Onboard newsletter – January 2021

Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, i te tī, i te tā, tēnā koutou katoa

I hope you enjoyed a well-earned break over Christmas and New Year and, even with some areas having experienced rain and flooding, that summer is now making its way to your part of the country.

It’s an exciting time as we prepare for the shift to mandatory registration with all social workers needing to be registered next month by February 27th. It’s a move that has long been sought by and had the backing of the profession which is taking another step towards becoming a fully professional workforce. 

I would really appreciate you forwarding this newsletter to your colleagues who are yet to register, and to encourage them to start applying as the process takes time.  You could also direct them to the SWRB website – swrb.govt.nz.  By clicking the Apply to Register button on the home page they can create a MySWRB account and get started.

Mandatory registration will see social workers join the ranks of other regulated professionals such as teachers, lawyers, nurses, and doctors, all held in high regard by the public. The SWRB believes it will enhance the professionalism of our vital workforce and protect the safety of the public with all social workers working within the SWRB Code of Conduct and being accountable for their practice.

To mark this historic point in the profession’s path, the SWRB and the professional bodies, ANZASW & TWSWA, are working together to hold a celebration in Wellington on March 16th, World Social Work Day. We plan to hold some invites open for social workers and you can find out more below.

I would like to acknowledge that the mahi by social workers and the profession will continue as 2021 unfolds, and to thank you for your work.

Sarah Clark

SWRB Chief Executive

Registration team boost as applications soar

The SWRB registration team has been working really hard to deal with the influx of applications by social workers looking to get registered before mandatory registration is implemented next month.

We boosted the team numbers last year and have added another couple of temporary registration officers to help us get through the hundreds of applications we’ve already received and the anticipated last-minute rush.

The team answers lots of phone calls and email queries from social workers, along with checking the documents and applications sent in.  They are hard working, friendly, and really under the pump at the moment! 

If your colleagues are asking about how to get registered, point them to the website, swrb.govt.nz and once their application is submitted, if they have any questions, they can contact the team via email at applications@swrb.govt.nz.

Digital Q&A zoom sessions return

Bobbie & Morgan (registration team) & Andrew Thompson & Patsy Kainuku

We had an early start to our zoom Q&A sessions this year with our first being held on the 7th Jan.

The registration team, including Bobbie and Morgan, are back hosting sessions every Thursday from 1pm which you can join at this link – https://bit.ly/3nMZK6T. You can also join Andrew and Patsy for the Experience pathway: S13 Q&A sessions, with details appearing on our Facebook page

If you know of a social worker or employer who might be interested in asking some questions, please pass this information on to them.

Assistance for registering social workers

We know there are some social workers who are finding it difficult to become registered either due to the cost or because they need assistance with applying. 

The good news is that if your employer is an NGO organisation they may be able to access some support for you.

If your NGO has a contract with the Ministry of Social Development and/or Oranga Tamariki, a fund to assist social worker registration is being extended and will continue operating through to the end of February.

There have been a number of NGOs throughout the country that have applied to the fund, including Te Aroha Noa Community Services in Palmerston North (staff in photo above).  Its CEO Donna MacNichol says, It has been extremely useful to have received the social work registration funding … to support our social workers to achieve registration.  

“We are aware that statutory social workers’ registration and Practising Certificate costs are supported by their Government employers and it is positive to experience the same support for NGO/Community social work registration from Government.

“It certainly reflects that as a profession we are all committed to professional registration and it is positive to see NGO/Community social workers being provided the same support as social workers’ working for government services”.  

Don’t delay! To find out more, please contact your Oranga Tamariki advisor or relationship manager.

SWRB Māori development plans

At the end of last year, the SWRB board reconfirmed its “…commitment as a Te Tiriti o Waitangi partner and are committed to improving services and outcomes for Māori, strengthening the Crown’s relationships with Māori and developing our own Māori capability”.

Our Active Partnering with Māori Strategy and Action Plan is reflective of our aspirations and ability to work differently with Māori by moving with and working alongside Māori. We have been building on our collective knowledge of Crown-Māori partnerships including other regulators where we can glean good practice. We acknowledge the need for social workers to be accountable and competent to work with Māori, and we continue to explore innovative ways in doing this.  

We have been developing te ao Māori perspectives to shape, inform and support the transition of the social work profession into the mandatory environment. 

During our transition, we acknowledged all the great work of the past to get us to where we are now. 

As part of our information campaign, we have greatly appreciated engaging with Kaupapa Māori and Māori social work practitioners and gaining insights into the challenges and opportunities they face.

On that note, SWRB would like to acknowledge Senior Māori Advisor (Social Work Practice) – Patsy Kainuku (right) for her tireless commitment as our engagement lead with Māori.

Preparing for mandatory provided us the opportunity to develop a new whakataukī for the SWRB. The aim was to create a whakataukī for our social work profession that would be relevant and fit for purpose. The following whakataukī was developed and approved by the SWRB board:

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

The many pathways to knowledge, the many pathways of social work, upholding the dignity of all

(The whakataukī was gifted by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Porirua campus te reo Maori class, under the tutelage of Danny Makamaka of Ngāi Tūhoe.)

Mauri ora,

Hohepa Patea,

Chief Advisor Māori Development