Bob Holman, the celebrated social activist, retired academic and community social worker, had a letter published in the Glasgow daily newspaper the Herald on Saturday 18th August 2012, with which SWAN whole-heartedly agree and which we are pleased to share. 

A friend of SWAN, Bob appeared at the 2011 Social Work Action Network conference 'Building Alliances, Defending Services' held in Birmingham. He spoke under the title 'Big Society? Big Joke!' as part of the plenary session Challenging Cameron's Big Society and fighting welfare cuts.

Bob Holman - the 'good man of Glasgow'


Bob's letter speaks for itself:

Social services pay disparities

Fifty years ago this month I started as a child care officer with a local authority.

Its outstanding chief officer earned no more than three times the salary of ordinary social workers.

David Crawford, head of Glasgow's social work department, is leaving his £120,000 a year post with a lump sum of £130,000 and a huge pension ("Massive payoff for council's social work boss", The Herald, August 17).

He may well have been an excellent leader but the fact is that top social service posts are now the means of personal enrichment at a time when many front-line staff are on low incomes.

Given that he is really concerned about poverty and inequality, I hope he will attend the annual meeting, next April, of the Social Work Action Network (SWAN). This grassroots organisation will debate how social work and other social services can counter the huge cuts being imposed on them.

Like many voluntary bodies, SWAN struggles financially with an income not a fraction of David Crawford's payoff.

Bob Holman,
76, Balgonie Road,
Glasgow.

SWAN thanks Bob for his solidarity and proof that a letter need not be long to say a great deal. Social work, in all its forms, needs to return to its radical roots: analysis and action on poverty and inequality.

SWAN extend their thanks to Bob and hope he will contribute to the next SWAN Conference which will be held from 12-13 April 2013 at London South Bank University. We stand against cuts and in favour of collective social work alternatives. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information about the conference, or keep your eyes on this website over the coming months.

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