Onboard newsletter – August 2022

He ara pūkenga, he ara tauwhiro, hei whakamana mātā wata

Tēnā koutou katoa, Greetings to you all,

Looking back a year ago, we had gone back into a COVID-19 lockdown. I am not sure if at that time we would have anticipated quite how many of us would go on to have first-hand, personal experience of the virus, in some cases more than once. I continue to be full of admiration for all social workers who have been supporting their whānau and communities through months of stress and pressure. Our wintery weather across the country will have compounded the difficulties for many, and I hope that we see some calmer times ahead.

An area of work that has really grown for us since the introduction of mandatory registration is responding to issues raised with us through our complaints process. When an issue comes to us, either about the practice of registered social workers, or where we receive a notification of a conviction of a registered social worker, the Board may decide to set up a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) to investigate. The PCC is independent of the SWRB and is made up of two registered social workers and one lay member. It is bound by the principles of natural justice and administrative fairness.

To meet this growing need, we are looking for more PCC members – both lay members and registered social workers – to support this important work. If you have anyone in your networks who may be interested, please suggest they get in touch with us. Details are in the article below or on our website.

This month we are turning our attention to our annual audit of Continuing Professional Development logs. Arrangements are in place for the audit to start next week (week beginning 29 August). We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to bring their CPD log up to date – and the opportunity to critically reflect on the previous year’s development opportunities is really valuable and helps identify goals for the coming year. The audit itself will be a random selection of 5% of Social Workers with a current practising certificate. If you have any questions about CPD, registration or any other areas of our regulatory work, we have our regular Thursday digital Zoom sessions if you’d like to drop in to talk to one of the team.

Remember to keep looking after yourself, as well as those around you – and stay safe.

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui!

Sarah Clark,

Chief Executive

Continuing Professional Development Log Audit 2022

The 2022 audit of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) logs will be launched week beginning 29th August 2022. This is a perfect opportunity to upload CPD onto your CPD page on MySWRB (https://my.swrb.govt.nz/). 

This year’s audit will include a random selection of 5% of all social workers that held a practising certificate during the 2021/2022 year. If you are selected, we will contact you to ask for a record of your CPD from 1 July 2021 – 30 June 2022.

CPD is important because it’s about staying current, engaging in life-long learning that enhances your professional development and cultural competence. CPD supports you to achieve good outcomes for the people you work with.

Your CPD log should demonstrate:

  • you have completed a minimum of 20 hours CPD during the year and have critically reflected on your CPD learning
  • at least one of your CPD activities supports your competence to work with Māori (core competence 1)
  • your CPD activities are linked to one or more of the ten core competencies
  • your supervisor has seen and signed off your log

You can upload your ANZASW log or a Pdf copy of your SWRB Log or preferably use the SWRB online log.

The logs will be audited externally by our experienced, tāngata whenua and tāngata Tiriti registered social workers, to confirm CPD has been undertaken, is relevant, and includes critical reflection.

Questions about CPD?

Drop into our Zoom digital Q&A sessions on Thursday 1st or 8th September 1-2pm.

The link for this session: https://bit.ly/31H8XEq

You can find more information about Continuing Professional Development and logs on our website.

Professional Conduct Committees – new members needed

We are seeking new members to serve on Professional Conduct Committees (PCCs). The PCCs are important in public safety and the regulation of social work by ensuring that social workers are competent and safe to practise. PCCs are independent statutory bodies established to investigate complaints, convictions and reports concerning registered social workers. They are bound by the principles of natural justice and administrative fairness.

We are inviting expressions of interest for different roles, so please do consider who in your networks may be suitable: 

  • Lay members of PCCs. Lay members are people who are not practising social work.  
  • Registered social worker members of PCCs. Social workers for this role should have at least five years’ experience of practising social work and hold a current practising certificate.

The workload can vary but would typically be between three and five hours per week per PCC. Members are expected to be reasonably available and able to participate in meetings and interviews during normal business hours. Members are paid for their time participating in PCCs.

For further details, and to apply online, please go to the post on our website: Professional Conduct Committees – new members needed

Social Service Symposium

On 3 August, we co-hosted the 3rd annual social service symposium showcasing indigenous knowledge, practice and research. The event was jointly organised by the SWRB, Barnardos and ANZASW and titled ‘Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us’, with Dame Rangimārie Naida Glavish (Ngāti Whātua) as the keynote speaker. It was an incredible day with many social workers attending, including over 400 joining us online.

