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Aston Business School (ABS) to help transform social workers’ largest membership body

Transforming the British Association of Social Workers
The Team behind the transformation of the UK's largest membership body for social workers
26 January 2010


Aston Business School has won a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)* grant for £132,000 to transform the UK’s largest membership association for social workers – ensuring it provides an improved support service to a greater number of staff across the UK. 

Led by Dr John Rudd, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Strategic Management at the University, the two year project with the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) will develop and implement a marketing strategy for the organisation. It aims to change the culture of Birmingham-based BASW from internally focused to customer orientated, allowing it to deliver more appropriate products and services to meet the needs of an increased number of social workers.

The organisation is already recognised as a ‘voice for social workers’ and contributes to the development of social policies at government and international level. Funded primarily by membership fees, BASW also offers legal representation, advice and indemnity insurance (protects social workers against claims for loss or damage by a client caused by mistakes made or negligence). The aims of this project are to ensure BASW becomes the market leading membership organisation for social workers through the following developments:

  • To create a new brand for the organisation – ensuring it is perceived as member-led, dynamic, highly relevant to the profession and a core influence at national level
  • Increase number of members by over 10% in three years
  • To become more adaptive to changes in the sector
  • To develop its product range by enhancing existing insurance products, launching a new range of printed publications for members (practitioner guides and e-books) and providing conferences and training events for front line social workers
  • To be proactive in conducting research around social work practice and management (the organisation already conducts reactive research for government agencies and commercial organisations).

Dr John Rudd, Senior Lecturer in Marketing and Strategic Development, Aston Business School, said:

“Aston Business School are delighted to be working so closely with an organisation that supports one of the most challenging front-line professions in the UK. Based in Digbeth, Birmingham, the planned outcomes of the project will also provide many opportunities for the West Midlands region.

“Aston Business School were selected for the project on the basis of our excellent reputation for marketing, strong city links and consistently high league table rankings. We are sure the research we conduct and the subsequent development and implementation of a bespoke marketing strategy will allow BASW to become a more market facing profession, capable of offering an improved and more relevant service to a greater number of social workers.”

Philip James, Assistant Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers, spoke of the importance of the project to the Association and to the Social Work profession:

"We're absolutely thrilled to be working in partnership with Aston Business School, whose reputation for excellence is recognised internationally.

“Already the project is opening up exciting opportunities for membership growth and the development of new services for social workers. At this time, when the profession is under pressure from the increasing pace of change, BASW needs to support social workers so that they, in turn, can provide an excellent service for vulnerable people in our society. Aston Business School will help us to listen to what professional Social Workers need so that we can continue to be there in support of their vital and demanding work." 

Find out more about Aston Business School’s undergraduate, postgraduate, professional development and research marketing programmes.

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Notes to editors

* Part-funded by the Government, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme which encourages collaborations between business and knowledge bases (universities, colleges and research institutions). The scheme helps businesses and organisations to improve their competitiveness and/or productivity through the use of the knowledge, technology and skills held within academic institutions. Find out more >>

Photo Caption

  • (Left-right) Dr John Rudd, Aston Business School and Philip James, British Association of Social Workers.

For more information contact Laura Plotnek, PR Officer, Aston Business School on 0121 204 4540 or l.plotnek@aston.ac.uk.



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