Onboard newsletter – June 2024

He ara pūkenga, he ara tauwhiro, hei whakamana mātā waka 
The many pathways of knowledge, the many pathways of social work, upholding the dignity of all 

We are approaching the end of the practising year and I thank everyone who has renewed their practising certificate for 2024/25. Alongside renewals, we appreciate the efforts of everyone who has completed the Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey. This is such an important information gathering survey for us. The findings form the bedrock of our workforce reports which inform the Minister, decision-makers, sector leaders and others about the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.

The end of the practising year also coincides with Matariki celebrations. We often get so focused on the busy mahi in front of us that we don’t always take enough time to pause – reflect on the year that’s passed, celebrate achievements made and look ahead with intent to the future. In this edition of Onboard we celebrate the achievement of Board member Rose Henderson who was awarded Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). We have also been looking ahead during the preparation of our Statement of Performance Expectations – an annual document – and setting our strategic direction for the next four years through our Statement of Intent. Both documents will be published at the beginning of July, and we will share more detail in future Onboards.

In preparing these documents we can see how far we have come through the year, and through the past few years since the introduction of mandatory registration. We know there is much still to do, but we are maturing as an organisation. We look forward to continuing with our quality improvement approach.

I hope that Matariki brings you an opportunity to pause, to connect with your whānau, and to move into the Māori new year refreshed and with purpose.

Ngā mihi nui,

Sarah Clark

Chief Executive

Practising certificate renewals underway and a new video guide

We would like to thank all the social workers who have already renewed their Practising Certificate (PC) for the upcoming practising year, completed their declaration, and participated in this year’s workforce survey.

All social workers can now renew their 2024/25 Practising Certificate (PC). If you are yet to do so, make sure you log in to your MySWRB to complete your declaration by 21 June 2024. Current PCs will expire on 30 June 2024.

If you are new to PC renewal, you might like to look at our video guide

If you are no longer practising social work, it is important that you let us know by clicking the ‘Declare not Practising’ button on your MySWRB account.

In addition to requests for password resets, one of the most common themes in calls and messages recently is around generating invoices for employers. When we had the function to address social workers’ invoices to employers previously, it caused confusion about whether a payment was made or not and who was responsible for paying. The SWRB ended up with a lot of debt, including more than half a million dollars from employers who didn’t pay. In addition, employers made payments that were hard to trace and apply to the social worker concerned. This means that in effect other social workers are subsidising those that haven’t paid, which isn’t fair.

We have started to introduce more robust debt recovery processes, and these will be further strengthened in the coming months. From next year, past debts will need to be paid in full before the person’s practising certificate will be issued.

When an employer has signed up to be an Authorised Employer, they have agreed to payment terms. This means that they will be invoiced directly when a social worker renews their PC.  You can view a list of Authorised Employers on our website: Authorised Employer list

Not too late to complete the Workforce Survey 2024

We greatly appreciate those who have taken the time to participate in this years’ Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey. This is an important survey for the social work profession as it provides valuable insights into the social worker workforce. It is used by the profession, employers, policy makers and ministers to support their understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the workforce.

If you didn’t have time to complete the survey when you renewed your PC, it isn’t too late! You can go back into MySWRB and use the button to take you back to the survey.

Help us to tell an accurate story of the challenges you face and the opportunities for strengthening the workforce! The more people who complete the survey, the more representative our findings will be. Last year, for example, more than 90% of respondents said that their employer paid for their PC in full or in part. Will it be a similar figure this year too? Thank you for your support with this mahi.

Digital session 

We host weekly digital information sessions – If you have any questions, especially around renewing your Practising Certificate/ completing your online declaration, or maintaining CPD, we invite you to join our zoom session on Thursdays with any questions you may have.

The sessions are held weekly on Thursdays at 1pm and can be accessed via this link: https://bit.ly/31H8XEq.

Noho marae

In May, the SWRB staff participated in a noho at Ōrongomai Marae in Upper Hutt. It was an enriching experience for all involved, being able to learn and reflect on our Māori strategy and values outlined in ‘He Arapaki’.

The noho was a significant milestone, honouring the pivotal contributions of our key speakers, Danny Makamaka and Tawaroa Kāwana, who shaped our whakatauākī, karakia, waiata, and te reo role titles of SWRB staff which are all framed and aligned to He Arapaki.

Our social workers held a Q&A panel in which they discussed their history and experience within the profession. It was an inspiring kōrero, hearing their stories, the motivations behind their work, and the challenges they confronted.

A big mihi to our beautiful hau kāinga (home people of Orongomai) who cared for us, and to our whānau who joined us.

Updating the Register

As the SWRB holds the responsibility for maintaining the register of Social Workers for New Zealand, we are in the process of reviewing the social worker register. We are currently looking to confirm all the information we have is correct and up to date to help ensure the safety of the public.

