From Newsletter #1 Spring 2010

Bea Kay argues that it will be important for social workers in SWAN to strengthen trade union links with public sector cuts looming

Discussing the ideologies behind social work practice is something most practitioners get little opportunity to do at work. However, having been inspired by the opportunity to do so at national SWAN conferences, a small number of practitioners, students and academics have started to hold SWAN meetings in Sheffield. Our eventual aim is to link up with Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster to form a South Yorkshire group.

The meetings held so far have discussed taking motions in support of SWAN, including financial backing, to local trade union branches. We have members in Unison (Local Government and NHS branches), GMB & Unite (which have a number of Local Government Social Care staff in them), NAPO (National Association of Probation Officers), NUS (National Union of Students), and UCU (University and Colleges Union).
 
We are using the model motion on the SWAN website with a few changes to reflect local issues. Unison has already agreed support at a national level but it was felt to be important to discuss this with individual branches to get them more involved at the local level in supporting practitioners, students and academics.
 
We believe the role of the unions is crucial given the attacks that are looming in the public sector where no area of social work is likely to go unscathed. We will all be blamed for the crisis rather than the target setting, caseloads, staff shortages, bureaucracy and IT pressures that are currently dominating all areas of our practice.
 
The group is trying to make sure that the discussion to counter attacks on social work is as broad as possible and is linking up people in all fields, including service users, probation, mental health, children’s, disability and adult services. This means attracting people from local government, the NHS, probation and the voluntary sector. Students are vital to this as they are engaged in a huge discussion about ideas at the start of their careers.
 
We are hoping to call a big local meeting in Sheffield in mid April, with local and national speakers to discuss these ideas. Meanwhile we are having regular planning meetings to get things off the ground. For more information about the group contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SWAN, Social Work and Trade Unions

Bea Kay argues that it will be important for social workers in SWAN to strengthen trade union links with public sector cuts looming.

 


Discussing the ideologies behind social work practice is something most practitioners get little opportunity to do at work. However, having been inspired by the opportunity to do so at national SWAN conferences, a small number of practitioners, students and academics have started to hold SWAN meetings in Sheffield. Our eventual aim is to link up with Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster to form a South Yorkshire group.

 
The meetings held so far have discussed taking motions in support of SWAN, including financial backing, to local trade union branches. We have members in Unison (Local Government and NHS branches), GMB & Unite (which have a number of Local Government Social Care staff in them), NAPO (National Association of Probation Officers), NUS (National Union of Students), and UCU (University and Colleges Union).
 
We are using the model motion on the SWAN website with a few changes to reflect local issues. Unison has already agreed support at a national level but it was felt to be important to discuss this with individual branches to get them more involved at the local level in supporting practitioners, students and academics.
 
We believe the role of the unions is crucial given the attacks that are looming in the public sector where no area of social work is likely to go unscathed. We will all be blamed for the crisis rather than the target setting, caseloads, staff shortages, bureaucracy and IT pressures that are currently dominating all areas of our practice.
 
The group is trying to make sure that the discussion to counter attacks on social work is as broad as possible and is linking up people in all fields, including service users, probation, mental health, children’s, disability and adult services. This means attracting people from local government, the NHS, probation and the voluntary sector. Students are vital to this as they are engaged in a huge discussion about ideas at the start of their careers.
 
We are hoping to call a big local meeting in Sheffield in mid April, with local and national speakers to discuss these ideas. Meanwhile we are having regular planning meetings to get things off the ground. For more information about the group contact
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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