SWRB social workers were among those who attended. Paula Bold-Wilson Senior Social Work Advisor Māori found the day “inspiring, and it was great to hear from our rangatira who have and continue to make a significant contribution to our whānau, at both a macro and micro level. The symposium reminds us of ensuring that our practice is relative, culturally response, and strives to meet the aspirations of whānau Māori.”

Education visits

The Sector Engagement team has undertaken three re-recognition visits. In sunny Christchurch with Ara, in a very wet Auckland with UNITEC and virtually with the Open Polytechnic. Re-recognition of social work programmes happens every five years when the education institute describes how they address each of the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS). The PRS have been described as a competence assessment for social work programmes.

These programmes have an enormous number of moving parts and the current overarching standards focus on governance, curriculum, field education, admission criteria, professional and stakeholder collaboration, and staffing resources. The re-recognition visit is an opportunity to learn about the programme and to ensure that it is meeting the PRS.

The day starts with a mihiwhakatau and moves into whakawhanaungatanga. The opportunity to connect and share with each other at the start of the day, settles us into comfortably meeting together, moving from tapu to noa. The sharing of kai after whakawhanaungatanga opens the space for us to renew old friendships and make new connections. The spirit of the day is then set. We continue with half hour meetings with executive leadership, academic leadership, academic staff, students, and stakeholders. It is a very full day and we close with recommendations, commendations, feedback about the process and closing karakia.

Each visit is different, but we always appreciate the dedication of those involved and the warm welcome we receive.

Digital session reminder

The SWRB has been hosting weekly Q&A sessions on Zoom every Thursday from 1pm. Over the upcoming weeks we are hosting sessions focused on the upcoming CPD audit (1 & 8 September). If you have questions about completing your CPD log, submitting it through MySWRB or the CPD audit process, you are welcome to join.

We are also planning to host a few sessions around graduate registration at the end of the year. We are interested in hearing from the sector about any other topics people wish to discuss, and we can look incorporating them into future sessions.

Further details about these and future sessions can be found on our Facebook page. You can access all these sessions via this link here.

Introducing registered social worker Robyn Corrigan, Ngāti Kahu

In the second of our series featuring individual social workers, we are delighted to share our interview with Robyn Corrigan. Robyn was appointed MNZM for services to social work in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this year following a long and distinguished career. She was the inaugural chair of the Social Workers Registration Board, is a life member of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) and continues to serve as a Kahui member of the Tangata Whenua Social Workers Association (TWSWA).

Tēnā koe Robyn. Please could you start by telling us what prompted you into social work?

Nothing prompted me to choose social work, I was prompted into social work! A couple of Ngāti Kahu kaumātua decided this for me.

My initial qualification was in Business Studies. Anyone with those skills was in demand back home to be on a committee. I became Secretary/Treasurer for Ngāti Kahu Mātua Whāngai, my introduction to the sector. The Matua Whangai Komiti eventually morphed into Iwi Social Services.

Back in the 1980s there was talk of establishing Iwi Social Worker. A position came up with the then Department of Social Welfare in Kaitaia. Kaumātua Papa Robbie Larkins said to me “Girl – you are going to apply for that job!” To begin with I protested “but I don’t know anything about social work!”

Somehow, with no qualifications and experience I became a DSW social worker supporting Ngāti Kahu whānau. Practice skills were obtained by shadowing other social workers.

I don’t think at that time as those first iwi social workers we had any sense of that role being part of a huge journey into the future. It was just a new job that was still social work, but one difference was that if you were based in the DSW office from a particular Iwi, you would be the one to visit families from that Iwi.

I was then encouraged by kaumatua Manu Paul to enrol in a 2-year Kaupapa Māori drug and alcohol counselling qualification, another sector I had no knowledge of. I retained an interest in that sector for many years.

While still with DSW, Government supported the establishment of Iwi-Social Services. A pilot with the five Iwi of Taitokerau was implemented. Each Iwi employed one social worker for Iwi and cultural services to whānau. This formed the basis for each Iwi establishing their own Social Services. I left the DSW and became one of the first Iwi social workers employed by Iwi.

Since then, I’ve had a number of roles as a front-line social worker, Supervisor, Lecturer, Practice Leader, holding management and governance roles in the health, education, Iwi, NGO and social services sectors.  

