(as amended during the Association’s Annual General Meeting held on 1st July 2020 )
The name of the Association shall be the “Maltese Association of Social Workers”.
The aims of the Association shall be:
- (i) to promote and enhance the quality and effectiveness of social work practice in Malta;
- (ii) to serve as the voice of social workers in their commitment for greater social justice through better services and social policies in favour of the more vulnerable members of society;
- (iii) to act as a representative forum of the professional interests of social workers;
- (iv) to foster the education and training of social workers;
- (v) to promote the advancement of the social work profession;
- (vi) to ensure that preparation for practice is of an adequately high standard;
- (vii) to encourage recruitment in the social work profession;
- (viii) to maintain a register of social workers;
- (ix) to co-operate with others involved in the promotion of welfare and health of individuals and the social well-being of the community;
- (x) to establish and maintain relationships with other social workers, their professional associations and social work agencies in other countries so that social work in Malta can keep abreast with international developments;
- (xi) to pursue the goal that all those occupying a post designated as “social workers” have received recognised training which qualifies such persons for this work and that the terms “social work” and “social worker” are used within a professional context;
- (xii) to develop, promulgate and enforce a code of ethics for social work;
- (xiii) to ensure that the social work profession is self-regulated to the greatest extent possible whilst maintaining the necessary degree of social accountability;
- (xiv) to interpret to the community the contribution of professional social work;
- (xv) to do all such other activities which are conducive to the attainment of the above aims.
3.1 Class of Membership.
- (i) Regular Members
Regular membership to the Association is open to all those who have obtained the minimum qualifications in social work as established by the Social Work Profession Act (Chapter 468 of the Laws of Malta). (2016)
- (ii) Student Members
Any person enrolled in a recognised social work course can be part of the Association as a student member. Student members shall participate in all activities of the Association but cannot vote in the General Meetings. The Association recognises the Studenti Ħarsien Soċjali as the official body representing social work students. As such, Studenti Ħarsien Soċjali may elect one (1) representative to sit on the Executive Committee, in addition to the nine (9) other members on the Executive Committee.
- (ii) Associate members
Any person who is not a social worker but who would like to show support to the social work profession can be part of the Association as an associate members. Associate members shall be entitled to attend training activities held by the Association at a discounted rate and shall be entitled to have their requests for research circulated to the Association members. They shall not be entitled to attend consultation meetings where material of a purely social work nature is being discussed, but shall be entitled to attend any other consultation meetings. They shall not be entitled to attend any other consultation meetings. They shall not be entitled to attend the Annual General Meetings and/or Extraordinary General Meetings
- (i) Membership fees shall be established by the Executive Committee for the different membership categories. The fees cannot be increased by more than 10% in any one year.
- (ii) In the event of non-payment of fees, a member will be advised in writing. If he or she will not comply within a month, his or her membership will lapse.
3.3 Adherence to the Code of Ethics.
Membership to all categories is contingent upon adherence to the Code of Ethics promulgated by the Association.
3.4. Allegations of Infringements of Code of Ethics.
- (i) When a complaint is filed with the Executive Committee involving alleged malpractice or alleged infringements of the Social Work Code of Ethics, the Executive Committee shall explain to the person making the complaint the limited jurisdiction of the MASW and the role of the Social Work Profession Board in addressing such complaints.
- (ii) Depending on a prima facia assessment of the complaint and the expressed wish of the complainant, the Executive Committee will either advise complainant to file complaint with the Social Work Profession Board or else decide to deal with the complaint through its own procedure.
- (iii) In the case of anonymous complaints alleging infringement of the Social Work Code of Ethics, the Executive Committee will forward the complaint to the MSWPB.
- (iv) The MASW may initiate investigations itself.
- (v) In cases of alleged infringements of the Code of Ethics which the Executive Committee has decided to investigate itself, the Executive Committee shall refer the matter to an Adjudicating Body appointed as laid down in Section 3.4 (vi) whose function shall be the investigation of all such allegations.
- (vi)The Adjudicating Body shall be composed of 5 members. These members must be:
- (a) A member of the legal profession;
- (b) A practitioner from an allied profession;
- (c) At least one member must be from the Executive Committee, who shall be Chair;
- (d) Two members of the association appointed by the executive committee.
- (vii) Prior to commencing their work, nominated members to the Adjudicating Body need to sign a “no conflict of interest” declaration”.
- (viii) The Adjudicating Body shall regulate its proceedings according to the principles of natural justice.
- (ix) The Adjudicating Body can regulate its own activities but it must always ensure that:
- (a) All efforts are undertaken to reach a decision by consensus;
- (b) When consensus is not reached, a decision is reached by secret voting;
- (c) All parties to the alleged infringement are given fair hearing with respect to principles of natural justice;
- (d) In its workings, deliberations and conclusions, the principles of restorative justice shall be employed to the greatest extent possible.
