Onboard newsletter – March 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 have had some great opportunities recently to acknowledge and celebrate the incredible mahi of social workers.

On World Social Work Day last week, we published our Social Worker Workforce Report 2023. The report provides unique insights into the workforce and it supports decision makers, workforce planners, and those responsible for service delivery to build a sustainable workforce. We were delighted to see that the Minister of Social Development and Employment Louise Upston highlighted the publication of the report, commenting “I want to acknowledge and applaud New Zealand’s social workers for the hard work they do, providing invaluable support for our most vulnerable… Both World Social Work Day and the publication of this report are timely reminders of the need for further planning, development and support for the profession and the wider health and social service sector.” You can read the Minister’s full statement on the Beehive website, and find out more about the Workforce Report on the SWRB website.

Publishing this report is only possible because of you – it presents the findings from the Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey. Thank you once again to all of you who completed the survey when renewing your Practising Certificates last year. It was a fantastic return rate which contributes to the quality of the report. Please fill out the survey later this year when renewing your Practising Certificate. 😊

Recently, SWRB social worker Liz Gourlay and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Te Whatu Ora social workers leaders in Christchurch. In addition to giving a general update, Liz presented findings from the Social Worker Workforce Report, particularly focusing on health. The presentation complemented work we are doing to release sector-specific workforce insights. It was great to be able to meet with people in person, including connecting with ANZASW.  

Ngā mihi nui,

Sarah Clark

Chief Executive

Practising Certificates – preparing for 2024/25 PC renewals

We are preparing for the Practising Certificate renewal period for the issuing of 2024/25 Practising Certificates. Here are some things to be aware of:

  • Current Practising Certificates expire on 30 June 2024.
  • You will be able to renew your Practising Certificate in MySWRB from 27 May 2024.
  • We will email you individually to remind you to renew ahead of time.
  • Payment is required before your Practising Certificate will be issued.
  • When you renew your Practising Certificate you are asked to make a declaration that you will fulfil your professional obligations. You are also asked to let us know if there are any factors which may impact on your social work practice (such as health concerns or disciplinary proceedings).
  • You will be invoiced for your Practising Certificate fee (including Disciplinary Levy), unless your fees are to be paid directly by your employer (see below).
  • You will be invited to complete the Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey.
  • If you are no longer practising social work, it is really important to tell us by declaring that you are non-practising in MySWRB.


  • To enable your employer to pay for your Practising Certificate (Practising Certificate fee and Disciplinary Levy) they need to be an Authorised Employer. This is an agreement in writing between the employer and SWRB that must be completed ahead of the PC renewals.
  • Authorised Employers pay for their social workers fees through the employer portal or by bank transfer accompanied by a remittance advice. This simplifies the invoicing and payment process by ensuring that payments are assigned to the correct employee.
  • If your employer is not an Authorised Employer, you will not be able to generate an invoice for them. You will need to seek reimbursement from them directly.
  • Payments for your Practising Certificate must be received by the SWRB before the Practising Certificate will be issued.
  • If you are paying for your Practising Certificate yourself, part payment options are available unless you have an outstanding debt with us.
  • Check with your employer if you are not sure whether they are an Authorised Employer and encourage them to arrange to become one before the renewal period (agreements need to be in place 10 May 2024.

What you can do now

  • Make sure your contact details and your employer details are correct in MySWRB.
  • Clear any outstanding debt.
  • Encourage your employer to become an Authorised Employer. This would be especially helpful if you usually generate an invoice for your employer to pay on your behalf, or you seek reimbursement from your employer after paying for your Practising Certificate yourself.

Authorised Employers – contract update

We are writing to employers inviting them to sign up to our Authorised Employer scheme. We’ve been growing the number of employers signed up over the last two years, and making improvements to how this operates. We aim to make the process easier for everyone.

With the Practising Certificate renewal period around the corner, it is important that all information for our Authorised Employers is up to date to ensure invoicing and payments are as easy as possible. In addition to inviting new employers to join the scheme, we will be asking current Authorised Employers to renew their Authorised Employer agreement.

The agreement includes updated terms and conditions, and provides access to the employer portal. Through the portal, Authorised Employers can confirm which social workers they currently employ as well as accessing invoices and making payments.   

If you are not yet an Authorised Employer but wish to become one ahead of this upcoming Practising Certificate period, you can do so by completing the necessary documents. More information can be found on the website at  https://swrb.govt.nz/authorised-employer/  or you can email employerqueries@swrb.govt.nz

All Authorised Employer agreements must be signed by 10 May 2024.

Annual Social Worker Workforce Report 2023

We are delighted to have published our Annual Social Worker Workforce Report 2023 which provides unique insights into the workforce here in Aotearoa New Zealand. Here are some of the highlighted findings of the report.

