Onboard newsletter – March 2022

He tauwhiro ara rau o te whakaaro nui, tēnā koutou katoa!

Photo of Shannon Pakura Chair

On World Social Work Day, we celebrated the contribution that all social workers make across the globe to social justice, human rights, and collective responsibility. With pride, we acknowledged our profession’s resilience, and unbending pursuit for social change, fairness and equality for all peoples.

We are very fortunate at SWRB to have Rose Henderson on our Board. She is a leading voice on the international stage as President of the Asia-Pacific region of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and IFSW Global Vice President. She contributes to important regional and international social work conversations and challenges. Contained within Onboard you can find Rose’s message for social workers on World Social Work Day.

Shannon Pakura
SWRB Chair

Ngā mihi maioha

I would like to echo Shannon’s words of acknowledgement and thanks to you all. World Social Work Day is an opportunity to reflect on the profession and its role in shaping our society and supporting whānau and communities across Aotearoa.

In this Onboard, we highlight two recent SWRB reports giving insight into the social worker workforce – the Demand for Social Work Services report and the Workforce Survey Report 2021.  Both of these reports were based on surveys which many of you contributed to. Thank you for taking the time to respond to us with your survey answers. What you tell us really does help us build the picture of workforce issues faced by the sector – a picture that we can share with employers, government agencies and policy makers.

As we think about enduring importance of social workers in building a new eco-social world, the role of education and the contribution of future social work graduates becomes ever more important. It is timely that we are embarking on the review of social work education standards (currently known as Programme Recognition Standards).

We are reviewing our Programme Recognition Standards to make sure they are fit for purpose in a mandatory environment including that they are transparent, and evidence based, and ensure educators are accountable. The education standards are important as they mean that employers, clients, and the public can have confidence in our new graduates, with a shared understanding of the expectations on them to meet our core competencies and the SWRB Code of Conduct.

Again, thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in becoming involved in the review so far, including in the wānanga taking place in the next few weeks. If you have time we’d love to hear from you. You can read more about it in this edition of Onboard. We really do want everyone to have an opportunity to contribute to this mahi – whether an employer, educator, practising social worker or recent graduate.

These are challenging times but we look forward to calmer times ahead and send aroha to you and your whānau.

Sarah Clark
SWRB Chief Executive

World Social Work Day, March 2022

Photo of Rose Henderson

SWRB Board member Rose Henderson serves as President of the Asia-Pacific region of the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) and IFSW Global Vice President. This week, which coincides with World Social Work Day, she encourages us to take time to celebrate the unique and special contribution every social worker, social work educator and social service provider makes in the lives of the people they work with.  

Describing the theme of World Social Work Day theme Co-building a New EcoSocial World: Leaving No One Behind’, she says: 

‘Co-building’ values everyone’s diverse strengths, recognizing humanities interdependencies and the need to respectfully work together in designing and planning the kind of world we want to live in and the kind of future we want for the next generations.  

‘New eco-social world’ highlights the global need to refocus our energies on ecological sustainability and preserving national resources for now and the future. Further, it promotes the need for new social relationships that provide all people with access to opportunities that will address current inequities, in order that people can achieve their full potential and be recognised as valued and thriving members of our community.   

‘Leaving no-one behind’ includes the importance of the relationships and social protection agreements between people and their governments. Such agreements should include accountability to all, dependability for all, as well as people’s responsibilities to one another and the planet. Leaving no one behind compels us to consciously value the richness of diversity and inclusivity. 

On Tuesday 15 March it was my pleasure, on behalf of IFSW Asia Pacific – the first region to see the sun and start off our world-wide celebrations, to wish our global social work whānau a Very Happy World Social Work Day 2022! 

World Social Work Day

You can read more about the day on the IFSW website: World Social Work Day 2022 – International Federation of Social Workers (ifsw.org) 

Social workers in high demand

This World Social Work Day we announced the findings from our inaugural Social Workers Demand Survey. Through the survey we aimed to explore the extent of the shortage of social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand and to provide insights to inform future social worker workforce planning. 

The theme of World Social Work Day is Co-building a New Eco-social world: leaving no one behind.

The vision of leaving no-one behind requires the right people in the right place. With widespread anecdotal reporting of shortages in the social worker workforce, it is essential that we build our understanding of where these gaps are and where pressure might be felt in the future. 

The findings in our Demand for Social Work Services Report combined with our Workforce Survey Report (released on 27 February) show there is work to be done across the sector to ensure we have a sustainable professional workforce. Current vacancies are putting pressure on social workers juggling high workloads in stressful conditions. At the same time, a significant portion of social workers (13% of workforce survey respondents) indicate they plan to leave the workforce or reduce their hours in some capacity.

