Competence

We will be changing the way we measure competence over the next couple of years to line up with best practice.

The competence of social workers is vitally important to the SWRB, and we will be introducing a range of measures.

The amendments to the Social Workers Registration Act in 2019 have an impact on competence, and include the following:

  • There is no longer a competence assessment required for New Zealand-qualified social workers, at the time you apply for registration*
  • Educational institutions are responsible for ensuring  the competence of their graduates
  • There is no longer any need to do a competence re-certification every five years
  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) logs will be audited annually.

*Social workers who hold overseas qualifications are still required to complete a competence assessment when first registering.

When the new competence measures are developed, we will update this information.

Continuing Professional Development

Once registered, social workers are required to maintain a continuous, up-to-date and accurate record of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities in a CPD log.

While there is no longer a need to do a competence re-certification every five years, the SWRB will be carrying out an annual audit of CPD logs. Find out more about CPD here.

How will we know if social workers are competent?

There are a number of mechanisms in place to ensure social workers are competent, from when they first begin work to the way they practice each year.

1. Educational institutions are responsible for ensuring  the competence of their graduates.

2. Social workers hold themselves responsible and accountable for the way in which they practice.  Each year, when registered social workers renew their Practising Certificate, they sign a declaration that they are:

  • competent,
  • fit to practise, and
  • accountable for the way in which they practice.

They are also expected to uphold the SWRB Code of Conduct which requires social workers to:

  • act with integrity and honesty
  • respect the status of Mäori as tangata whenua
  • respect the cultural needs and values of the client
  • be competent and responsible for their professional development
  • protect the rights and promote the interests of clients
  • strive to establish and maintain the trust and confidence of clients
  • respect the client’s privacy and confidentiality
  • work openly and respectfully with colleagues
  • maintain public trust and confidence in the social work profession
  • keep accurate records and use technology effectively and safely

Registered social workers receive regular supervision and their CPD plan and log are signed off by their supervisor.

3.       The employer is responsible for the delivery of social work services, and for the way in which social workers go about their practise when working with people, families, whānau, aiga, groups and communities.

4.       The SWRB requires registered social workers to plan and be responsible for their own Continuing Professional Development, and there is auditing of CPD logs, randomly selected.

There is a professional standards process which the SWRB oversees so if there is a concern or a complaint raised about the competency of a social worker, it is assessed, investigated if needed, and action is taken where necessary.