Social Worker of the Year Awards 2012 and possible sponsorship by G4S

– Reports that confirm that G4S runs and is involved in many security facilities that includes their handling of Palestinian children.
– The group of BASW members report that also witnessed the horrific sight of Palestinian children being led into a military courtroom in handcuffs and leg-irons, and saw a diminutive 14-year-old being sentenced to three and a half months in prison, together with a large fine, for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.
– That G4S runs The Cedars one of the UK’s new family detention centre jointly with Barnardo’s which is officially described as ‘pre-departure accommodation’ but is legitimising what is in effect the government’s continued use of detention for children.

G4SThis steering committee expresses its concern that G4S sponsorship of the Social Worker of the Year Awards – a company whose breach of Human Rights – is incompatible with social work’s international values and the social justice principles of SWAN.

This steering committee agrees the following action:
– To issue a statement condemning G4S and calling on the organisers of the Social Worker of the Year Award to cancel its sponsorship from G4S.
– To write to the Social Worker of the Year Awards expressing our concern and calling on the organisation to refuse involvement with G4S if their sponsorship is offerred in 2012.

Should the 2012 Social Worker of the Year Awards take up sponsorship by G4S:
– To call upon the awards judges to withdraw from the award until G4S sponsorship is withdrawn.
– To call upon all organisations and nominees to boycott the Social Work of the Year Award until G4S is withdrawn.

You can read the letter sent on 21st July 2012 by our National Convenor, Michael Lavalette, to Beverley Williams, founder and organiser of the Social Worker of Year Awards, by downloading the attachment below. A media release was also prepared, again attached below.

On Thursday 26th July 2012 we received a response from the Social Worker of the Year Awards, which suggests that while no sponsors for this year’s conference have been established, they have not ruled out the possiblity of sponsorship by G4S if it be offered. Furthermore, the Social Worker of the Year Awards did not explicitly respond to two of our three questions about whether they have a policy on corporate sponsorship or whether they think G4S are an appropriate organisation to sponsor such an event given their treatment of vulnerable people. You can read the reply letter from the Social Worker of the Year Awards below.

SWAN is surprised and alarmed that an unequivocal rejection of sponsorship by G4S was not forthcoming by the Social Worker of the Year Awards. SWAN will monitor the situation and should G4S sponsorship be announced, we will organise a campaign and boycott of the event.

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