The value of membership is engagement in member networks. If the AASW were to hold itself to a third party social responsibility standard, the most relevant would probably be ISO 26000:2010, Guidance on Social Responsibility.
“Some stakeholders are an integral part of an organization. These include any members, employees or owners of the organization. These stakeholders share a common interest in the purpose of the organization and in its success.”
As I have indicated elsewhere on this blog, one of the elements of membership most valued by members is belonging to a network within the AASW. These networks need to be nurtured, whether they be divisions of the College, branches, mental health social workers, interest groups and so on. The feedback that I receive about some networks suggests that access is sometimes clunky, and management is top down, rather than inclusive or empowering.
As yet, there is no agreed way of measuring member engagement, or the value that should be put on it. Nevertheless, it remains the constitutional duty of the AASW Board to pursue “social justice and changes to social structures and policies in order to promote social inclusion” ( including internally).
Some of our current concerns are,
- A crisis in field education
- 14,500 social work students – of whom only a tiny proportion are members
- 2000 private practitioners, some feeling increasingly restive and unsupported
- a workforce of recent and new graduates facing a decline in real wages, low pay and 12 month contracts
You can add to this list yourself! As Antonio Gramsci the famous Italian Marxist once wrote,
The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear
Here are some KPI’s that can be benchmarked now and should be reported on annually.
- the number of members that actively participate in branches, interest groups and policy development
- the number of student members
- the number of members who support each other in mentoring, supervision and professional development
- the number of members who vote in Board and Branch elections (currently 16%!)
- The number of consumer groups and trade unions that we have engaged with to advance our mutual interests
- the number of members involved in providing CPD for other members
You can add to this list yourself!
And here are some obvious measures that would help.
- Develop a members only social media platform with a smartphone app. This will allow any member to connect with any other member, anywhere, anytime.
- A free or low cost membership for students
- Capacity building for member groups that want to provide CPD
- Developing MOU’s with trade unions and consumer groups to support campaigns that increase subsdised CPD for our members, and support the time and resources required for ethical practice
- Publish policy submissions and key documents as drafts for comment- not faits accompli!
- Change the by laws to mandate AASW election forums
Annual reports that include the KPI’s for member engagement would keep the AASW grounded and relevant.
If you want to see these things happen VOTE membersfirst in the AASW elections.
If you want to support us and find out more about our campaign- like and follow our election conversation page on Facebook.
For those who strongly agree with our policies- you can ask to join our campaign team on Facebook by clicking on our campaign team link.