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 2015 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.

SWAN has just released the final flyer for the 2015 conference at University of the West of Scotland, Paisley Campus, 10-11 April.

Please download a copy of the flyer below. You can book for the conference here.


SWAN announced before Christmas that the 10th annual Social Work Action Network Conference will be entitled, The Politics of Hope: Fighting for the Future of Social Work. This will be held at the University of the West of Scotland (Paisley Campus), from Friday 10th - Saturday 11th April 2015. You can book online at the following link: https://eventbrite.com/event/2004729199/

We are pleased to announce two of the speakers at the event, Gerry Mooney of the Open University and Amal Azzudin of the Glasgow Girls.



10th Annual Social Work Action Network Conference - The Politics of Hope: Fighting for the Future of Social Work 

University of the West of Scotland (Paisley Campus)

Friday 10 - Saturday 11 April 2015 

In the context of savage cuts in public sector funding, ever increasing social work managerialism and stigmatisation of service users, this conference will provide an important opportunity to debate ways of developing networks of resistance necessary to defend social justice-based social work and oppose the politics of austerity. 

Plenary sessions will include presentations on the following themes:

  • Racism, antiracism and social work practice
  • Radical practice today: voices from the frontline .
  • Global perspectives: radical social work in the world today 

More conference details & call for papers on flyer below.

Click on the following link to register online:




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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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