Privacy Policy

This website is owned and operated by the Social Workers Union (SWU).

Any questions regarding this policy and our privacy practices should be sent by email to or by writing to the SWU Administration Manager, SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP.

SWU is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy.

Who we are

The Social Workers Union (SWU) is a registered trade union for social work professionals. SWU is the only UK trade union for, and run by, qualified and registered social workers.

SWU has an ‘arms length’ relationship with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) as an organisational member. BASW is the UK’s only professional membership organisation for social workers, and as a member of BASW you can opt into SWU membership for £2.08 a month (£25 a year) – or just 83p a month (£10 a year) for unwaged and student members..

In this policy ‘SWU, ‘we’, ‘us’, or ‘our’ means:

  • The Social Workers Union is a registered UK trade union. Registered address is SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP
  • Our associated professional association: The British Association of Social Workers is a Company Limited by Guarantee, registered in England, Number 982041.

Purpose of this Privacy Policy

This policy explains when and why we collect personal information about you, how we use it, the conditions under which we may disclose it to others, how we keep it safe and secure, and your rights and choices in relation to your information. 


For users in the European Union, we adhere to the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and the Council of 27 April 2016, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”). For users in the United Kingdom, we adhere to the GDPR as enshrined in the Data Protection Act 2018.

How do we collect information from you?

We obtain information about you in the following ways:

Information you give us directly

For example, we may obtain information about you when you sign up for membership, take part in one of our events, supply goods and services, purchase products and services or contact us about campaigns or policies.

Information you give us indirectly

Your information may be shared with us by third parties, which might include:

  • Subcontractors acting on our behalf who provide us with technical, payment or delivery services

You should check any privacy policy provided to you where you give your data to a third party.

When you visit this website

We, like many organisations, automatically collect the following information:

  • Technical information, including the type of device you’re using, the IP address, browser, and operating system being used to connect your computer to the internet. This information may be used to improve the services we offer.
  • Information about your visit to this website, for example we collect information about pages you visit and how you navigate the website, i.e. length of visits to certain pages, products and services you viewed and searched for, referral sources (e.g. how you arrived at our website).

We collect and use your personal information by using cookies on our website – more information on cookies can be found under the ‘Use of Cookies’ section below.

Social Media

When you interact with us on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram we may obtain information about you (for example, when you publicly tag us in an event photo). The information we receive will depend on the privacy preferences you have set on those types of platforms.

Public Information

We may source contacts for policy development and campaigns from information obtained from publicly available sources such as the Houses of Parliament, newspaper and publication websites, and central and local government websites.

What type of information is collected from you?

The personal information we collect, store, and use might include:

  • Your name and contact details (including postal address, email address, and telephone number).
  • Your date of birth (members).
  • Information about your activities on our website and about the device used to access it, for instance your IP address and geographical location.
  • Your bank or credit card details. If you purchase a membership, event ticket, or product online then your card information is not held by us – it is collected by our third party payment processors who specialise in the secure online capture and processing of credit/debit card transactions.
  • Any other personal information shared with us.

Data protection laws recognise certain categories of personal information as sensitive and therefore requiring greater protection, for example information about your health, ethnicity, and religion.

We do not usually collect sensitive data about you unless there is a clear and valid reason for doing so and data protection laws allow us to, for example, we do provide members with the opportunity to provide information on their ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and any disability so that we can monitor and ensure the effective delivery of our services.

Where appropriate, we will make clear why we are collecting this type of information and what it will be used for.

How and why is your information used?

We may use your information for a range of different purposes, which may include:

  • Providing you with membership services, products, or information you asked for
  • Processing membership, event, or product orders that you have submitted
  • Carrying out our obligations under any contracts entered into between you and us
  • Keeping a record of your relationship with us
  • Consulting you on policy development, campaigns, and member issues
  • Seeking view and opinions for press communications
  • Sourcing specialist expertise to help represent SWU in media interviews
  • Conducting analysis and market research so we can understand how we can improve our services, products, or information
  • Checking for updated contact details so we can stay in touch if you move
  • Dealing with entries into a competition
  • Seeking your views or comments on the services we provide
  • Notifying you of changes to our services
  • Sending you communications which you have requested and that may be of interest to you. These may include the SWU Newsletter, information about campaigns, policy writing, events and activities, and promotions of goods and services
  • Processing applications for committee roles or jobs

How long is your information kept for?

