Onboard newsletter – May 2020

It feels like we are making progress by moving to level three after spending more than a month in lockdown, and I have a sense of gratitude that New Zealanders have all pulled together to allow this happen.  There were times when lockdown felt so much longer as we all adjusted to new ways of working, and experienced and dealt with all the pressures that come with our professional and domestic circles overlapping. 

On our regular Zoom meetings, some colleagues are joined by small children, others occasionally have to deal with schooling or other demands, and there are frequent appearances from kittens, cats, and dogs wanting some attention.  It’s a reminder that we all face different challenges and those will continue even at level three.  Working remotely has meant extensively using Zoom to continue connecting with each other, and with social workers, employers, and others in the sector.  

We have also been working hard to continue to be able to operate in a business as usual way.  The exception was having to temporarily put a hold on accepting new registrations because the application process required certified copies of documents, and that would have meant breaching lockdown requirements.  I’m very happy to let you know that we have developed a solution and will now accept a statutory declaration, which can be done online. I’d like to express my thanks to the team who helped make this happen so quickly.  It means we are now back to accepting new applications for registrations.  You can find the Apply to Register link here . Please pass this information on to anyone who you think might like to know about this.

We have had questions during our roadshows about who are the people who are the decision makers at the SWRB.  It’s a good opportunity to introduce and profile the members of the SWRB Board who make the decisions, including our chair Shannon Pakura, who is a registered social worker. You can find out more about Shannon below.  You may also have been in contact with the registration team who speak to a lot of social workers during the working week, and we’re introducing you to them over the next couple of newsletters.

Being resilient is a core attribute for social workers which you will be drawing on during this period, and for some time to come.  

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui (Be strong, be brave, be steadfast)

Sarah Clark, Chief Executive

Digital information sessions and social media

We’ve been involved in a number of webinars and digital information sessions with ANZASW and Oranga Tamariki.  We’ll also be offering zoom sessions open to all in the sector, with the first of these on Thursday 7th May.

This will be about the social work sector stepping forward to work in a mandatory environment and what the changes will mean for everyone in the sector, ie registration, Scope of Practice, Experience pathway: S13 and mandatory reporting.

I’ll be joined by Rachel Koha, (RSW) our Registration Manager, and Andrew Thompson, (RSW) our Principal Advisor Social Work. We really enjoy the opportunity to talk, listen and answer questions about what we are doing and why. You can register for the session by following this link.

There are now more than 1,100 followers of our Facebook page from starting a couple of months ago. There have been lots of interesting discussions which you can be part of, and if you like/follow the page, you will see it is regularly updated – www.facebook.com/TheSWRB.

 Practising Certificates

A reminder that you can now renew your Practising Certificate by following this link.

You will have already received an email from us about renewing your Practising Certificate, and you will need to complete the declaration online.   You can pay for your Practising Certificate by credit/debit card or invoice.  If you wish you to pay by invoice this will be created automatically, if you select invoice as an option.  When your employer or you pay your invoice, please quote your invoice number in the online banking reference field.  Please note that SWRB are no longer accepting checks or cash.

SWRB Chair Shannon Pakura

Ko Aotea te waka
Ko Ruapehu te māunga
Ko Whanganui te awa
Ko Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi te iwi
Ko Ngā Paerangi te hapu
Ko Kaiwhaiki te marae
Ko Shannon Pakura ahau

The SWRB Board chair Shannon Pakura is well known in the social work sector and for many years actively lobbied for mandatory registration of social workers in her former role as the President of ANZASW, (Aotearoa NZ Association of Social Workers).

Shannon was the first social worker to be registered in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and has worked extensively in both the Statutory Child Protection and the Youth Justice social work sector.  As well as being our chair, Shannon is the Māori Service Development Manager for Barnardos and a non-judicial member of the NZ Parole Board.

