The College of Social Work formally opened its doors to paying members this week.
Employed social workers will be able to join for £60 a year in return for which they will receive benefits such as indemnity cover, online resources and peer mentoring.
The College aims to “provide the profession with strong, independent leadership and give social workers a resonant voice on the national stage”.
A planned joint membership deal between the College and Unison was suspended in December, following concerns raised by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) and a committee of MPs that public money was being used to unfairly promote the union. BASW, which has set up its own arms-length trade union, and the College had been working towards a possible merger, but the negotiations broke down in September over the Unison deal.
The College said a decision on the Unison deal would be taken by its first board, which will be elected in Spring.
Maurice Bates, the college’s interim co-chair said: “We want to attract significant numbers of social workers to join the College so that they can determine its future direction and build a professional body that is the equal of the royal colleges in the medical field.”
Membership fees are £10 a year for students and £90 for self-employed social workers.