- (x) The conclusions of the Adjudicating Body shall be final and these will be submitted as a final report to the Executive Committee for implementation. In cases of proven non compliance to the Code of Ethics the Executive Committee shall apply sanctions as recommended in the Adjudicating Body’s report, which may include the withdrawal of membership of the individual concerned who shall have the right to appeal to the next General Meeting. In cases of proven non-compliance to the Code of Ethics the Executive Committee will inform the Social Work Profession Board of the complaint.
4.1 Calling of General Meetings.
A general meeting shall be held every calendar year, provided that not more than 15 months elapse between general meetings.
Extraordinary general meetings will also be called if:
- (a) the Executive Committee so decides; or
- (b) at least 33% of paid-up regular members request this in writing.
A quorum of 50% + 1 of regular paid-up members is required for the meeting to take place. If, however, after 30 minutes of scheduled time, the quorum is not reached the meeting can proceed, provided that at least 33% of members are present. If 33% of the members are not present 45 minutes after the scheduled time, the meeting can proceed provided 20% members are present. Members have to be individually informed in writing of the General Meeting at least three weeks before the scheduled date.
The General Meeting is the highest authority of the Association with responsibilities for policy decisions within the Association. The Executive Committee is bound by the decisions taken in the General Meeting.
The General Meeting shall elect the members of the Executive Committee of the Association, which shall consist of at least seven members up to a maximum of 9 members, excluding the student representative. The term of office of the Executive Committee shall be of two years, with elections being held each year for the vacant places in the Executive.
4.5 Chairperson of the General Meeting.
The General Meeting shall be presided over by a Chairperson who shall have a vote and a casting vote. This Chairperson shall be proposed to the General Meeting by the Executive Committee in the notice of the General Meeting and shall be considered as approved if no written objection is received by the Executive within the stipulated time indicated by the Executive. The General Meeting shall be governed by the normal Rules of Procedure. When any contingency arises which is not covered by provisions of this statute, the Chairperson’s decision shall be binding.
During the Annual General Meeting two persons from among the Association’s members should be nominated as reviewers. These two persons should review the Association’s accounts prior to the next Annual General Meeting. All executive committee members are responsible for the Association’s finances, although the financial aspect would be monitored by the Treasurer and Chairperson. All executive members must register within the Financial Institution (Bank) entrusted with the association fund. The Association must reflect a minimum of 25% of its funds that are deposited in a low risk portfolio, in order to be able to serve as a capital financial instrument for the Association.
- (i) Elections for the Executive Committee of the Association are to take place by secret vote. Regular Members are to be nominated and seconded during the two (2) week period immediately preceding the day of the General Meeting, as required in that particular year. Regular Members can vote for nine (9) candidates or less to sit on the Executive Committee; Voting shall start at the Annual General Meeting and then continue for a week after the said Annual General Meeting till 7 p.m.;
- (ii) In addition, Student Members may elect (1) representative from amongst themselves to sit on the Executive Committee;
- (iii)All other matters connected with the method of voting shall be decided by the Chairperson
4.8 Lapsing of Term of Office and Winding Up.
In the event of the term of office of the Executive Committee having lapsed because of attempts to call a General Meeting have failed, the term of office is automatically extended for up to three months during which the Committee has to attempt to revitalize the Association. Failing this the Committee must see to its winding-up.
The Executive Committee shall consist of at least seven (7) members, up to a maximum of nine (9) or 10 if a student member is elected; not more than three (3) of whom can be persons not involved in client-service delivery at the time of the General Meeting.
During the first Executive Committee Meeting following elections, the Executive Committee shall nominate a Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer and other posts which it considers necessary from among its members.
The Executive Committee shall nominate a sub-committee for Warrants and Qualifications, a sub-committee for Standards and Ethics, a sub-committee for Student Affairs, and any other sub-committees it deems fit. Any member of the Association including Executive Committee members and Student members can sit on these sub-committees which must be chaired by Executive Committee members.
The quorum for the Executive Committee meetings shall be 50% of the executive committee members. Decisions are to be taken by a majority vote. The Chairperson has a vote and a casting vote. Normal Rules of Procedure shall regulate Committee Meetings. In situations not covered by Rules of Procedure the Chairperson shall use his/her discretion and his/her decision shall be final.
Vacancies arising in the offices before the expiration of the term of office shall be filled by the Executive Committee from among its members. However, should the membership of the Committee fall to less than five (5), vacancies are to be filled by runners-up, if any. If none are available a General Meeting has to be called by the Executive Committee.
Any Executive Committee members that wish to resign from their posts must do so in writing to the Chairperson and commit themselves to attend a final executive meeting for handing over purposes.
The provisions of this Statute and the Code of Ethics are binding and can only be changed by a two-thirds vote in a General Meeting. The Executive Committee shall receive amendments to the Statute or the Code of Ethics two (2) weeks before the General Meeting. The Executive Committee will circulate such amendments together with the agenda of the General Meeting among all paid-up members at least one week before the date in which the General Meeting is due to be held.
One of the association’s representatives on the Social Work Profession Board shall be elected in a purposely organized election from among the association’s members. The other representative will be nominated by the executive committee.
Should the Association be dissolved, its assets will devolve in favour of the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at the University of Malta for the purpose of supporting the continuous professional development of Social Work graduates.