Advice and representation for independent social workers

Last year, 142 (12%) of all cases managed by BASW's sector leading advice and representation service were raised by agency social workers.

We've taken the opportunity to ask the team some questions about the kinds of issues being raised and the support available.

What is the Advice and Representation service?

The BASW/SWU Advice and Representation team are a team of officers qualified in social work who provide advice and representation for employment and regulatory issues.

The A&R service provides advice and representation to more than 1,000 social workers a year.

What kind of issues can the team support with?

The Advice and Representation team, working in partnership with the Social Workers Union, provide advice on:

  • Workplace employment law matters - such as disciplinary, grievance, capability, and sickness absence procedures.
  • Fitness to practice processes with each of the 4 UK social work regulators (NISSC, SCW, SSSC, and SWE).

Is this advice and support available to agency social workers?

Agency social workers who are also BASW members are eligible to use the Advice and Representation service. Over the years this has proved particularly important for those in agency roles who may not enjoy the same protections as permanent colleagues.

In the last year, 142 cases, the equivalent of 12.4% of total cases raised with the service were from agency social workers.

What kinds of issues do agency social workers raise with the service?

BASW support workers with a really wide range of issues but the top three reasons agency social workers contact us are:

  1. Issues with their contract of employment, including pay disputes
  2. Professional practice concerns
  3. Support to address bullying or harassment

Over the last year the service has also supported with cases around discrimination, unfair dismissal, workplace stress and whistleblowing to name but a few. They’ve also seen a number of cases that have come to them because of issues getting a reference or challenging one that’s been given.

What kind of support can BASW offer?

BASW encourage you to seek advice from the team at an early stage as they may help you to prevent a difficult situation from escalating.

If an employment process becomes formal, or when the fitness to practice process moves to the hearing stage, the team may provide representation and support for eligible members in what can be a complex or challenging situation.

How can independent social workers access this service?

To access SWES you must also be a BASW member. This is an additional, separate cost but your membership gives you access to a range of other benefits.

One of the key benefits of BASW membership is access to their sector leading Advice and Representation service.

12.4% of all cases managed over the last year coming from agency workers is a significant number and demonstrates the need for workers to have adequate support and representation when operating independently.

Find out more about using SWES, the UK’s only not-for-profit umbrella company or BASW's advice and representation service.

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