Dismantling institutional racism in social work two decades after Macpherson

Event overview

Dismantling institutional racism in social work

Anti-racism will be explored in the social work profession by Wayne Reid, in partnership with BASW. This is a part of a series of centenary events exploring racial inequality in the mental health professions.

Following the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, William Macpherson led the public inquiry into the fatal stabbing and found that the Metropolitan police force was ‘institutionally racist’. Macpherson defined institutional racism as “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”. 

The Macpherson report sparked debate about institutional racism across all of society and included recommendations not just for the police force but also public sectors organisations.  Taking the report as a historical reference point, this presentation and discussion will explore institutional and structural racism in the social work profession. 

After setting the scene, Wayne will talk about BASW’s anti-racist work and priorities to promote equality for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority social workers and allied professionals. Wayne’s perspective is based on the premise white supremacy is inherent, to some degree, in all institutions and organisations. As a black male Social Worker, Wayne understands some of the challenges that service-users and practitioners from different minority groups face. He will talk about the need for Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority professionals to be better supported and protected in the workplace to ensure equality and social justice.  He believes this approach can only improve the experiences of Black and Ethnic Minority service-users too.  Wayne feels academic and ‘life education’ are essential to improve an individual’s quality of life and life chances.

Since the indiscriminate killing of George Floyd, Wayne has strongly championed anti-racism in social work in various forums and on wide-ranging platforms. He is committed to action and change in the social work profession through education, empowering and equipping Black and Ethnic Minority professionals, organisations and potential allies. 

Chair Paul Dugmore will open the talk and highlight the steps that the Tavistock and Portman is taking to becoming an anti-racist organisation in clinical work with patients and training curriculum. Irene Henderson will then provide an institutional perspective and Steve Bambrough will provide a clinical perspective respectively. After Wayne's presentation, there will be a chance to engage in a Q&A and audience discussion. This talk will appeal to practitioners and students of social work, as well as anyone interested in racial equality and mental health. All welcome.

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WAYNE REID is a Professional Officer, Social Worker and Anti-racism Visionary for BASW England and lives in Sheffield. Wayne qualified as a Social Worker in 2010, but the entirety of his social care experience spans nearly 20 years. He has worked in: private fostering; the Probation Service; youth offending; adult mental health; child protection and with care leavers. Wayne’s career reflects his dedication to supporting vulnerable members of society, working with diverse professionals from across all sectors to improve service standards and meet holistic needs. Wayne’s wide-ranging career has enabled him to understand the dynamic contextual factors that affect the strategic planning, implementation and review of effective Social Work services and the direct impact this has on service-users, practitioners and the public. Wayne has knowledge, experience and skills in: supporting/supervising service-users and staff; working with professionals and stakeholders from various professional backgrounds; building/maintaining collaborative strategic networks; evaluating complex outcomes and implementing new innovations.

IRENE HENDERSON has worked at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust for many years. For the last 9 years she has held the role of Head of Clinical Governance, supporting staff to ensure quality service delivery and care for all service users and students.

For the last four years Irene has held many additional roles including Race & Diversity Champion, a Trust wide equalities lead role; Chair of the staff Race Equality Network for Black, Asian and those from Minority Ethnic backgrounds (REN); Chair of the Race Equality Network Allies Group (RENAG); Co-chair of the Disability and Long Term Health Condition Network. Irene is also part of the North Central London People’s Board (NCL). These roles aim to reduce inequality of opportunity as we work with our London partners, but also aims to help the Tavistock & Portman Trust on the journey to becoming an anti-racist organisation and an increasingly inclusive employer across all protected characteristics, including posts at senior levels.

Irene is also engaged in Community involvement including as a Director for the People’s Media Development Association (PMDA), a non-profit making organisation founded in 2005 with help from the Scarman Trust. PMDA works in the community to enable disadvantaged youths to learn new skills and enhance their personal development in terms of their life goals and aspirations. She finds this work challenging and immensely rewarding work. Irene supports a local football children’s team in providing practical help, support and guidance for those children who do not have sufficient parental support to enable their engagement and development in community initiatives or sport.

PAUL DUGMORE is the Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching, at the Trust, leading on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Directorate of Education and Training. He is also a consultant social worker in the Child Young Adult and Family Directorate.

Paul qualified as a social worker in 1995 and has been a practitioner and manager in criminal justice, youth justice, child and family social work and mental health. He has also worked as a lecturer, trainer and consultant with local authorities, higher education and the health sector.

Paul obtained a teaching fellowship at Middlesex University in 2012 and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has worked in higher education for the past seventeen years and continues to practise clinically.

He obtained a professional doctorate in social work from Sussex University in 2019.

Paul leads on Video-feedback Intervention to Promote Positive Parenting (VIPP) – a clinical intervention and training programme within the Trust.

STEVE BAMBROUGH is the Associate Clinical Director in the Children, Young People and Families Department at the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust. He has been a social worker since 1995 and worked in a variety of child protection and mental health settings since then.

For 100 years, the Tavistock and Portman has proudly been at the forefront of exploring mental health and wellbeing. From attachment theory and infant observation, to applying psychoanalytic and systemic approaches in varied settings, our ideas have led to changes in care, education, how organisations work and beyond.

Our Centenary Festival is celebrating our history and exploring contemporary issues in relation to identity, relationships and society. It is considering how we continue to draw on our heritage to provide valuable responses to contemporary and future problems from the perspective of equality and inclusion. 

Tavistock Centenary
5 March 2021 10:00 to 5 March 2020 11:45