that the majority of those who stopped to talk to us had already heard about the campaign, understood our case and fully supported what we were doing. This was a reflection of the widespread support we have had for this campaign from social workers up and down the country, who agree that sponsors with a track record like that of Capita have no place in social work let alone at a workforce awards ceremony.

With CAPITA having been removed from the Social Worker of the Year website, a judge resigning and the organisation ‘Social Workers Without Borders’ withdrawing from the award in protest at CAPITAs sponsorship, the organisers appear to have treated this as just a PR disaster and their initial response was to hide behind the excuse that no-one wanted a ‘debate about sponsorship to overshadow the work of the Social Worker of the Year Awards’. However, they have been forced to recognise the depth of feeling in support of this campaign and have been reminded that they did the same in 2012 by allowing G4S as a sponsor.

As the evening got underway inside the awards itself, the very first announcement they made was that they knew there had been big issues with the sponsorship of the awards this year and that the Awards Board were taking ‘the matter seriously’.  They announced and repeated their intention, as they had said in an earlier public statement, to hold an ‘ethics review’ of future sponsorship and here they were greeted with much clapping and cheering from the audience – another indication of the popular support for the campaign. That fact the award organisers were forced to address the issue right at the start of their event, and for those in the audience to give such a response, gives some sense of the impact we have all made with this campaign.

We wish to remind the organisers and the corporate sponsors that the charity that runs and owns SWYA have still yet to publically explain why they invited or accepted CAPITA as a sponsor in the first place.


Dear Social Work Awards organising committee,


We write to you, as a board, for the second time after SWAN spoke out against the involvement of G4S in the Social Worker of the Year Awards in 2012.

We welcome the news that Capita has withdrawn from the Social Worker of the Year awards 2018 as a sponsor of the ‘Values’ award. We made our objections to Capita clear in our public statement and joined Social Workers Without Borders in publicising the issue, who also took their own principled stand and withdrew from the awards.

We of course support the concept of celebrating the achievements of social workers and promoting social work. We are pleased that those fantastic social workers shortlisted and successful in winning awards will be able to enjoy the awards night, without feeling compromised by the presence of a private outsourcing company who have profited on the backs of some of those most marginalised in our communities, and by undermining public services. It is good to hear there is in ‘ethics review’ taking place to which BASW have been invited to contribute, and in which Social Workers Without Borders have also been invited to participate.

It concerns us, however, that your public statement about Capita’s withdrawal from the award ceremony takes no position on their suitability to sponsor a social work award about social work values, and indeed it implies that the media coverage has been rather distasteful distraction from the awards. Added to the fact that this outcome has not been directly actioned by the Awards Board itself, Capita’s departure has barely been publicised, which allows the organisation to slip quietly out of the backdoor limiting their corporate damage.

We do not believe this is good enough. We hope you appreciate that, as an awards body, you have a leadership role within the profession and this includes a commitment to social work values and ethics.

BASW’s own definition of social work includes this statement:

‘The problems social workers deal with are often rooted in social or emotional disadvantage, discrimination, poverty or trauma. Social workers recognise the bigger picture affecting people’s lives and work for a more equal and just society where human rights are respected and protected. Social workers recognise the bigger picture affecting people’s lives and work for a more equal and just society where human rights are respected and protected.’

This is where we should start with social work.

As a campaigning network of practitioners and service users we would encourage the Social Worker of the Year awards to take the opportunity to start as you mean to go on -by recognising that the awards are incompatible with Capita and all other private sector outsourcing companies, whose ethos focuses not upon public services but upon profit. Such a statement, more than any glamour, would set a confident and proud tone for profession we all believe in.

We look forward to hearing your response to our concerns,

Social Work Action Network 

Update On The Campaign Against Corporate Sponsorship At SWA + CYPN Awards Ceremonies.

SWAN and In Defence of Youth Work are both concerned about the corporate sponsorship of awards ceremonies for Social Work and Youth Work from organisations profiting from austerity or human rights abuses:

Statement Released Condemning Capita and Ingeus …

SWAN Statement condemning the corporate sponsorship of the 2018 Social Worker of the Year by Capita and Children & Young People Now Awards by Ingeus



Our campaign against Capita and Ingeus is gathering pace and has already achieved a fantastic victory for social work values – Capita have now pulled out of the SWA ‘Social Work Values’ award!


The campaign has widespread support and has engaged social workers in offices up and down the country. Several organisations and individuals have added their names to the SWAN statement including: Disabled People Against Cuts, Recovery in the Bin, Shaping Our Lives, Mental Health Resistance Network, Social Work Without Borders, Suzy Croft (Registered Social Worker & ‘Social Worker of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award’ Winner 2016), & Professor Peter Beresford (University of Essex).


Alongside this, one high profile nomination Social Workers Without Borders withdrew in protest and a Judge has pulled out in solidarity. This was eventually covered in Community Care here when the organisers of the awards announced something they are calling an ‘ethics audit’ see:


Last week Capita’s sponsorship and profile were quietly removed from the SWA18 awards website with only the co-sponsor of the ‘values’ award remaining as a single sponsor. Subsequently the Social Worker of the Year Awards made this statement regarding Capita ‘offering to withdraw’:

Update regarding sponsorship –

Update regarding sponsorship 10/24/2018 No-one wants a debate about sponsorship to overshadow the work of the Social Worker of the Year Awards.



