SWU 10th Anniversary Celebration: Day 10

The Social Workers Union 10th Anniversary Celebration is a digital event that runs from June 12 – 21, 2021.

Happy 10th Anniversary!

Welcome to the final Day 10 of SWU’s 10th Anniversary Celebration! We hope you’ve enjoyed the ten-day showcase of our history and celebration of our future. SWU is the only UK trade union run by social workers for social workers and we will continue to support and advocate for our members and the social work profession.

SWU General Secretary John McGowan and SWU Chair Carys Phillips give the final video address of SWU’s 10th Anniversary Celebration. They discuss how SWU’s identity and focus has evolved over the past decade, and plans for the next decade. 

John begins the video saying, 

“On this day 10 years ago BASW formed the Social Workers Union at their AGM and this was celebrated significantly. In fact, I remember the day really well and everyone who helped us achieve this – they got a great thanks for that. Although we were formed today on June 21st we had to wait several months before we gained our certificate of independence from the UK Certification Office. Which thankfully happened on October 18th, 2011 so we’ve got another celebration to look forward on that day.”

Carys said,

“I think the next 10 years are going to be quite inspirational. SWU has got some excellent campaigning work – the Anti-Austerity Group, the Workforce Conditions, and new research looking at supervision and workplace cultures and what works for social workers. Our A&R Team have been brilliant for everyone I’ve spoken to – the service is valued, respected, and it’s no surprise that we get so much membership through word of mouth. With the new ways of working, I’m sure we’re just going to go from strength to strength with BASW.”

We are proud of our anti-austerity work, the support we’ve provided for our members, and we are keen to develop more member led campaigns and increased political involvement.

SWU General Secretary John McGowan and SWU Chair Carys Phillips give the final video address of SWU’s 10th Anniversary Celebration.

We are pleased to announce the winners of SWU’s World Social Work Day 2021 Student Essay Assignment Competition!

Matthew Davies of Cardiff University, Joseph Llewellyn of the University of Gloucestershire, Marissa Bruneau of the University of Dundee, and Ruth Wormington of the University of Bristol wrote winning essays to the question: 

“I want to make a difference” is a common phrase used by social workers and students when asked why they joined the profession. So is choosing to become a social worker a political decision as well as an action and, if so, are all social worker’s activists by default? Discuss.”

Each winning entrant will receive £500. Two additional entries were deemed by the markers as outstanding – Charmaine Hall of Manchester Met University and Rebecca Salama of Kingston University – and they will receive a social work book.

Click here to see what each winning entrant had to say, and also for the link to download a copy of the winning essays. We highly recommend reading them!

Social Workers Union – Our History 2011-2021

We are pleased to announce the publication of the official SWU history booklet covering the first decade of the union’s history. A copy was e-mailed to all SWU members on our tenth anniversary June 21, 2021. 

The PDF can be downloaded here: SWU – Our History

Hilton Dawson, SWU’s first General Secretary, said of the founding of the union,

“SWU was registered as a trade union in 2011, open to all social workers and to BASW members who ‘opted in.’ The legal drafts for the Regulator referred to ‘the Social Workers Union’ and for simplicity, that’s how SWU was named. As a registered trade union, our Advice & Representation Officers now had a right to attend all disciplinary meetings alongside members. Our service to members continued to be excellent. Boldly and bravely that’s how BASW laid the foundations for the Social Workers Union to thrive. Congratulations to you all.” 

Key SWU history dates include:

  • 21 June 2011 – The BASW Council resolved to establish a trade union which was to be called “The Social Workers Union” and to adopt rules for such trade union.
  • 15 July 2011 – SWU was added to the list of Trade Unions as part of the trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
  • 18 October 2011 – SWU gains certificate of independence from the UK Certification Officer for Trade Unions.