A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between Aston University and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has provided greater support to front-line social workers as they protect and serve the most vulnerable people in our society.

BASW is the largest professional membership organisation for social workers in the UK. Funded largely through individual subscriptions, it provides a membership package of wide-ranging benefits that support the professionalism of social workers.

The association entered the partnership with Aston University in order to ensure that it delivers the most appropriate products and services to meet the needs of their members, making BASW a professional organisation of choice.

This project therefore aimed to transform the culture and competencies of the organisation at strategic, operational and tactical levels by embedding a market oriented philosophy and the capabilities for the continued application of an information based marketing strategy.

BASW was a successful organisation that faced significant turbulence in its core markets. In order to respond to these challenges, Dr John Rudd decided that a more structured and market facing approach to strategic decision making, would be of great help. Drawing on his research into Strategic Flexibility and his knowledge of the market research practices of successful market-led businesses, the KTP partnership allowed BASW to adapt working practices and culture, and embed a market oriented philosophy.

Dr Rudd’s marketing and research expertise was embraced and valued by BASW, and solid theoretical principles were adapted to suit the specific needs of BASW, their members and the challenging competitive conditions. This has proven a successful KTP for BASW and for Aston Business School, and is an exemplar of research that has informed practice, and practice that has in-turn influenced research. The positive and creative relationship has endured past the close of the KTP period, and any number of exciting projects and initiatives may spring from this strong partnership.

The relationship that the KTP introduced, developed and enhanced with Aston University , in particular with John Rudd, is enormously valued by staff and members within the organisation."

Sara Hickin, Executive Officer of BASW said of the project: “Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership brought fresh insights and capabilities to BASW that have enabled us to flourish as a fresh and vibrant membership organisation and to grow at a time when many other organisations were feeling the effects of very tough economic conditions.”

She added: “Our original expectations were exceeded by the contribution of the KTP Associate. Additionally, the relationship that the KTP introduced, developed and enhanced with Aston University, in particular with Dr John Rudd, is enormously valued by staff and members within the organisation and we have plans to continuing working with Aston into the future.”

Dr John Rudd from Aston Business School said of the project: “The BASW Knowledge Transfer Partnership was an exciting and challenging project. It connected two institutions that, in the normal run of things, would have been unlikely to work together. As a result of this non-traditional network facilitated by KTP, some hugely impactful and important changes resulted for all stakeholders.”

He added: “This would not have been possible without the commitment and vision of BASW and, the passion and enthusiasm our chosen KTP Associate, Erin. From the very beginning it was clear that BASW were ready to change and, simply required the right partner for this journey. I was lucky enough to be able to help.” able to help.”  

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