Scope of Practice to be consulted on

Consultation on the General Scope of Practice for social workers will take place once the new Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill has passed.

The Social Workers Registration Legislation currently being considered by Parliament, moves social workers from a voluntary to mandatory registration.

SWRB Chief Executive Sarah Clark says; “As the regulator for the social work profession it’s our job to protect the public’s safety by administering a registration framework that ensures social workers are competent, fit to practise and held accountable for their practice.  The move to mandatory registration will also protect the public and enhance the social work profession.”

“Within the proposed Bill is a General Scope of Practice. Scope of Practice is a model that is well tested within the health sector. A General Scope is wide ranging, which allows for flexibility and breadth of the profession”, says Ms Clark.

“In 2017 we consulted with the sector on a General Scope of Practice, to provide guidance on what constituted practising social work.”

“We will use the past work to build into future discussions with the sector over the next 18 months, once the legislation has passed.”

Ms Clark says good practice across other jurisdictions and other regulators will be used to inform and refine the proposal that goes out for discussion.

“Specialist scopes may be developed over time but would have to be developed with consultation with the sector – including social workers, professional bodies, educators and employers.”

“It’s important to note that the majority of submissions on the Bill by social workers were supportive of Scopes of Practice, and that the social work profession and key representatives from the sector including SWRB were  involved in its development. We recognise the work the Minister has done to understand the concerns of the sector and we’ve valued the opportunity to work collaboratively with the sector to address the concerns and see that reflected in the proposed legislation.

The final Scope will be determined by the SWRB Board which consists of a majority of registered social workers.

SWRB has responsibility for registered social workers who meet the required standards. SWRB does not have responsibility for those who are not registered if they are practising social work. That will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Development.