Mō mātou
About us

The Social Workers Registration Board (SWRB) is a Crown entity which is the regulatory authority responsible for the registration of social workers.

As the SWRB, we recognise our Crown-Māori commitment as a Te Tiriti O Waitangi partner and are committed to improving services and outcomes for Māori, strengthening the Crown’s relationship with Māori, and developing our Māori capability.

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

The SWRB’s primary functions are to:

  • protect the safety of members of the public by ensuring that when social workers come onto the register, they are competent, fit to practise, and will be accountable for the way in which they practise, and to
  • enhance the professionalism of social workers.


If you have concerns about the way you or your issue was responded to by the SWRB, we would welcome hearing from you. The information will be handled respectfully and we will contact you promptly. You can get in contact by emailing us at office@swrb.govt.nz.

Our people

Chief Executive – Sarah Clark

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

Sarah joined the SWRB in May 2017 after holding a number of roles within the state sector.

Originally from Christchurch, Sarah has a Masters in Geography, and a thesis on female offending.  Her career has taken her on a diverse path, most recently with Superu (Families Commission) as Director of Client Services, and at the Office for Seniors as its Director.

Sarah has worked on the frontline with youth unemployment and also in Parliament as a social researcher and then Director of the Labour Research Unit.

She believes the SWRB is well placed to lift awareness of the importance of social workers across the wider social sector, and to support the professionalisation of social workers.

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

RegistrarPaul Kirby

Paul joined the SWRB in January 2019.

Paul is from the East Coast, born in Wairoa, and did most of his schooling in Gisborne.

He is a lawyer and was formerly the Deputy Chief Executive and Manager of Legal Services at Queen Elizabeth the Second National Trust, and he has worked in private practice in Wellington and Lower Hutt.

Prior to his legal training, Paul worked as a manager in social services.

Chief Advisor Māori Development – Hohepa Patea

E rere kau mai I te awa tupua                          The Whanganui river flows 
Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa    From the clan of mountains to the sea
Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au                      I am the river and the river is me 

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

The Whanganui river is my source of spiritual and physical wellbeing, a living entity that binds the people to the river, and the river to the people.

From the west, the healing fonts of my ancestral river; to my mother’s side in the east, the celestial tide churns at Tokomaru Bay, the first place to welcome the new day.

From the swift rapids of the Whanganui River to the ebb and flow at Tokomaru Bay, these natural elements continue to shape, inform and guide me on my professional journey.

I believe that the solutions to wellbeing are within our Māori models.  It is from the Māori world view that we extract benchmarks of best practice and excellence. This important contribution to the shared space strengthens us all.

With over 20 years’ experience providing Māori advice and perspectives to the social sector, I have worked across a broad range of organisations including SuPERU (The Social unit for Policy Research and Evaluation), Ministry of Social Development, Stats NZ, Treasury, Victoria University, Te Rau Ora, and Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision.

In my role as Chief Advisor – Māori Development at SWRB, I will be responsible for the design, development and implementation of the SWRB Māori strategy and action plan that will utilise Māori ways of being, thinking and understanding to influence and guide our organisation into the future as a modern regulator.

Ka huri te kei o te waka ki te pae tawhiti
Kia hoe ngātahi ki te pae tata

Turn the prow of the vessel towards our distant horizon
Let us begin by paddling together as one

Chief Advisor Social Work – Dr. Catherine Hughes

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

Catherine has worked as a frontline health social worker in Aotearoa and overseas, and most recently she was the Clinical Manager of Social Work Services at the CDHB. Prior to that was the Head of Social Practice at Unitec in Auckland where she was an Associate Professor.

Catherine is a registered social worker with a PhD in Social Work, a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts/Psychology, and she has a broad range of leadership experience in the practice and educational sectors. Her research areas are health social work/palliative care and student success in social work education, while her PhD considered the role that culture plays in the journey from diagnosis to the end of life.

She was born in Christchurch and is a first-generation New Zealander, born from Scottish parents who immigrated to Aotearoa in 1957 on the final sailing of the Captain Cook.

In her role as Chief Advisor Social Work, Catherine will support and encourage social work professionalism through engagement with the practice and education sectors. Her role will include building the sector’s understanding of regulatory and compliance responsibilities, practice competencies and standards, Code of Conduct and future workforce planning, while recognising the Crown-Maori commitment as a Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner. She will be part of the executive team providing internal communication to SWRB Staff, Board and the Minister.