Shannon sees mandatory registration as a significant and positive move for the profession, “It is heartening that social workers have a real opportunity to stand alongside other professions; to be recognised for their strength, the  quality and the importance of the  work that we do, and for social work to be seen as a profession that contributes to the wellbeing of New Zealanders,” she says.

Having registered social workers is a step forward for the profession she believes, “Mandatory registration provides confidence to the public that the social work professionals they are working with have kept up their professionalism with CPD, they hold a current Practising Certificate, and they have a level of competence that can be trusted. This is underpinned by social workers adhering to a Code of Conduct and a Code of Ethics, and they have a set of standards they use to guide their practice,” she says. 

Introducing the registration team

(top left to right), Renee Kainuku, Rachel Koha (manager) Kendra Fenton, and (bottom left to right) Bobbie Laird and Victoria Norrie.

The friendly members of the registration team above have been hard at work answering phone calls and using Zoom for meetings, and today, let’s meet Kendra.

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko wai au?
Ko maungaroa te maunga
Ko kereu te awa
Nō Te Moana-o-Toi ahau
Ko Fenton rāua ko Cameron ingoa whānau
Ko Kendra tōku ingoa

I have worked for the Social Workers Registration Board for two years as a registration officer on the registration team.

What I really enjoy about my job is being a part of change, helping others, and working with amazing, inspirational social workers. Areas I have worked in within this role include Experience Pathway: Section 13, provisional registration for those working towards completing a recognised qualification, certificates of good standing, visiting students at their institutions, working with external stakeholders including delivering presentations, processing applications, working alongside fit and proper cases, assisting registered social workers to complete their Practising Certificates and reviewing our processes as we move towards mandatory registration.

Whilst working at the SWRB I have been privileged to share space with so many knowledgeable, experienced, and inspiring social workers from all walks of life. Working with the social work profession encouraged me to think of my own future and how I could enhance the skills I already have, to help others. This has inspired me to pursue my own pathway in social work and complete my Masters of Applied Social Work to be able to become a registered social worker.

I also love being amongst nature and appreciate how healing it can be, especially through connecting and learning. I hope in the future that, as I build who I am as a social worker, that nature is an aspect I will be able to incorporate into my practice as I grow and learn within my studies and from those social workers I get to share space with.

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

Chief Advisor Māori Responsiveness

We are keen to build our relationships with Māori and there’s an exciting opportunity for a Chief Advisor, Māori Responsiveness to join our team in Wellington.  The Chief Advisor will provide advice and support for the SWRB team on its work, strategy, Treaty issues, and engagement.

The role includes

  • developing a broad overview of issues, particularly in respect of te ao Māori and the Treaty of Waitangi, across SWRB and the wider regulatory framework, anticipating opportunities and challenges.
  • Lead the provision of strategic advice and guidance to the CE on critical matters related to equity issues for Māori and regulatory matters that will improve sector outcomes for Māori.
  • Establish and maintain sustainable and effective strategic relationships with key iwi and Māori partners, stakeholders and communities of interest.

If you know of somebody who you think might be interested please let them know.  You can find out more here, or go to http://www.jacksonstone.co.nz/jobs/7047.

Database build under way

Registrar Paul Kirby and consultant Adi Christie

We’ve been working towards replacing the current database over the last few months.

A big part of that has been focusing on how we can make the new database useful and easy for social workers and employers to use.  You will be to create and update your own profile, sign up for newsletters, register, and apply for a Practising Certificate.

We’ve commissioned an IT company to get an understanding of what we need and want the new system to do, and to deliver the technical work.

We kicked off the development work in mid-April which means we are starting to build the new database and not just talk about it.

We are targeting an October 2020 launch of the new database which will be accessible through the SWRB website, and more functions will be rolled out over the following months.

We were fortunate that the Minister recognised the value of this for us and the sector, especially with mandatory registration coming, and we received government funding for the development of the database in last year’s Budget. It is a really exciting move for us and we look forward to keeping you up to date with developments and what to expect.