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BASW NI appoints new chair

The British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) has appointed independent social worker, Orlaith McGibbon, as its new chair.

A spokesman for BASW NI said Ms McGibbon’s extensive experience of working internationally, training and supporting social workers, demonstrates a drive and vision to lead BASW NI, expanding the association’s scope and influence as it guides the development of the social work profession.

Speaking about her appointment Ms McGibbon said: ‘As we enter a new decade of change I am honoured and privileged to assume the position of Chair for BASW NI.

‘Social work in all its forms is a central tenant of our society. It needs to be valued as such. I look forward to engaging with all of our stakeholders over the coming months to ensure that the voice of our members is heard as they continue to combat the impact of austerity and the three-year absence of an executive on the lives of the thousands who use our services every single day.’

Ms McGibbon takes on her two-year role at a time of growing membership for BASW NI. It comes as the association campaigns to highlight pressures on services resulting from high numbers of social work vacancies and bureaucracy heavy processes.

As her first action as chair, Ms McGibbon has written to the new NI executive ministers for Health, Communities, Justice and Education outlining a series of issues of concern for the social work sector, which require urgent attention.

A spokesman BASW NI said Ms McGibbon’s leadership will oversee BASW NI’s ongoing work to highlight the legacy of Government-led austerity as it calls for strengthened welfare reform mitigations, as well as new projects including the organisation’s work to bolster social workers’ sense of professional identity, enabling its members to articulate what is both unique and vital about the social work role.

Also joining with the BASW NI National Standing Committee are social workers Ann Moir, John Sheridan, Elaine Craig, and Sinead Welsh.

Commenting on the announcement BASW NI national director, Carolyn Ewart said: ‘Orlaith is taking on her new role at what is an exciting yet challenging time for the social work profession.

‘Now, more than ever, we need a strong voice to advocate on behalf of the social workers who support some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

‘At a time of unprecedented stress within the social work sector, growing poverty and inequality, and years without political leadership, Orlaith exhibits the focus and determination to ensure the interests of social workers are heeded by employers and decision-makers alike’.

Photo Credit – BASW NI

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