Launch of the peer coaching service

In March 2020, BASW engaged the registered workforce in a survey during the Covid-19 pandemic to gain a better understanding of the challenges facing sector professionals.

This work highlighted areas where social workers were struggling and in need of more support. As a result, BASW made the decision to launch a new peer-to-peer support service – The Social Work Professional Support Service.

The Social Work Professional Support Service was set up and is managed by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

Responding to the needs of the workforce

To date, over 800 peer coaching sessions have been delivered and 30 coaches trained to support their colleagues across the profession. The service has continued to evolve to meet the needs of social workers across the UK.

Coaching can support with many aspects of your personal and professional wellbeing and development. It is not just a tool to support you through a professional challenge or worse, crisis. Coaching sessions provide a space for:

Designed by social workers, the service is completely independent and confidential.

Find out more

If you still have questions, you might be able to find the answer in our FAQ’s below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Coaching is designed to empower an individual to develop their skills, knowledge and performance through the support of one-to-one conversations with a trained coach, find out more about coaching and why others are using the service.

SWPSS is member benefit for registered social workers in England, you’ll need to be a BASW member to use the service. In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland the service is funded by local government and is available to all social workers and social work students.

The service is free to use if you’re a BASW member registered in England. If you’re registered in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland it is funded by each government and you can access six coaching sessions free of charge.

Once you’ve registered you will:

  • Login – You will receive an email from the team with your login details and instructions on how to access the service.
  • Find a coach to suit you – Once logged in, you can browse the register of volunteer coaches.
  • Select an appointment – Once you have chosen a coach, you will be able to select an appointment that is convenient for you. Coaching sessions are 1 hour long. Please note that each coach has determined their own appointment slots as volunteers, and they may have nominated just one appointment on a given day. If you can’t find a slot please get in touch or keep checking the portal as new appointments are added regularly.
  • Receive your booking link – Once you have booked a session, you will be emailed with further information and instructions on how to join your session using Microsoft Teams.

Coachees are offered up to six FREE coaching sessions and then asked to take a short break of at least three months before accessing the service for another series of sessions.

The relationship between the Social Work Professional Support Service volunteer coach and coachee is based on confidentiality. This means that anything discussed during coaching sessions is private and your coach will not repeat any conversations to other people.

There are certain exceptions to this, and it is important that these are recognised and agreed at the start of the relationship.

  • Both parties must agree that, if necessary, the coach can speak to someone else about an issue or problem, they will agree beforehand who they will speak to. This might be a supervisor, a BASW representative, or other appropriately designated person.
  • If a coach believes there is a risk of harm to any person, based on something that the coachee has said, or that a concerning practice issue has come up, they will be obliged to report the issue to their supervisor and/or other appropriate persons. This will also be discussed with the coachee beforehand.

Volunteer coaches will ensure that conversations with coachees cannot be overhead by others, such as others in the household where the volunteer coach lives or in open-plan offices. A record will be kept of some basic details of the coaching conversations to allow for quality assurance and safeguarding. It is the responsibility of the volunteer coach to ensure that any records are kept securely in line with GDPR regulations and BASW guidance. A coachee can, at any time, request a copy of the information held about them.

BASW are committed to responsible data management and subscribe to the principals of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the United Kingdom. Emails and listing information processed through the Professional Support Service are stored within a BASW server and are subject to BASW’s Data Protection and privacy policies. Your data will be used only for participation in the PSS and will not be used for any other purpose without your express knowledge and consent.

There are several options available for BASW members. The Advice and Representation service is a team of qualified social workers, offering professional and regulatory help. In June 2020, BASW published the ‘Social worker wellbeing and good practice toolkit‘ which you might find useful. There are also a range of supports available delivered through the four nations; BASW CymruBASW EnglandBASW Northern Ireland, and SASW.

If you have any problems with the Social Work Professional Support Service website, forgotten login details or difficulties with forms, downloads, calendars or the general system, you can tell us by emailing SWPSS.  A member of staff will then work on whatever issue you are having, allowing you to return to the service as quickly as possible.

You can contact the Social Work Professional Support Service by emailing: