BASW UK Conference 2023 highlights
Celebrating the Social Work Community in Tough Times
Last week, the social work community once again came together for BASW’s UK Conference, including social workers, students, academics, practice educators, people with lived experience, and many more!
It was the second year running we hosted the event as an in-person/online hybrid event, with the Conference Aston in Birmingham this time providing the venue for a stellar line-up of speakers, workshops and plenary sessions.
We were thrilled to welcome new members and familiar faces to the event. Thanks to all delegates, speakers, exhibitors and staff for making it such a special day packed full of learning, discussion, debate and fellowship.
“This year’s conference is about how we lead our profession during these very difficult times”
BASW CEO, Dr Ruth Allen gave a rousing welcome to delegates in her opening remarks, setting the tone for an inspiring conference focused on how we champion social work’s voice and influence during testing times for both our profession and society more widely.
The first plenary session explored and reflected on the role of leadership in social work. Each of our speakers- Professor Robin Miller, Maura Dargan, Tricia Pereira and Calum Gallagher- brought their unique perspectives and insights to this critical issue.
We were fortunate to have a fantastic selection of workshops for delegates to attend and contribute to over the course of the day, covering a broad range of themes spanning social work practice.
Each interactive workshop led to many informative and lively discussions, with topics including community based practice, the Social Work Professional Support Service, working together to challenge antisemitism, social work with older people and examining the findings from the BASW annual survey.
Among the conference highlights, we were delighted that the Diaspora Special Interest Group were able to launch their International Recruitment and Induction Standards. This will be an excellent new resource for social workers arriving in the UK and employers.
Delegates also heard from winners of the BJSW Kay McDougall Prize, Dan Allen and Victoria Hamnett who discussed their article- Working Together to Safeguard Romani and Traveller Children.
We were also thrilled to host a plenary session dedicated to the recently published special issue from British Journal of Social Work on the voice and influence of lived experience. Thanks to Omar Mohamed, Dr Peter Unwin and Mark Lynes for sharing their insight and expertise.
“BASW can grow further still. That way, our voice will become bigger and stronger and we’ll achieve even more for social workers and the people we support.”
BASW UK Chair, Julia Ross delivered a passionate closing speech to the day’s proceedings, outlining the importance of BASW in representing our profession and amplifying social work’s voice.
From calling for improved working conditions and advocating for better recruitment, resources and funding for social work to standing against poverty and social injustice and challenging inhumane asylum policies, BASW’s work has never been more needed.
Social Work Journalism Awards
The conference concluded with a special awards ceremony in the evening for the inaugural social work journalism awards.
The awards are the first of its kind in the UK to celebrate and recognise examples of positive reporting of social work. It’s part of wider campaign efforts from BASW and SWU to improve public perceptions of our profession.
Winners from six categories were announced and an additional two awards were presented to Alison Holt (BBC Social Affairs Editor) and Mithran Samuel (Community Care Editor) in recognition of their exceptional and sensitive reporting of social work.
It was great to be able to raise awareness of good journalism featuring social work and we’re looking forward to supporting and building on these awards in the years ahead.