Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022

From the Chair of the Board Shannon Pakura:

Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022 Social Workers Registration Board

As we look back on the year, I recognise that once again our social worker profession, and the communities we serve have faced tough, challenging times. However, it is heartening that we have had some highlights for the profession to celebrate in recent weeks.

There was a fantastic atmosphere at Parliament when the Ministers announced their decision to extend pay equity to social workers of iwi and community-based social service providers. I was honoured to stand alongside fellow social workers and colleagues who have been working so hard on the pay equity settlement for the sector. This follows on from the agreement in October to settle the pay equity claim for five NGO social worker employers.

We see this as a significant step forward for the social work profession. It is recognition of the huge value and contribution that registered social workers bring to working with rangatahi, whānau and communities. We look ahead to 2023 with a sense of anticipation about the benefits this will bring to so many of you who are working in such difficult circumstances.

I take this opportunity to wish you all a restful holiday season.

Meri Kirihimete, me ngā manaakitanga mō te tau hou!

Shannon Pakura
SWRB Board Chair

From the Chief Executive of the SWRB Sarah Clark:

Kei ngā manu tāiko, ngā manu tukutuku, tēnā rā koutou katoa

This month I had the opportunity to join our Board Chair Shannon in a visit to social workers from the Bay of Plenty. We were fortunate to meet social workers from across the community and were able to talk about our approach to our work, both as a regulator but also our work with agencies and Ministers supporting the social work workforce. If you attended – thank you for the welcome we received! It was also a great reminder of the value of getting out and about, and Shannon and I hope that 2023 will lend itself to similar opportunities across the motu.

I also want to take a moment to celebrate the pay equity settlement, work to progress the extension, and acknowledge its significance for the sector. We know it was many hands from many places that made it happen, with more work ahead. It is an optimistic note upon which to end the year, looking ahead with a sense that the upcoming year will see further recognition for the sector.

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou, ā, kia pai tō wā whakatā 

Sarah Clark
Chief Executive

The above photograph from the pay equity announcement event: (left to right) Sarah Clark, Braden Clark (ANZASW), Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Miriama Scott (TWSWA) and Shannon Pakura

Pay equity event

Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022 Social Workers Registration Board

Pictures from the pay equity announcement. Shannon (centre) is pictured with Brenda Pilott (Social Service Providers Aotearoa) and Mike Munnelly (Barnardo’s)

The SWRB was represented at the announcement of the decision to extend pay equity to social workers of iwi and community-based organisations. Shannon and Sarah attended the event which took place late in November.

For full details of the settlement, please see the Te Kawa Mataaho / Public Service Commission website. We know the decision has raised many questions with social workers and employers about the process for implementing the settlement, and there is a helpful questions and answers sections on their website.

Te Kawa Mataaho/ The Public Service Commission are committed to this work, and to make it as easy and accessible as possible.

There are two webinars for Community and Iwi providers coming up to provide information on next steps for the extension work (see below for details). Note if you are a Funder or a Peak Body, there are running separate information sessions for you. If you have not received an invite to one of these meetings, please get in touch with the team at the Commission – their email address is: Payequityextension@publicservice.govt.nz

Public Service Commission –
Webinar for Community and Iwi Providers
Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Time: 4:00PM – 5:00PM
Zoom Meeting link
Meeting ID: 870 0145 1217
Passcode: 457409

As part of the implementation of the decision, with the support of the MSD and Te Kāhui Kāhu, we will be doing some work to scope and identify public safety considerations for those undertaking work that is substantially similar to social work.

The SWRB looks forward to working with the Te Kawa Mataaho and other agencies to support the work ahead as the settlement progresses.

Social Worker Koha

We would like to again thank everyone who sent in their nominations. It was inspiring to read about some of the extraordinary mahi that social workers are doing out there in the community.

Our social work advisory team had the very difficult job of selecting koha recipients from all the fantastic nominations but were able to select seven social workers/ teams that they felt exemplified value led practice in the work they do. The selected nominees have been contacted, and you may see them (and some of their celebrations) in a 2023 Onboard and on our online channels in the near future.

Education visits

The busy season of educational visits drew to a close recently with a trip to Napier to visit staff and students of Eastern Institute of Technology and a return visit of Chief Advisor Social Work Catherine Hughes to meet ākonga of ARA. The social workers of the SWRB sector engagement team were made to feel very welcome on all of their visits and thank all the organisers for their manaakitanga. We wish all new graduates every success as they join the social worker workforce.

Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022 Social Workers Registration Board

Pictures from top: Manukau Institute of Technology visit with Paula Bold-Wilson, Senior Social Work Advisor Māori and Andrew Thompson, Senior Social Work Advisor, ARA Fourth Year students with Catherine Hughes, Unitec’s Fourth Year students at their just practice symposium

Education standards review update

As we look back on highlights of the year, we reflect on the richness of the engagement which has informed the education standards review to date. We remain enormously grateful for the time taken by everyone who has participated and the openness, care and commitment everyone involved has shown. In particular, we thank the kaiwhakahaere and advisory rōpū who advised us on what a Te Tiriti informed process for engagement might look like, and who have supported the development of a first draft of new standards based on the emergent themes coming out of the feedback received and kōrero from hui held earlier in the year.

It is some time since we provided an update: there is more work for us to do as the regulator on how the standards align with our legislation, within the regulatory context. While the additional work bringing the legislative and regulatory lens progresses, the proposed draft standards will be shared with the sector early in 2023 so that you can see how these have built on the emergent themes from the engagement.

Earlier this year, we set out with a timeframe that would have seen us nearer to finalising a new set of standards than we are now. However, having identified the need for more project work to be undertaken by the SWRB before finalising the standards, we will be revising our timetable for the consultation phase. Sharing the draft standards early in 2023 will give you an opportunity to see how the themes have informed their drafting, before the more formal consultation documents are prepared.

Welcoming new Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) members

Earlier in the year we put out a call for more people to become Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) members and we were delighted with the response. With the recruitment of new high calibre Registered Social Worker and Lay members for the PCCs we will be better equipped to deal with concerns and complaints in a timely manner. We shortlisted and interviewed from a very strong field. Thank you to everyone who put in an expression of interest form.

While we support the administration of the PCCs, the PCCs run externally to the SWRB. Together with the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) they are key to our disciplinary processes, ensuring that social workers are held accountable for their practice. They are funded by the disciplinary levy.

Since the introduction of mandatory registration from February 2021, we have seen an increase in the number complaints and referrals to PCCs. In the 2021/22 year, 14 complaints and notifications were referred to PCCs and five matters before PCCs were closed. In the 2021/22 year, four matters were referred to the Tribunal.

Tribunal decisions

In recent weeks, we have published the outcomes of two Tribunals on our Tribunal Decisions website, which related to:

  1. A Tribunal decision relating to a former DHB and NGO employee 

The social worker had threatened and harassed an employee of the DHB where she previously worked, made disparaging remarks on social media posts about the reputation and character of the same employee and the DHB, and then engaging in an unprofessional and/or inappropriate relationship with a client of an NGO she then went to on to work for. He was not her direct social work client, but she was employed by the NGO at the time. Her conduct breached Principles 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of the Code of Conduct.

The Tribunal’s opinion was that the social worker’s conduct was of a nature and gravity which indicates that she is unfit to practise as a social worker. She was found guilty of professional misconduct. The social workers registration has been cancelled, she was censured and required to pay PCC and Tribunal costs. 

A summary of the Tribunal Decision with links to further information and reading is available here: https://swrb.govt.nz/tribunal-decision-lynch/

  • A Tribunal decision relating to the former employee of an NGO

The social worker dishonestly took food parcels and/or took supermarket food vouchers which were intended for clients of the NGO she worked for. Her conduct breached Principles 1,6, 9 and 10 of the Code of Conduct.

The social worker was censured as a record of the Tribunal’s concerns about the serious nature of her conduct. Conditions were placed on her practice and was required to contribute to PCC and Tribunal costs.

A summary of the Tribunal Decision with links to further information and reading is available here: https://swrb.govt.nz/tribunal-decision-wastney/  

Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022 Social Workers Registration Board

Annual report 2020-2021 published

The SWRB Annual Report 2020-21 has been recently published on our website. The publication of this report was delayed through the audit process, largely due to the impact of COVID-19.

You can find the report on our Publications page.

Office hours and Digital sessions

The SWRB office will be closed for the holiday period, from the 24th of December to the 9th of January. If you leave a message or an email, our team will get back to you in the new year,

We will be hosting our last Thursday digital session of the year on the 22nd of December from 1pm, and will resume them in 2023 from the 12th of January.

Onboard newsletter – End of year message 2022 Social Workers Registration Board

Meri Kirihimete!