Workforce Planning & Policy Manager – Liz Jones

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board

Liz has worked across the public sector, to central government, for government departments, in the not-for-profit and voluntary sectors, in Aotearoa and overseas for over 25 years. Liz has a Business Degree, a Masters by Research in the development of older people’s housing and care services, two Postgraduate Diplomas in Social Housing and one in Public Health.

This is Liz’s second stint at the SWRB. She previously worked on changes to our legislation in 2017 that saw the implementation of mandatory registration for social workers. This time her role is Policy and Workforce Planning Manager. 

Liz oversees a small team of Policy Advisors whose work supports social workers and social work students to become and maintain their compliance as registered professionals, such as the development of the Scope of Practice, Code of Conduct, and Programme Recognition Standards for our social work education providers.

The policy team also develops operational policy and procedures for our in-house SWRB teams in Registration, Professional Standards, and Education and Complaints. The team is also currently responsible for all Crown monitoring activity, and accountability reporting to the Minister for Social Development nad Education. This includes our Statement of Intent, Statement of Performance Expectations, our Annual and Quarterly Reporting, and all performance measurement and monitoring activities.

Liz also leads the social worker Workforce Planning space, a new role assigned to the SWRB by the Minister. The SWRB’s role in workforce planning is to ensure a SAFE, PROFESSIONAL, qualified, knowledgeable and ACCOUNTABLE social worker workforce, and provide INSIGHT into where and when social workers are required to meet demand for services, now and in the future.

Our Board

You can find out when the SWRB Board meets to approve registration applications and who our SWRB Board members are here.

SWRB’s vision, purpose and values

Our Vision
Social workers in Aotearoa are accountable, recognised and valued.

Our Purpose
To protect the public by ensuring social workers are accountable, competent and safe to practice now and into the future.

Ko tā mātau Kaupapa
Te tautiaki i te iwi tūmatanui mā te whakarite, ka noho haepapa ngā tauwhiro, ka haumaru, ka whai pūkenga, ka tika hoki ki ngā mahi ināianei, ā, haere ake nei

Ngā Uara (our values)
The following values inform and guide the SWRB in its pursuit to protect the public and enhance the professionalism of social work.

Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board
SWRB’s functions

The SWRB’s duties and functions (as outlined in section 99 of the Social Workers Registration Act) are:

  • to receive and consider applications for registration
  • to authorise the registration of social workers
  • to maintain the Register
  • if it thinks fit, to adopt conditions subject to which all practising certificates, or the practising certificates of all registered social workers of a particular description, must be issued
  • to consider applications for practising certificates referred to it by the Registrar
  • to recognise New Zealand educational qualifications for the purposes of this Act
  • to review the competence of social workers
  • to establish and maintain a code of conduct for registered social workers
  • in consultation with providers of social work education and training in New Zealand and bodies that set standards for social work education and training in New Zealand, to promote and set standards for such education and training for the purposes of this Act
  • to promote the benefits of registration –
    • to departments of State, other instruments of the Crown, other bodies and organisations that employ social workers, and the public; and
    • among people practising as social workers
  • to promote the establishment by departments of State, other instruments of the Crown, and other bodies and organisations that employ social workers, of accessible and efficient procedures for making, considering, and determining complaints relating to social workers they employ
  • to advise, and make recommendations to, the Minister in respect of matters relating to the regulation of the social work profession
  • to appoint the members of the Tribunal
  • to promote and encourage high standards of practice and professional conduct among registered social workers and the employers of social workers
  • to consider the cases of registered social workers who may be unable to perform adequately the functions required to practise social work satisfactorily
  • to disclose to the employers or prospective employers of social workers information it has obtained under this Act relating to people who are or have been—
    • applicants for registration; or
    • registered social workers (subject to the Act)
  • to provide administrative and related services for the Tribunal
  • any other functions conferred or imposed on it under this Act or any other enactment
Social Workers Registration Act

The Social Workers Registration Act 2003 (the Act) establishes the SWRB. You can read it here.

SWRB’s information gathering and privacy policy

We are a public safety Crown regulator.

We hold a public register of all social workers and we gather information in relation to our regulatory role, including for registration applications; holding a Practising Certificate; and to assess and manage concerns we receive about the conduct, competence, and/or health of registered social workers.