While many social workers are confirming their practising status and details through their PC renewal, those who are not currently practising will still need to advise of their status, if they have not done so already. This applies even if you plan to return to social work practice in the future.

If you are no longer practising, we can declare you as non-practising or you can be removed from the register. You can declare yourself as non-practising by logging into your MySWRB or you can contact us at applications@swrb.govt.nz or phone 0508 797 269.

If you have not renewed your practising certificate in over 3 years, you will be contacted to determine your practising status. If we do not hear from you within 6 months of this correspondence, you may be removed from the SWRB register. Before that action is taken, we will write to you to confirm our intention.

Rose Henderson receives her ONZM

SWRB Board member Rose Henderson was presented with her Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) by the Governor General, Dame Cindy Kiro at an Investiture Ceremony in Wellington last month. She had been appointed ONZM in the 2024 New Year Honours for services to social work and health.

Rose Henderson (pictured right) has a long history in the social work profession. She began as a social worker in the Invercargill office of the Department of Social Welfare in the late 1970s. After working in a range of social work positions in Southland, and then Christchurch. She is now a Director of Allied Health for Te Whatu Ora in Canterbury.

Rose has made significant contributions to social work in New Zealand and internationally through voluntary governance roles. Rose was President of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers from 2003 to 2009, and again in 2016 and is now a Life Member of her professional body. During this time, she was instrumental in the establishment of the SWRB in 2003.  Rose subsequently became an SWRB Board Member in 2019. 

Rose is also a Past Vice-President of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and Immediate Past President of the Asia-Pacific region of IFSW.

The SWRB congratulates Rose Henderson on the award. On receiving the award, Rose said:

 “I feel very humbled by the appointment and very grateful for the many opportunities I have had to work at local, national, and international levels. Such an honour cannot be achieved by one person working alone, and I very much pay tribute to the many inspiring and supportive colleagues who it has been my privilege to work with over the years, both within the profession and across the multi-disciplinary teams that I have been a part of. I hope they see a part of themselves reflected in this.”

Rose is pictured (right) with SWRB Board Chair Shannon Pakura who attended the Investiture ceremony. 

Questions we are being asked

Q: Is the SWRB going to respond to proposed changes in the Oranga Tamariki Act?

A: As a Crown Entity, we are part of government and accountable to the Minister of Social Development and Employment (Minister Upston). In particular, under the Public Service Act 2020 we  must act in a way that is consistent with its principles and values (and are set out here). While we can provide free and frank advice to Ministers, we must also act in a way that is impartial and neutral.  

However, we are aware that ANZASW are conducting a survey on changes to section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act. You can find the survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T2V6DJS
The survey closes on Sunday 16 June.

Q: Is there a process for apply for pay equity?

A: The SWRB is not directly involved in the pay equity arrangements.

Information about the pay equity process for social workers in community and iwi organisations is available on the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission website.

You may also find some useful information and links on the Social Service Providers Te Pai Ora o Aotearoa website.

For Te Whatu Ora social workers, new salary scales and associated terms and conditions of employment are included in the Allied, Public Health, Scientific and Technical MECA. 

Information, including the settlement document itself for Allied, Scientific and Technical staff (the category which includes social work) can be found on the Te Whatu Ora Pay Equity website

The ANZASW is also not directly involved in pay equity settlements, but you can find useful advice and links on their website: https://www.anzasw.nz/pay-equity/

Education Report 2022 now available online

The Annual Social Work Education Report 2022, which is a high-level overview of Aotearoa New Zealand social work education programmes for the 2022 academic year was recently published.

Headline findings included:

  • For the 2022 academic year, 18 tertiary education providers delivered SWRB-prescribed social work qualifications. All 18 offered undergraduate (level 7) social work qualifications, and four institutions offered postgraduate (levels 8-9) social work qualifications.
  • There was a reduction in the number of social work ākonga enrolled in the 2022 academic year with a total of 2,793 ākonga (compared with 3,059 in 2021). This represents a 9% drop in overall enrolment between 2021 and 2022, and is the lowest enrolment number since 2013.
  • There has been an increase across all year levels in the proportion of ākonga studying on a part-time basis.
  • The attrition rate from undergraduate social work courses – the rate of people leaving before completion – remains around 46%.
  • The number of ākonga completing their social work qualification has remained constant in 2022 (462 in total, compared with 465 in 2021).
  • Two-thirds of ākonga undertook placements in Non-government organisations (NGOs, 69%), and a third in government agencies (31%). Fifteen percent of placements took place in Māori/iwi-based organisations. Within government agencies, Oranga Tamariki provided 18% of placements, Te Whatu Ora/Te Aka Whai Ora provided 14%, Corrections 3%, and other government agencies provided 2% of placements.

The SWRB’s publication list is available on the website: swrb.govt.nz/about-us/news-and-publications/publications/