All social work programmes must meet the current SWRB Programme Recognition Standards. Institutions also have their own mechanisms, including external monitoring, for ensuring quality and national benchmarking.
What’s on this page
- Introduction to the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS)
- What’s included in the PRS
- Timetable for reviewing social work programmes
- Review of Programme Recognition Standards
- Annual education reports
Introduction to the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS)
All social work programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand must meet the SWRB Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) to continue to be recognised.
The Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) enable us to prescribe qualifications for social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Board uses PRS to ensure education providers deliver a social work degree that:
- meets the principles under the Social Workers Registration Act and the scope of practice
- enables graduates to meet professional standards for entry into the social work profession such as the Code of Conduct and the Ten Core Competencies.
Only students who follow courses leading to a SWRB–recognised qualification will be eligible to become a registered social worker (unless applying through the experience pathway or through an overseas qualification that is assessed as equivalent).
What’s included in the PRS
There are six themes for the standards:
- Field education
- Admission criteria
- Professional and stakeholder collaboration
- Staffing resources.
You can view our Programme Recognition Standards policy in the document below:
In 2021, some adjustments were made to the processes around managing field education placements due to the complexities of delivering the placements during COVID-19 restrictions. There were also adjustments to the schedule for programme re-confirming and mid-cycle reviews.
Timetable for reviewing social work programmes
The SWRB reviews all social work programmes at all institutions on a five-yearly cycle, with a mid-cycle review, as below:
|Tertiary Education Institute||2020||2021||2022||2023||2024|
|Toi Ohomai ||Re-confirm||Re-confirm|
Review of Programme Recognition Standards
The SWRB first developed programme recognition standards for social work qualifying programmes in Aotearoa in 2005, following the introduction of the Social Workers Registration Act (SWRA) 2003. PRS reviews should occur every four years.
You can read more about the Education Standards Review 2022-23.
The 2022 review was delayed from 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.
Annual education reports
The SWRB compiles a report at the end of each academic year that provides information on student numbers and demographics, as well as field education activities. You can find copies of recent reports below.
You can find previous Annual education reports on our publications page.