We keep your information for no longer than is necessary for the purposes it was collected for. The length of time we retain your personal information for is determined by operational and legal considerations. For example, we are legally required to hold some types of information to fulfil our statutory and regulatory obligations (e.g. health/safety and tax/accounting purposes).

We review our retention periods on a regular basis.

Who has access to your information?

We do not sell or rent your information to third parties.

We do not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes.

However, we may disclose your information to third parties to achieve the other purposes set out in this policy. These third parties may include:

Third parties working on our behalf: We may pass your information to our third-party service providers, suppliers, agents, subcontractors, and other associated organisations for the purposes of completing tasks and providing services to you on our behalf (for example to process payments and send you mailings). However, when we use these third parties, we disclose only the personal information that is necessary to deliver the services and we have a contract in place that requires them to keep your information secure and prevents them from using it for their own direct marketing purposes. Please be reassured that we will not release your information to third parties for them to use for their own direct marketing purposes, unless we are required to do so by law, for example, by a court order or for the purposes of prevention of fraud or other crime.

We may transfer your personal information to a third party as part of a sale of some or all of our business and assets to any third party or as part of any business restructuring or reorganisation, or if we’re under a duty to disclose or share your personal data in order to comply with any legal obligation or to enforce or apply our terms of use or to protect the rights, property or safety of our staff, members, users of the website or others. However, we will take steps with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected.

Lawful Processing

Data protection law requires us to rely on one or more lawful grounds to process your personal information. We consider the following grounds to be relevant:

Specific Consent

Where you have provided specific consent to us using your personal information in a certain way, such as to send you email, text, and/or telephone communications.

Performance of a contract

Where we are entering into a contract with you or performing our obligations under it like when you purchase memberships, event tickets, or books from our online bookshop.

Legal obligation

Where necessary so that we can comply with a legal or regulatory obligation to which we are subject, for example where we are ordered by a court or regulatory authority like the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Vital interests

Where it is necessary to protect life or health (for example in the case of medical emergency suffered by an individual at one of our events) or a safeguarding issue which requires us to share your information with the emergency services.

Legitimate interests

Where it is reasonably necessary to achieve our or others’ legitimate interests (if what the information is used for is fair and does not duly impact your rights).

We consider our legitimate interests to be running SWU as a trade union in pursuit of our aims and ideals. For example, to:

  • Send communications which we think will be of interest to you
  • Conduct research to better understand member’s needs
  • Enhance, modify, personalise, or otherwise improve our services / communications for the benefit of our members
  • Understand better how people interact with our website

When we legitimately process your personal information in this way, we consider and balance any potential impact on you (both positive and negative), and your rights under data protection laws. We will not use your personal information where our interests are overridden by the impact on you, for example, where use would be excessively intrusive (unless, for instance, we are otherwise required or permitted to by law).

When we use sensitive personal information, we require an additional legal basis to do so under data protection laws, so will either do so based on your explicit consent or another route available to us at law (for example, if we need to process it for employment, social security or social protection purposes, your vital interests, or, in some cases, if it is in the public interest for us to do so).

Marketing Communications

We may use your contact details to provide you with information about the vital work we do for social workers and the social work profession, our campaigns, policy initiatives, events, as well as the products and services you can buy, if we think it may be of interest to you.

Email / Text / Phone

We will only send you non-transactional communications by email, text, and telephone if you have explicitly provided your prior consent. You may opt out of our marketing communications at any time by updating your preferences via the link in our emails.


We may send you marketing communications by post unless you have told us that you would prefer not to hear from us.

Your choices

You have a choice about whether you wish to receive information from us. If members do not want to receive direct marketing communications from us about the vital work we do for social workers and the social work profession, then you can select your choices by updating your preferences.

We’re committed to putting you in control of your data so you’re free to change your marketing preferences (including to tell us that you don’t want to be contacted for marketing purposes) at any time. Members of both BASW and SWU can update their preferences on the BASW website or by contacting If you are solely a SWU member then you can update your preference by contacting SWU by email: or by post: SWU Administration Manager, SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP.

We will not use your personal information for marketing purposes if you have indicated that you do not wish to be contacted and will retain your details on a suppression list to help ensure that we do not continue to contact you. However, we may still need to contact you for administrative purposes like where we are processing a payment or thanking you for your participation in an event.

Building Profiles

We may analyse your personal information to create a profile of your interests and preferences so that we can tailor and target our communications in a way that is timely and relevant to you. We may make use of additional information about you when it is available from external sources to help us do this effectively. This allows us to be more focused, efficient, and cost effective with our resources and reduces the risk of someone receiving information they may find inappropriate or irrelevant.