We also gather information through an annual survey on workforce planning for social work, as well as surveys to assist in the assessment of our performance.

The Privacy Act 2020 regulates how we collect, use, hold, disclose, access, correct, manage and dispose of your personal information.

Where you voluntarily provide us with personal information (eg, through online forms or emails), we may hold your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 2020. We will only use personal information that you provide to us through for the purposes for which you supplied it or, in exceptional situations, for other reasons permitted under the Privacy Act 2020.

We will not disclose your contact details without your consent and we will not share your personal information with others, unless this is necessary for the purpose for which you gave us the information (eg, to assess a complaint). Occasionally, the law may require us to disclose it (eg to investigate a criminal offence), or there may be safety reasons for disclosing it.

SWRB Social media transparency statement

The SWRB and social media

We are active on Facebook to share information of interest to the social work sector. As the regulator of social workers, we have a role in protecting the safety of members of the public and enhancing the professionalism of social workers.

Engage with us
Our community includes social workers, employers, social work educators, social work students, and other interested members of the public. We encourage our community to engage with us on Facebook by sharing and/or commenting on our posts. We won’t be able to reply individually to every comment but will endeavour to answer any queries made to our inbox within two working days.

You may also prefer to contact us by emailing your question to applications@swrb.govt.nz

Our social media standards
As a Crown entity we must uphold appropriate standards on our page. Any comments that are deemed offensive, threatening or discriminatory, or breach the privacy of any person will be removed, deleted and/or reported to Facebook. We also maintain the right to block and/or report any user of Facebook whose comments on our page breach our standards.
At times we may follow/like the pages of other individuals and organisations that are relevant to our mahi. This is not to be regarded as endorsement of their views.

Contact us
We welcome feedback and encourage you to raise any concerns about our social media page by emailing us at office@swrb.govt.nz

SWRB & ANZASW – the differences
Mō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration BoardMō mātou <br /> About us Social Workers Registration Board
Established by the Social Workers Registration Act 2003Established in 1964 under the Incorporated Societies Act (1908)
Is accountable to the Minister of Social Development and ParliamentIs accountable to members
Provides a voice for the publicProvides an independent voice for social workers
Increases the professionalism of social workersSupports social workers & the social work profession
Protects the safety of the public by ensuring social workers are:

• Competent to practice
• Accountable for their practice
• Fit to practice

Supports social workers by operating the regulatory framework in a way that’s
transparent and accountable

Builds public trust so social workers can be recognised as skilled professionals

Lifts the standing of social work by having registered professionals, similar to others, ie teachers, nurses and lawyers
Provides a national organisation for professional social workers to (re)present their views on social policy and practice, and to protect their interests and public standing

Advances social justice, human rights and human dignity through advocacy and social change

Promotes an indigenous identity for social work in Aotearoa New Zealand
Registration & Enhancing ProfessionalismServices Provided
Registers social workersProvides a ‘voice’ for social workers through a range of media
Issues Practising CertificatesPublications – Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, Notice Board, eNotices, website, practice notes
Sets professional standards through a Code of ConductDevelops & maintains a Code of Ethics
Sets CPD requirements and monitors complianceDelivers & promotes professional development activities
Reviews competence of social workersProvides an online CPD Log
Regulates the profession to build public trust in social workersListings
o Professional Supervisors
o Social work vacancies
o Social Workers in private practice
o Local national & international CPD
Sets programme recognition standards for social work degreesProvides professional indemnity insurance as a member benefit
Receives, assesses and manages complaints about registered social workers
Contact detailsContact details
Social Workers Registration Board
Kāhui Whakamana Tauwhiro
PO Box 3452, Wellington, 6140, New Zealand
Email: office@swrb.govt.nz
Website: https://swrb.govt.nz/
Te Rōpū Kaimahi Toko i te Hāpori i Aotearoa
DX Box WX33484, Christchurch, New Zealand
Email: admin@anzasw.nz
Website: https://anzasw.nz/

Contact us:

Social Workers Registration Board
Level 7
110 Featherston Street,
Wellington  6011

Postal Address:
Social Workers Registration Board
PO Box 3452
Wellington Central
Wellington 6140

Freephone: 0508 797 269
Phone: +64 4 931 2650
Email: office@swrb.govt.nz