Did you go back to study to get formal training in social work?

Yes, in 1993, the Māori Women’s Welfare League and DSW sponsored bursaries for Māori women over 35 to student social work, acknowledging the centenary of Women’s Suffrage in NZ. I was one of four women to get a full-time bursary for two years study and chose what was then the Diploma in Social Work programme at the Auckland College of Education.

When it became a requirement to have a degree to be a registered social worker, I chose to upskill to a BSW through the University of Auckland.

Apart from the kaumatua pushing you into social work, who else influenced you?

I want to acknowledge a couple of people Tūroa Hāronga and Paraire Huata.

Tūroa Hāronga was a life member of ANZASW. He was instrumental in ensuring Māori were not forgotten in the development of the Profession by supporting the establishment of a Māori Caucus within the Association. Papa Tūroa was an early member of ANZASW and also a supporter in the establishment of TWSWA.

Through Te Ngaru Learning Systems, Paraire Huata influenced Māori practitioners throughout Aotearoa to develop and implement Māori models of practice to ensure better outcomes for whānau Māori.

Both were instrumental in grounding myself in Māori practice modalities and the imperative to always push for recognition of an indigenous world view, in practice.

Another acknowledgement as an influence is probably the Auckland College of Education Diploma in Social Work programme of the 1980s to early 2000s. The micro skills training that was embedded into that programme was an amazing grounding for best practice, ethics and competence. Many former students who have gone into leadership and senior social work roles comment on the strength of the practice skills of graduates from that programme.

Are there any significant development for the profession that you have been involved with?

Without a doubt the enactment of the Social Workers Registration Act in 2003 was a pivotal point in the development of social work in Aotearoa.

I was President of the ANZASW before the Act came into force and a number of members of the Association became members of inaugural board of the SWRB. To prevent potential conflicts of interest we resigned our roles at ANZASW when we took up those new roles. The Board then selected the Chair from the Board membership and I drew the short straw!

As the inaugural Chair of the SWRB, you are well placed to consider how the role of regulation and the SWRB itself have evolved. Is it how you expected? What would you like to see next for the profession?

Initially we were focused on policies and procedures to get social workers registered, the qualification requirements, competence standards, and so on. It took a lot of work just to get registration up and running. We didn’t really have view of the future when we were working on this. It was simply to get practitioners through a registration process. I don’t believe we anticipated it taking so long to become mandatory.

What I would like to see next is to get scopes of practice within fields of practice, developed. Our generic scope for social work is still very generalist and open to professional creep.

How have you developed your international connections and interest in indigenous social work practice?

In 1994, I was very fortunate with another student to go to Canada for our field work placement for three months. Our goal was to look at similarities, commonalities and differences between Māori models of practice compared with First Nations models of practice.

It sparked a long-lasting interest in indigenous social work. I’ve since had many visits with First Nations agencies across Canada, as well as to US and Australia – sharing with our indigenous brothers and sisters what works for us and doesn’t work, how our world views are integrated into our practice, and the commonality of values. 

The indigenous people I’ve been in contact with all have social work models based on their indigenous worlds. For example in Canada they have a practice model based on the Tipi; in Australia the aboriginal people have practice models based on the Dreamtime. 

I have a concern that often these Indigenous Models of Practice are appropriated by non-Indigenous peoples. The indigenous knowledge that started off as by indigenous for indigenous is re-interpreted and re-framed, then absorbed into mainstream practice, which dilutes the indigenous knowledge.

What advice would you give someone who is just starting their career in social work?

I often say to students that SW can take you anywhere in the world. As social work graduates their skills are transferrable. Don’t think the only place you can practice is here in Aotearoa. It’s taken me all around the world, visiting places I never would have been to. Put yourself out there! You don’t have to be an academic or a specialist. Take advantage of that and don’t get stuck doing the same thing for the same people. Expand your knowledge base and fields of practice.

You seem to keep busy in retirement! What do you spend your time doing now?

I have been taking professional hats off. I’m down to two national Governance roles and an Iwi-based one. Otherwise, I spend time with mokopuna and relax with Jigsaw puzzles, gardening and sudoku.

Do you have any other final comments?

I would just like to also acknowledge my colleagues who were on the inaugural board of the SWRB with me. They have all been influential in the social work profession in their own respective ways.