Delegate Assembly Set

Advances in technology are streamlining NASW’s 2011 Delegate Assembly.

Every three years, NASW convenes a delegation to set program priorities for a three-year period — in this case, fiscal years 2012-15 — as well as broad public and professional policy for the association.

This year’s culminating event takes place Aug. 5-6 and it will continue the trend started with the 2008 Delegate Assembly, where delegates conducted business as usual under parliamentary procedure, but via a secured, interactive website and the telephone.

The discussion process for NASW members and delegates has already begun using NASW’s Delegate Assembly section on this website. It serves as the primary communication center for all activities and offers the opportunity to post and exchange comments with other NASW members and delegates.

By allowing members and delegates sufficient time to discuss and exchange information prior to the assembly in August, the process promotes well-written and comprehensive policies, said Sue Jashinsky, manager of NASW Chapter Services.

In addition, the online process will save natural resources, being close to paperless, and will drastically reduce airfare and lodging expenses that would result from gathering nearly 300 people in Washington for a face-to-face assembly, Jashinsky noted.

Members and delegates were encouraged to participate in the review of 18 policy statements that are proposed for revision. The final versions of the policy statements will be posted this month. The policy statements are guides for the association when considering positions on certain issues and for practitioners to address their concerns. They are compiled and published in Social Work Speaks.

Delegates will vote in June to accept or reject suggested revisions, Jashinsky said. One other item for delegates to consider this year concerns a proposal about the reassignment of chapters among the 13 electoral regions. Delegates will take final action on this proposal in August.

The delegates may also suggest topics for the “emerging issues” forum on the website. In July, the top 10 emerging issues will be selected for discussion during the August meeting.

The assembly is composed of 200 elected delegates and the national Board of Directors. In addition, the NASW national executive director and chapter executive directors are nonvoting delegates, for a total of 277 delegates.