Te whai I ngā kaitauwhiro Employing social workers

Social workers are a vital and important workforce. They apply their expertise and skills across a range of organisations and services, working with vulnerable individuals, whānau and communities to improve wellbeing.

Employing a registered social worker gives you confidence in their professional practice, and the competency, and ethics they bring to their role.

Social workers are qualified, competent to work with Māori, competent to work with ethnic and cultural groups in Aotearoa New Zealand, and competent to engage in practice which promotes social change. They act with integrity and ensure accountability.

All social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand must be registered by the SWRB. Mandatory registration has been in place since 27 February 2021. It reassures the public that all social workers are part of a regulated workforce which adheres to a Code of Conduct and understands its professional obligations, strengthening trust in the profession. You can check if a social worker is registered and holds a current practising certificate by searching our Public Register.

Information for employers

Social workers – a regulated profession

Your employees must be registered if they:

  • call themselves a social worker,
  • are known as a social worker, or
  • are held out to be a social worker

Find out more about Registration.

Your social workers must also have a valid practising certificate which is renewed annually. When social workers renew their practising certificate, they make an online declaration that they are competent and fit to practise.

Find out more about Practising Certificates.

Social workers are also expected to undergo continuous professional development and have regular supervision.

Safe and competent practice

Please inform us if you have any concerns about your social workers which could affect their safe practice. The concerns may be in relation to serious misconduct, health issues, or competence.

Find out more about the mandatory reporting of concerns

Supporting your social workers

You can show your organisation’s commitment to professional standards in social work by supporting your registered social workers. Having a fully professional workforce which adheres to the SWRB’s Code of Conduct and employing social workers who are required to meet the standards set by the profession, helps to build trust. It shows the public you take your obligations to public safety seriously. 

We encourage employers to pay the registration and practising certificate fees for their social worker as part of their commitment to a professional workforce.

You can become an authorised employer which provides an easier way for you to keep in touch with us and make payments on your employees’ behalf.

Find out more about becoming an Authorised Employer.

Experience pathway: S13

If you have a member of staff who has lots of practical social work experience in New Zealand, but not an SWRB-recognised social work qualification, they may still be eligible to register under our Experience pathway: S13.