I attended the BASW UK conference and AGM and spoke at a workshop entitled ’embracing a media we love to hate’. It was an excellent day with up to 300 delegates helping to create a lively atmosphere and so I thought it a good idea to reflect on the content of the day. The full lineup of speakers can be found here and follow #SWspeaksAGM for updates from BASW and delegates of their thoughts from the day.

RT Hon Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division made the clear point, which I fully support, that social workers should feel respected in family courts and be recognised as expert witnesses. He touched on many subjects which I’ll talk about , such as drug and alcohol courts and some movement in that setting towards an inquisitorial system.

Edward Timpson, Under Secretary of State for Children and Families, discussed his family experiences of adoption, social work and social care. He stated his admiration for social workers but controversially said that he could not rule down that child protection services would or would not be moved to the private sector and this angered many people in the audience.

Owen Jones, the Guardian columnist, was extremely passionate and  motivational about the media and the unfair way it destroys the morale of social workers and how this damages our support. This is a message I have been putting out for years. We need to give positive stories about our work to help social workers gain trust with new cases when on the doorstep the next day.

I’ve tried to include important points from the day to help you in your practice or studies. I hope it’s useful.


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