A workforce motivated to make a difference

The Annual Social Worker Workforce Report 2023 is based on survey responses from more than half of the current social worker workforce. From this, we know that we have a workforce that is motivated to make a difference to people’s lives. This is one of the top reasons for social workers to join the workforce in the first place, and then to remain working as a social worker.

Representation of Māori, and Pacific Peoples in the social work profession is growing

Almost a quarter of our social workers describe themselves as Māori, compared with the general population (which is 17% Māori according to the 2018 Census). This is a greater proportion of Māori social workers than the previous year. The proportion of Pacific Peoples social workers is also higher than the general population. Of interest, this makes Aotearoa’s social work profession more representative of the clients it serves than many other regulated professions.

Social workers are a qualified, respected workforce

Other findings show that social workers are a qualified and experienced workforce, and that the profession is better respected since it became law for social workers to be registered and regulated.

Recruitment and retention issues are a challenge to sustainability

However, survey responses also highlighted pressures across the system to sustain the workforce, with recruitment and retention being identified as key and urgent challenges to be addressed.

The Annual Social Worker Workforce Report provides an opportunity to reflect on the value of the workforce, while highlighting the need for further planning and development for the profession. The report supports key decision makers, workforce planners, and those who are responsible for service delivery across the health and social service system, to build a sustainable workforce. This will enable social workers to continue their work for transformative change responding to current and future challenges.

You can download the report here: Workforce Survey Report

Māori & Pasifika Symposium 2024

Earlier this month, Barnardos, ANZASW and the SWRB together hosted the 5th Māori & Pasifika Symposium ‘Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – For us and our children after us’. This was a great opportunity to reflect and learn about indigenous practice, while also connecting and sharing kōrero with so many social workers who are doing such inspiring mahi across the motu.

We had an incredible line-up of speakers which included a vast range of experience and expertise, with backgrounds in social services, health and education. Many social workers joined us in Wellington, but we also had around 300 attending the symposium online. We would like to thank all those involved for making the day such a huge success.

Photo: SWRB staff, Symposium speakers and attendees at the Māori & Pasifika Symposium 2024

CPD audit update

Thank you to all those selected social workers who have completed their CPD log submission for the 2022/23 year. In general, we have had a great response. However, if you are still to complete your log as part of the audit, and have not been in touch with us to explain why you were unable to meet the deadline, please submit your CPD log as soon as possible.

We have had positive feedback about a tutorial video  which we provided on our website to show how to enter your CPD activities into MySWRB. It is useful to keep logging your CPD activity throughout the year so do check it out if you are unsure what to do. If you are unable to log your CPD for any reason, please contact us at applications@swrb.govt.nz to let us know.  

Digital drop-in sessions paused

Due to the Easter holiday period, we will not be hosting our digital Zoom drop-in session on Thursday 28 March. Digital sessions resume the following week from Thursday the 4 April. If you have any questions around becoming registered, maintaining CPD or the upcoming Practising Certificate renewal period, you are welcome to join one of these drop-in Zoom sessions. In the meantime, you can email our registration team at anytime at applications@swrb.govt.nz.

Completing 2000 hours

A reminder for any provisionally registered social workers that have recently completed their 2000 hours of practice: please remember to contact our team once the invoice for the provisional to full registration fee has been paid. The team will then be able to complete the process to fully register you. You can contact us at 0508 797 269 or applications@swrb.govt.nz if you have questions about becoming fully registered.   

Invitation to participate in research study

You are invited to participate in a research study considering how social workers understand and practice legal literacy in their mahi. This study is being conducted by Hannah Verheul-Cane from the University of Canterbury ׀ Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (UC). Research supervisors include Dr Raewyn Tudor, Adjunct Professor Jane Maidment and Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll. This study is being carried out as a requirement for The Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work degree. You can contact Hannah by email at hannah.verheul-cane@pg.canterbury.ac.nz

Poster: Interview participants wanted. Are you a registered social worker that finds legal matters relevant to your mahi? 
I am investigating how social workers understand and apply legal knows to their practice. 
I am currently seeking interview participants with year experience post-graduation. The interviews will be held online.
For more information please contact Hannah Verheul-Cane at hannah.verheul-cane@pg.canterbury.ac.nz or on 0278733381 

Supervisors: Dr Raewyn Tudor, Adjunct Professor Jane Maidment and Dr Annabel Ahuriri-Driscoll

This study has been approved by the UC Human Research Ethics Committee

Please note that we do not routinely include details of research projects through Onboard, but we consider requests on a case-by-case basis where the research could lead to a positive impact on social workers (or the workforce or professionalism).