SCIE media statement

College of Social Work: BASW position ‘divisive and distracting’

21 Janary 2011

Allan Bowman, chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), strongly defends SCIE’s approach to supporting the establishment of an independent College of Social Work, in the face of criticism by BASW.

SCIE was charged by the government, following consultation, to oversee the establishment of the College of Social Work and has received great support across the profession…

says Allan Bowman, SCIE chair and former chair of The College’s Interim Board.

SCIE has involved BASW in every step of developing The College, so their claim that they have no confidence in its development is regretful. Social workers need a strong, united voice to support them through the massive change in public services – not a potentially divisive and distracting public squabble.

SCIE and the College Interim Board have, at all times, given BASW every opportunity to express their views. As an organisation representing only nine per cent of social workers, they have a right to be at the table – but not the right to veto decisions. Even after BASW held a referendum on establishing a college, they decided to continue negotiations with us – including discussions about joint work with a trade union. SCIE acted in good faith throughout these discussions.

If BASW had been truly representative of social workers, there is no doubt they would have been invited to establish The College. They were not and their ongoing attempts to undermine the development of The College is not in the best interests of the social work profession.

SCIE and the Interim Board are determined to establish a truly independent, representative, influential, social worker-led College of Social Work. On behalf of social workers we want to resolve the issues with BASW and the door remains open for them to work with the Interim Board to form one college.

The College of Social Work launched its recruitment drive for the social workers who will become the Founder Members of The College on Friday 21 January 2011. Within hours, hundreds of people had signed up for future membership.

Visit The College of Social Work's website for more information, including a press statement regardng BASW plans to establish a separate college.

Media contact

Steve Palmer, Press and Public Affairs Manager, Social Care Institute for Excellence.
Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email:


The College of Social Work is being established following a major review of adults’ and children’s social work services in England by the Social Work Task Force. A college in this sense of the word means a membership organisation that supports a professional group, rather than a college which provides training.

It is proposed that The College will be established as an independent organisation, led and run by social workers. An Interim Board is overseeing its initial development.