SWAN - The Social Work Action Network

Welcome to SWAN's website. Please check out features such as the SWAN regional webpages and previous conference resources. You can join SWAN here. Don't forget to sign up to our newsletter and keep abreast of developments for the 2014 SWAN Conference.

SWAN is a network of social work practitioners, academics, students and social welfare service users united in their concern that social work activity is being undermined by managerialism and marketisation, by the stigmatisation of service users and by welfare cuts and restrictions.

SWAN promotes a model of social work and social care practice which is rooted in the value of social justice. This model seeks to advocate alongside, and on behalf of, service users and carers. It values both individual relationship-based practice and collective approaches.

It works towards these objectives through regular conferences and campaigning activities, and to strengthen the radical voice within social work practice, education and wider social policy debates.

SWAN works alongside existing social care, service user and carer organisations, including UNISON and Unite, to promote strong collective organisation and, wherever possible, to campaign jointly.

SWAN is a membership organisation - please join us by following the instructions here.

Those who attended this year's SWAN conference AGM will have heard about two keys struggles against austerity playing out in England at the moment - Your Choice workers fighting for adult disability services and jobs in Barnet, North London, plus the Care UK workers fight in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. A vote at the SWAN AGM agreed to donate £100 to both campaigns, plus to take a collection at the end of the conference for the Care UK workers - on strike from today (18th April) until 22nd April. This collection raised £325 - thank you to all who contributed, the donation is on its way to Yorkshire.


During the re-energising national conference in Durham this weekend, SWAN is pleased to announce that the following motion was passed unanimously regarding a Mental Health charter (which you can download at the foot of the page).


Please send any motions you have related to social work and social justice for the SWAN Conference 2014 Annual General Meeting (Saturday morning of the conference) to:

wheresjane [at] gmail.com

Please send by Thursday 10th April.

There will also be an opportunity for regional meetings at this year's conference.

More Articles...

  1. Documents for SWAN Conference 2014
  2. Le Grand review - the marketisation and outsourcing of children’s social care is the aim
  3. Underfunded safeguarding services leaves unidentified children at risk
  4. In defence of social work: Why Gove is wrong
  5. Call for papers extended - Conf 2014
  6. Booking open for SWAN Conference 2014
  7. The lost year - Safeguarding Birmingham's children
  8. Los Angeles County Social Workers on strike for lower caseloads
  9. A response to Michael Gove: wrong on social work education
  10. Help stop payday loan rip-offs
  11. The New Philanthropy – Frontline and the lessons of Teachfirst
  12. SWAN Ireland 1st Annual Conference!
  13. Fight continues against attacks on Hungary's homeless population
  14. International call out against new proposal to criminalise homelessness in Hungary
  15. Practice notes: social security, benefits and the role of social workers



SWAN is a democratic, grassroots organisation – policy making and elections take place at the AGM during the annual conference’

Social Work Manifesto.

Social work in Britain today has lost direction. We need to find more effective ways of resisting the dominant trends within social work and map ways forward for a new engaged practice…

Get involved.


SWAN developed from the Social Work Manifesto written in 2004. It launched a popular defence of social work in the aftermath of the Baby Peter tragedy in 2008. It continues to hold successful conferences and campaigns; the 9th national SWAN conference will be held in Durham in April 2014.

SWAN is a membership organisation and we are dependent on the funds of members, plus what monies we take from our annual conference to run the organisation. You can find out about membership here.

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Meet and network with SWAN members on Facebook.

Change the course of social work


The next SWAN national conference is the eighth. It takes place at Durham University on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April 2014. We will regularly update the SWAN website with information about speakers and booking. You can find these pages in the Conference 2014 section. Please email SWAN North East at ioakimides [at] googlemail.com if you have questions about the conference.

The title of the 2014 SWAN Conference is yet to be confirmed. This is the first time that a national SWAN conference has been held in the North East of England and we hope it will be the biggest ever SWAN event. It will link up social workers (in practice, education, research and training), service users and carers, trade unions, user-led groups, anti-cuts organisations, pressure groups, the disabled people and women's movements to unite to defeat the Coalition Government's social policy direction. Just as importantly we will debate, promote and celebrate alternative models and visions of social care.

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SWAN address & email

Social Work Action Network (SWAN)
c/o Iain Ferguson
School of Social Science
University of the West of Scotland

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