Delegate Assembly

The Delegate Assembly is the representative, decision-making body through which NASW members set broad organizational policy, establish program priorities, and develop a collective stance on public and professional issues. The Delegate Assembly is comprised of 220 elected delegates, including the National Board of Directors. In addition, the NASW executive director and executive directors from each chapter are nonvoting delegates, making a total of 277 delegates. Article V of the National Bylaws addresses Delegate Assembly. 

The Delegate Assembly meets once every three years and approves all policies published in Social Work Speaks

The National Bylaws state: "The membership shall act through the Delegate Assembly in all matters except as otherwise provided in the Bylaws."

Delegate Assembly to Reconvene February 19, 2021

There is concern among those involved with the Delegate Assembly as to the propriety of the final action at the culminating meeting of the 2020 NASW Delegate Assembly (DA).

The final vote at this meeting was to amend the NASW Code of Ethics to add references to self-care. Given the importance of our Code of Ethics, all proposed changes require our full attention and consideration. Therefore, in order to ensure the integrity of the process, the DA will reconvene to complete the discussion and hold a new vote on the proposed addition of self-care. The rationale for this decision is summarized below.

The culminating meeting of NASW’s Delegate Assembly is conducted using Robert’s Rules of Order and the Rules and Procedures adopted by the Assembly. Parliamentary rules are created to foster fair and efficient conduct of meetings. The circumstances at the end of the DA meeting were not conducive to ensuring full, fair, and transparent consideration of the final action, so the NASW Board has decided to extrapolate the applicable rules of order in the interest of a fair and reasonable process.

  • The applicable rules of order do not address this situation, but in the interests of fairness and transparency, NASW’s Board has determined that it is appropriate for the presider to take these steps, notwithstanding the fact that the meeting has been adjourned.
  • Consistent with her commitment to the integrity of the process, President Joyner has reviewed the records from the meeting and concluded that a quorum was no longer present by the time of the final vote. She is now exercising her prerogative to void the final vote.
  • This means the meeting was adjourned before its business could be completed, so the adjournment will be interpreted as an adjournment to a time certain, in order to complete consideration of and vote on the self-care additions to the Code of Ethics.

NASW staff and leadership are working to design and organize a reconvened, cost-effective meeting of the Delegate Assembly that can operate smoothly and efficiently. The sole purpose of this meeting will be to address the self-care amendments to the Code. We want to sincerely thank all the delegates for their participation before and during the live DA meeting, with added appreciation to those of you who were able to remain in the meeting until it concluded. 


Related Resources



Social Work Speaks

Social Work Speaks, 11th Ed., is a comprehensive, unabridged collection of policy statements adopted and revised by the NASW Delegate Assembly in 2017.

If you don't already own this great resource, purchase your copy at NASW Press.