The emerging picture for the social work workforce is one of a mismatch between the supply of social workers and the demand for social work services. We are continuing work to provide insights to government, employers, educators and the sector on the challenges facing the social work profession.

You can read the news updates about the reports:

Social workers are in high demand [publication of the Demand for Social Work Services Report 2022]  

Strengthening the social work profession [publication of the Workforce Survey Report 2021]

Or download the reports directly from:

Workforce Survey Report

Demand for Social Work Services Report

Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) review

Why the PRS review matters

The education standards (currently known as Programme Recognition Standards) set standards for social work qualifications which can be used to become a registered social worker. They are also important for the future of the social work workforce.

As a regulator, we have the responsibility to promote and set standards – and to ensure that graduating social workers are competent and safe to practise.

The education standards are important as they mean that employers, clients, and the public can have confidence in our new graduates, with a shared understanding of the expectations on them to meet our core competencies and the SWRB Code of Conduct.

We are reviewing our Programme Recognition Standards to make sure they are fit for purpose in a mandatory environment including that they are transparent, and evidence based, and ensure educators are accountable.

You can get involved!

All educators, social workers, employers, those who have experience of social work services, and colleagues across the social work sector are invited to participate in the wānanga. These are based around the themes of the existing standards and will be held virtually from 9.30-12.30 on the following dates:

  • Thursday 31 March – governance
  • Friday 1 April – curriculum
  • Wednesday 6 April – field education
  • Thursday 7 April – admission criteria
  • Wednesday 13 April – professional and stakeholder collaboration
  • Thursday 14 April – staff resources

You can join these sessions on the day by Zoom: https://bit.ly/3vXkEr6. For our planning purposes we also encourage you to complete an expression of interest form which can be found on our website: swrb.govt.nz/wananga-for-the-programme-recognition-standards-review/

Appointment of Kaiwhakahaere for the PRS review

The Chief Advisor Social Work, Catherine Hughes along with the SWRB is delighted to announce that Carole Adamson and Shirley Ikkala have been appointed as Kaiwhakahaere to co-lead the SWRB’s review of its Programme Recognition Standards.

They bring with them enormously valuable experience and sector knowledge to take forward this important review. 

Photo of Carole Adamson

Carole Adamson has had a wide-ranging involvement in social work education in Aotearoa since 1993, as a senior lecturer at Massey and The University of Auckland. 

Photo of Shirley Ikkala

Shirley Ikkala of  Ngāti Whātua Orakei and Cook Island whakapapa. Her work experience has been predominately in the fields of statutory social work, with a particular focus on tamariki Māori and whānau and is a registered social worker. 

You can read the full announcement on our website Kaiwhakahaere for the Programme Recognition Standards review have been appointed

All systems go!  

We welcome the advisory rōpu to the review of the Programme Recognition Standards.  

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

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

The advisory rōpu becomes part of our exciting journey to seek consultation for the review of the programme recognition standards for social work education. Through their support and mentoring of the process of consultation, the critical lens of the advisory group will strengthen the feedback gained from the wānanga and will add valuable tangata whenua and tangata pasifika perspectives to the mahi ahead of us. We welcome Miriama Scott (TWSWA), Moses Faleolo, Jodie Owen, Tautala Faletolu, Leisa Moorhouse and others into the advisory rōpu.

Future updates will be added to our new web page: Programme Recognition Standards Review 2022  

Dr David McNabb joins the SWRB sector engagement team

Haere mai Dr David McNabb! We welcome David who joined the SWRB in early March as Senior Advisor Social Work.

Photo of David McNabb

David is Pākeha and a fifth generation Kiwi with roots primarily going back to Scotland and England. He was strongly influenced growing up in The Salvation Army alongside three sisters and with parents who were ministers. This led him to study a BSW at Massey and a social work career that began in the earlier version of Oranga Tamariki and continued in the mental health services of Auckland DHB with leadership and clinical roles. David was self-employed for a period engaging in counselling, supervision and contracting roles including with ANZASW. For the past 12 years he has worked in social work education at the Social Practice department at Unitec in Tamaki Makaurau, initially as head of department and now part time as senior lecturer alongside working with SWRB. David recently completed his PhD with a focus on Tiriti based and equity focused social work practice and education – areas of passion that he brings to his SWRB work. 

David has been a long-time member of ANZASW and was an earlier president, during a period in which formative work was undertaken on social work registration. The enjoyment of working with the profession through national and international networks began with ANZASW and the International Federation of Social Workers. Now in the social work education context this includes working with the Council for Social Work Education Aotearoa NZ and with the International Association of Schools of Social Work as the Aotearoa representative.

David is married and lives in Tamaki Makaurau, he remains active in The Community of St Luke church community and goes running to stave off middle age.