Programme Recognition Standards Review 2022

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.    

These Programme Recognition Standards are reviewed regularly (every four-years) to ensure they remain fit for purpose. This current review process was originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to requirements of the pandemic response. Work on the review started late in 2021, and continues into 2022. 

He Arapaki – Our approach for the review

Sector engagement and consultation for the PRS review will be undertaken within a Te Tiriti o Waitangi framework and representing our value of mahitahi – the principle of partnership. 

We are committed to a process which is underpinned by He Arapaki, the SWRB Māori Development Strategy and Action Plan. He Arapaki is informed by our whakataukī – He Ara Pūkenga, He Ara Tauwhiro, Hei Whakamana Mātā Waka – and its core values of Matatika, Manaaki, Mahitahi and Māia. 

The SWRB Chief Advisor Social Work Catherine Hughes is reponsible for overseeing the review, and reporting recommendations to the Board for their final deliberation and decision-making. She has appointed Kaiwhakahaere – Shirley Ikkala and Carole Adamson – representing tangata whenua and tangata tiriti to co-lead the work with the SWRB review team. Appointing kaiwhakahaere for the review strengthens our team for meeting our aspirations for sector engagement underpinned by He Arapaki. 

An advisory rōpu has been appointed for the PRS review. This rōpu  is made up of four tangata whenua and two tagata Pasifika social workers. 

A reference rōpu has also been established with its members reflecting Aotearoa’s diversity. 

Six wānanga are scheduled, based around the existing six standards of governance, curriculum, field education, admission criteria, professional and stakeholder collaboration, and staffing resources. Although the six existing standards are a starting point for the review, these may change for the future standards. 

Three caucus hui are being held late April, early May for tangata whenua, tangata tiriti and tagata Pasifika. 

Alongside the development of the standards will be developing a framework of how SWRB determines whether the Programme Recognition Standards are being met, and how the costs of the function is met under the cost recovery model (as this is a regulatory function).  

Next steps

Community and Iwi services are an important part of the social work education system, supporting the majority of students on field work placements, and being the biggest employer group of new graduates.  

Social Service Providers Aotearoa (SSPA) is partnering with the SWRB to provide an on-line hui to hear specifically from the Iwi and community sector. We would value your contribution and invite you to join us via Zoom on 11 May from 11am till 12.30pm. To register for the hui, please visit the Zoom registration page

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

We are still accepting expressions of interest from people who have been involved in any part of the sector engagement to date and would like to be part of the wider reference group. Collated material and draft standards will be shared with this group for feedback, and they will be invited to future hui. For further information contact the Kaiwhakahaere – Shirley Ikkala and Carole Adamson. 

Links to background documents and announcements

For reference, here are links to information and posts relating to the review. The process for the review evolved during its planning and following the appointment of Kaiwhakaharea. Therefore some of the earlier news posts refer to aspects of review that were then adapted as it progressed.

Wānanga kaupapa tuko iho/ key resource documents

Wānanga additional feedback

Wānanga 1 - Governance

Wānanga 2 - Curriculum

Wānanga 3 - Field Education

Wānanga 4 - Admission Criteria

Wānanga 5 - Professional and Stakeholder collaboration

Wānanga 6 - Staff resources

Additional background

PRS Review - Kōrero tuku iho document

March 2022

Wānanga for the Programme Recognition Standards Review

February 2022

Kaiwhakahaere for the Programme Recognition Standards review have been appointed

Pacific facilitators wanted for PRS review

January 2022

Programme Recognition Standards review – various roles available

Tangata whenua co-leader for Programme Recognition Standards review