We’re committed to putting you in control of your data so you’re free to opt out of your information being used in this way at any time by updating your preferences. You can update your preference by contacting us by email: or by post: SWU Administration Manager, SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP.

We may also use your personal information to detect and reduce fraud and credit risk.

Your Rights

Under UK data protection law, you have certain rights over the personal information that we hold about you. Here is a summary of the rights that we think apply:

Right of access

You have a right to request access to the personal data that we hold about you. You also have the right to request a copy of the information we hold about you, and we will provide you with this unless legal exceptions apply.

If you want to access your information, please send a description of the information you want to see and proof of your identity by post to the address provided below.

Right to have your inaccurate personal information corrected

You have the right to have inaccurate or incomplete information we hold about you corrected. The accuracy of your information is important to us so we’re working on ways to make it easier for you to review and correct the information that we hold about you. In the meantime, if you change email address, or if you believe any of the other information we hold is inaccurate or out of date, members of both BASW and SWU can log into the BASW website to update their information. Those who solely hold SWU membership can contact us by email: or by post: SWU Administration Manager, SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP

Right to restrict use

You have a right to ask us to restrict the processing of some or all your personal information if there is a disagreement about its accuracy or we’re not lawfully allowed to use it.

Right of erasure

You may ask us to delete some or all your personal information and in certain cases, and subject to certain exceptions; we will do so as far as we are required to. In many cases, we will anonymise that information, rather than delete it.

Right for your personal information to be portable

If we are processing your personal information (1) based on your consent, or to enter into or carry out a contract with you, and (2) the processing is being done by automated means, you may ask us to provide it to you or another service provider in a machine-readable format.

Right to object

You have the right to object to processing where we use your personal information (1) based on legitimate interests, (2) for direct marketing, or (3) for statistical/research purposes.

If you want to exercise any of the above rights, please email us at or write to the SWU Administration Manager, SWU Head Office, Wellesley House, 37 Waterloo Street, Birmingham, B2 5PP.

We may be required to ask for further information and/or evidence of identity. We will endeavour to respond fully to all requests within one month of receipt of your request, however if we are unable to do so we will contact you with reasons for the delay.

Please note that exceptions apply to a number of these rights, and not all rights will be applicable in all circumstances. For more details we recommend you consult the guidance published by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office:

Keeping your information safe

When you give us personal information, we take steps to ensure that appropriate technical and organisational controls are in place to protect it.

When you are on a secure page, a lock icon will appear on the bottom of web browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Non-sensitive details (your email address etc.) are transmitted normally over the Internet, and this can never be guaranteed to be 100% secure. As a result, while we strive to protect your personal information, we cannot guarantee the security of any information you transmit to us, and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your information, we make our best effort to ensure its security on our systems.

Where we have given (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our website, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share your password with anyone.

Use of ‘cookies’


Like many other websites, this website uses cookies. Cookies are little pieces of information which pass between any website you are visiting and your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

They can be used to record your key interactions with a website such as how long you spend on a webpage, what links you click, and which browser and device you use.

How We Use Cookies

We use cookies as part of the process to keep you logged in to the website should you choose to log in for password protected content. 

We do not explicitly use any cookies ourselves for the operation of the website other than as session cookies for managing logged in sessions. We do, however, use Google Analytics which does use small unobtrusive cookies.

Google Analytics is a widely used tool that provides us with information on the use of our website. For example, it tells us the number of visitors the site receives every day, where they have come from, what content they access and how long they spend on the site. This helps us to understand how our website is used and helps to inform its future development. Google Analytics only provides aggregated data and does not collect personal information – so we can’t tell which individuals have visited the site or how they have made use of it. Google’s Privacy Policy contains information about its use of cookies.

By the continued use of this website without making changes to your cookie settings in your browser, we assume you are providing your consent.

You can change your privacy and security settings to prevent the use of cookies by amending your browser settings and/or configuration.

Links to other websites

Our website may contain links to other websites run by other organisations. This policy applies only to our website‚ so we encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit. We cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other websites even if you access them using links from our website.

In addition, if you linked to our website from a third-party site, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners and operators of that third-party site and recommend that you check the privacy policy of that third party site.

Changes to this policy

Any changes we may make to this policy in the future will be posted on this website so please check this page occasionally to ensure that you’re happy with any changes. If we make any significant changes, we’ll make this clear on this website.

Review of this Policy

We keep this policy under regular review. This policy was last updated in July 2022.