Westminster is responsible for UK-wide legislation and policy which has a direct effect on social work practice across the UK. Areas include social justice, Universal Credit, human rights and asylum and immigration.
Westminster is also responsible for social work, health and social care specific legislation and policy in England. Social work, health and social care legislation and policy is devolved for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Other social work related areas- such as justice, mental health, housing and education- are also devolved.
BASW's Voice in Westminster
BASW seeks to influence the UK Government, political parties and politicians in the interests of social work and social workers through six main routes:
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Work
The APPG is chaired by David Simmonds MP. Former chairs include Alex Cunningham MP, Barbara Keeley MP, and Emma Lewell-Buck.
Meetings of the APPG tend to focus on inquiries that are being conducted, including evidence sessions and report launches. Most APPG meetings are open to the public (and thus all BASW members) and are held in Westminster. Please let our Kerri Prince know if you wish to come: space can be limited and room notifications change at short notice. Allow time to clear security if you plan to attend. You can also contact Kerri to request to be added to the mailing list.
In the last year, the APPG has carried out there inquiries which will be published shortly, on:
- New Models of Children’s Social Work
- Integration of Health and Social Care
- Experiences of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children
Select Committees, made-up of backbench MPs, scrutinise Government legislation and its impact, the key ones for BASW are the Education, Health, Housing Communities & Local Government and Public Accounts Committees. Members of these committees can issue a call for evidence, question experts, debate an issue and produce a report. Where relevant BASW submits evidence and takes part in Select Committee hearings.
The Legislative Process
BASW scrutinises all relevant legislation as it goes through parliament and seeks to influence relevant legislation.
Meeting with Ministers and Shadow Ministers
BASW regularly meets with relevant Government Ministers and with Shadow Ministers to inform, to promote dialogue and to argue a case. Meetings with Government Ministers are often difficult to secure so these are opportunities that must be used for maximum effect.
Meetings with individual MPs
A great deal of work-related activity at Parliament (like in any workplace) is carried out informally, which is why BASW has the Public and Political Affairs Officer based in Westminster. This results in frequent conversations with individual MPs. Constituency matters (i.e. issues that relate solely to the Parliamentary constituency of the MP) are best handled by BASW members meeting directly with their MP in Parliament or in the constituency. If you would like a meeting with your MP about a social work issue, Kerri can advise on how to make your case.
Debates in the Commons, Lords, and Westminster Hall
BASW will brief MPs and Peers ahead of parliamentary debates so that social work's voice is being heard on issues relevant to the profession. BASW will also lobby parliamentarians to propose debates on a wide array of matters affecting social work across the UK.