About us

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

About us Social Workers Registration Board

The SWRB’s primary function is 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 accountable for the way in which they practise. A further purpose is to enhance the professionalism of social workers.

The Chief Executive Sarah Clark 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.

About us Social Workers Registration Board

Paul Kirby joined the SWRB in January 2019 as Registrar.

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.

SWRB’s vision, purpose and principles

Our Vision
Social workers enable the Mauri Ora of our communities, family, whānau and individuals.

Ko tō mātau whāinga
Ka tautoko ngā tauwhiro i te mauri ora o ō tātau hapori, o ō tātau whānau me ngā tāngata takitahi hoki

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

Our Principles
What is important to us:

  • Be safe: an uncompromising commitment to public safety
  • Be fair: Consistent, fair, reasonable and transparent processes
  • Be accountable: Accountable to the public, the Minister of Social Development, staff and the profession
  • Be effective: best practice governance/regulatory role
  • Be collaborative: Collaborate and communicate through strong respectful relationships so the best outcomes are achieved
  • We Learn and improve: Excellence and continually challenging ourselves to keep getting better

Our Ngā Uara (values)
The following Ngā Uara (values) inform and guide the SWRB in its kaupapa to protect the public and enhance the professionalism of social work. In this context:

  • Kaitiakitanga is the responsibility of the SWRB for safe stewardship, guardianship and protection.
  • Rangatiratanga is the responsibility of the SWRB to lead, advocate for, facilitate and act with integrity
  • Manaakitanga is the responsibility of the SWRB to engage in mana-enhancing relationships through the demonstration of care, mutual respect, hospitality, generosity and aroha
  • Whanaungatanga is the responsibility of the SWRB to purposefully connect and strengthen mutual and sustainable relationships.
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 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 1993 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 1993. 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 1993.

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 & ANZASW – the differences
About us Social Workers Registration BoardAbout 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/

SWRB Board members

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