This statement is hardly an acknowledgement of Capita’s total unsuitability to sponsor a social work award, let alone one about social work values. We are considering how best to engage with the Social Worker of the Year Awards at present, to ensure they fulfil their leadership role and stand up for social work values. The Social Worker of the Year Awards are on Friday 30th November at Royal Lancaster Hotel, London W2 2TY from 6pm.


We have called a friendly picket outside the CYPN awards in protest against Ingeus having anything to do with celebrating social work achievement, and we are calling on all our members and supporters to join us:


Children and Young People Now awards Wednesday 21st November at the Hurlingham club SW6 3PR, ASSEMBLE from 6pm (until 7pm)  for the CYPN awards (see:

Statement Released Condemning Capita and Ingeus Involvement In Awards

SWAN Statement condemning the corporate sponsorship of the 2018 Social Worker of the Year by Capita and Children & Young People Now Awards by Ingeus


SWAN is extremely concerned at the level of corporate sponsorship creeping back into those annual events where we cherish and celebrate those in the workforce who represent best practice and individual achievement.


It is with alarm that we learn that the multi-national outsourcing giant CAPITA has been allowed to sponsor the ‘Championing Social Work Values’ category, in the forthcoming 2018 Social Worker of the Year Awards. This is particularly ironic given that CAPITA has a such poor track record of championing the type of ‘values’ we espouse, when it comes to its own actions.


CAPITA is the Home Office’s immigration enforcement contractor. It recently sent a SMS text message to a Windrush generation member, Gladstone Wilson aged 62, telling him that he needed to leave the country as ‘soon as possible’. Capita is also contracted by the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments which brutalise and impoverish disabled claimants and those with mental health needs, but under this government “cruelty can be lucrative”. The DWP has been resisting calls to release documents that would highlight just how much they know about Capita’s failings, since 2016.


In a joint venture with the Barnet Council, a capital investment manager working for CAPITA defrauded the Council of over £2 million. He was jailed after pleading guilty, but sloppy financial control and poor accountability in the contract allowed the manager to make 62 fraudulent payments – ripping off the people of Barnet. CAPITA has been heavily criticised by Unison for its work with Barnet Council.


A damming report published by the National Audit Office investigation earlier this year, concluded that CAPITA’s performance had fallen a ‘long way below’ an acceptable standard. Service failures included its role within the NHS where there is a catalogue of 500,000 patient registration letters backlogged, medical supplies not being delivered, and delays or loss of patients’ medical records all of which had ‘put patients at risk’ it said.


Meanwhile, the media publication ‘Children and Young People Now’ has recruited the multi-national company Ingeus to sponsor its ‘Youth Volunteering and Social Action Award’. Here we find yet another company making millions out of the unemployed by providing welfare-to-work schemes. Ingeus does not recognise Trade Unions. In the north-east of England in 2012, Ingeus was referred almost 28,000 jobless people and got only 920 into sustained employment, a success rate of 3.3%. 


SWAN seriously questions whether CAPITA and Ingeus should really be given the privileges of being associated with the awards when their own ability to respect dignity, competence, social justice and service is woeful. SWAN believes that CAPITA and Ingeus’ involvement with these awards is incompatible with social work and social care, and nothing short of a cynical device on their part to attract more business and to advance the corporate capture of social work and children’s services. They should be shown the door!



Social Work Action Network – swansocialwork@gmail.com

Disabled People Against Cuts

Recovery in the Bin

Shaping Our Lives

Mental Health Resistance Network

Social Work Without Borders

Suzy Croft (Registered social worker & ‘Social Worker of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award Winner 2016)

Professor Peter Beresford (University of Essex)

A Tribute to Michael Ridge: A Champion of The Rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities


A tribute to Michael Ridge, Community Social Worker

SWAN was saddened to learn of the recent death of Community Social Worker and champion of the rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities, Michael Ridge. Thanks To Jenny Daly.  Continue reading “A Tribute to Michael Ridge: A Champion of The Rights of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities”

How To Assess Needs Without Focusing Upon Cost: Lawful And Ethical Practice – A Resource


Advice for social workers

Many social workers believe the ambitions of the Care Act are being thwarted by its implementation. They feel demoralised, and uneasy about the role they are being required to play in an oppressive system. They are crying out for advice on ethical practice.

Such advice is now available:  Guidance-for-ethical-assessment-practice PDF

It sets out how social workers can take their mandate directly from the Act and social work’s Code of Ethics. They can resist the debilitating pressure to define ‘need’ to suit the budget. Instead they can work honestly with service users to identify the resources they require for the level of well-being right for them. It is then for the budget manager to decide how much the council can afford. Budget managers will thus be transparently accountable for their decisions. Councils will be transparently accountable for any gap between needs and resources. No longer will councils be able to hide behind the ‘social worker’s judgement’.

This will, of course, throw a spanner in the works for councils. Taking the initiative will require clarity of thought and conviction. However, social workers that do may force the systemic changes that can at last give substance to the rhetoric of putting service users first.

The advice has a section on how councils can reciprocate positively. Enlightened councils will want to.

The advice has been prepared by Colin Slasberg, with contributions from SWAN. Colin is a social worker with a career in operational and strategic management and a body of published work. He can be contacted at