SWU Campaign Fund continues to support Social Workers

Social Workers Union (SWU) Campaign Fund

The SWU Campaign Fund has kicked off its third year of activity with a range of developments on new and existing campaigns.

The long running campaign to highlight the impact that media coverage can have on social workers was discussed at the Compass Jobs Fair in Birmingham on 18 March. In their “Media Coverage of Social Work – how do we improve this?” seminar, SWU General Secretary John McGowan and Campaign Collective Founder Member Simon Francis along with guests PSW Editor Shahid Naqvi and BASW Senior Press Officer Anthony Dhadwal examined what the regulators are doing and how existing rules can help protect social workers from inaccurate media coverage. The session explored the work of the Social Workers Union media protocol and also discussed the areas which are currently not regulated and the different approaches which may be needed to defend the reputation of social work.

In Scotland, social work students campaigning for bursaries while working on placements in the public sector have called for publication of a Government report into the options available.

In a letter to MSPs on the petitions committee, which is due to consider the campaign again at its next meeting, the students urge MSPs to put down written questions in Parliament to formally request the review findings be made public.

The report was commissioned by Ministers to examine the options available to them to ensure students working on the front line of social work are fairly compensated for the vital work they do. But despite taking evidence over the summer, no decision has been made by Scottish Ministers.

In Northern Ireland, new research has been carried out to examine the impact of the cost of living crisis on social work students. After a fantastic response from students, the results are now being analysed for publication at a later date.

In England, student bursary campaigners met in January to discuss the ongoing campaign for bursary reform. Students discussed alternatives to the current funding model and new proposals will be drawn up by colleagues at BASW and agreed with students before further campaign activity can take place.

Meanwhile, new campaigns have been approved to examine the impact of cuts to mental health services, to continue campaign work with the Association of Educational Psychologists / General Federation of Trade Unions and to highlight the importance of union membership for social workers from among the diaspora.

Additional support has been agreed for the neurodivergent social workers campaign to identify neurodiversity positive employers.

Finally, social workers also responded in their hundreds to a survey commissioned with The Independent to examine the impact of austerity measures and cuts to services to the safety of people social workers support. The results will be published very shortly.

SWU members, find out how to apply for a campaign here. We would love to hear from you: https://swu-union.org.uk/swu-campaign-fund