Onboard newsletter – May 2022

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

As we slowly enter the wintery months and cold grey days become more frequent, I would like to emphasise the importance of looking after yourself in these times while also acknowledging the mahi and support of everyone in the sector.

I would like to thank everyone who has already renewed their Practising Certificate (PC), completed their declaration, and participated in this year’s workforce survey. Renewing your PC allows you to legally practise in Aotearoa and it is where you declare you remain fit and proper to practise. It assures the public that you are committed to the professional standards that this represents, covering aspects such as supervision, continuing professional development and adhering to the code of conduct.

If you are yet to do so, please make it a priority as they need to be renewed by the end of June, ahead of the next practising year. So far, we have had over 2,740 social workers renew their PCs and more than 1,630 have taken part in the workforce survey. The survey response so far has been fantastic, and we really appreciate those who take the time to participate in the survey as we are able to share workforce insights, including challenges facing the sector, with policy makers, employers, and others in the social services sector.

More employers have signed up to pay for their social workers practising certificate fees and disciplinary levy by becoming authorised employers. We now have 100 authorised employers, paying on behalf of their social workers. The aim is to make the renewal process easier for social workers, and employers.

Our journey reviewing the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) for education programmes continues. Ngā mihi to those who joined us in the online wānanga and other hui. As an organisation, the review has given us a significant opportunity for us to learn and grow, with our approach to the review being informed by He Arapaki, our Māori Development Strategy. We share an update on our progress so far in this edition of Onboard.

In the recent Wellbeing Budget 2022, the SWRB was allocated funding to work with Oranga Tamariki on delivery of their Future Direction Action Plan, promoting the quality and professionalism of social worker practice (through the regulatory lens). While the work is initially focused on work within Oranga Tamariki social work, we are hoping we will be able to share some of outcomes, such as resources and guidance, more widely across the sector. We are pleased to see this investment in social work practice advice and have provided some more information below.

In the meantime, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some time over the long weekends ahead.

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia manawanui,

Sarah Clark
SWRB Chief Executive

Things to know about renewing your Practising Certificate

All practising social workers can now renew their Practising Certificate (PC) for the 2022/2023 practising year. Thank you to everyone who has renewed theirs already, out of 8,481 we already have 2,741 renewals completed which is great progress.

If you have not renewed your practising certificate yet, please do this before the end of June when your current certificate expires. You can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Log in to your MySWRB (your username is your recorded email address)
  2. Click the ‘Renew my Practising Certificate’ button
  3. Follow the steps provided:
    • Confirm your details are correct
    • Complete your online Practising Declaration
    • Confirm the payment option, if applicable

You will then be asked to participate in the ‘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.

Employer payments – making it easier

Starting this year, employers who cover the Practising Certificate and Disciplinary levy costs for their social workers were invited to become ‘Authorised Employers’, where they receive a consolidated invoice for all their practising social workers. This new system replaces the need for social workers to generate individual invoices to pass on to their employer for payment. If you are employed by an Authorised Employer, you will have the payment applied to your account and your Practising Certificate can be renewed following your submission of your online declaration.

If an employer wishes to be set up as an Authorised Employer for future years, they can follow the steps outlined on our website and provide the completed templates.

If your employer is not an ‘Authorised Employer’ but they intend to cover your Practising Certificate cost, they are still able to do so by:

  • Reimbursement – An employer can provide reimbursement to the social worker once they have made direct payment to the SWRB. The social worker can download their Practising Certificate payment receipt via your MySWRB account to give to their employer.


  • Manual payment – If the social worker is unable/ does not wish to be reimbursed, their employer can make the payment on their behalf (see options below). Once we have received payment, the Practising Certificate will be available to be downloaded through the social workers MySWRB.

How an employer can make payment on a social workers behalf:

Payment nameDescriptionHow to pay
Credit card With permission from their employer, the social worker makes a one-off payment from the company credit card (Visa, Master, Debit Card)  Select credit card option in MySWRB. Use a company credit (or debit) card to make the payment and provide the employer with a copy of your payment receipt once it has been processed.  
Bank Transfer via Direct DebitWith permission from their employer, the social worker makes a one-off payment from a company bank account. This payment will be deducted automatically from the account details provided.Select bank transfer option in MySWRB and enter the agreed company bank account. Provide your employer with a copy of your payment receipt once it has been processed.  

If none of these options are possible, the social worker may instead choose to download their PC invoice to give to their employer. They can do this by going to the ‘interactions’ tab and under the ‘invoice’ section select the ‘employer invoice’ link. The employer invoice will be generated which can be downloaded by clicking the red Adobe icon. The social worker can give this to their employer to pay but they will not receive their renewed PC until we have received full payment for the invoice from the employer.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, you can contact us at applications@swrb.govt.nz or drop into one of our Thursday Digital Q&A sessions at 1pm via this link.                                                    

Building Social Worker Capability

We are excited to embark on a new initiative following the announcement of funding in the Government’s Wellbeing Budget 2022 to build Oranga Tamariki Social Worker Capability. 

Without this additional ringfenced funding, we would have had very limited capacity to work with Oranga Tamariki on promoting the quality and professionalism of their social worker practice. Our existing funding is fully committed to regulatory activities, our Crown responsibilities and to our workforce planning role.  

The work with Oranga Tamariki will be an important contribution to the delivery of its Future Direction Action Plan. 

Priorities for short-term impact focus on upskilling the quality and standing of Oranga Tamariki social work through developing:  

  • micro-credential standards, with a focus on standards for training around supervision (quality of supervision influences quality of practice) as part of pre/post qualifications 
  • training material to help social workers understand the regulatory standards that apply to them and improve regulatory compliance, particularly in relation to the SWRB Scope of Practice, Competence Standards and Code of Conduct. 

While the training material will be developed for social workers employed by Oranga Tamariki, it may also be of use for the social workers employed by the NGO providers with Oranga Tamariki contracts for delivering services devolved to the community.   

As a regulator, one of our functions is to promote and encourage high standards of practice and professional conduct among registered social workers and the employers of social workers. We also set standards for the education and training of social workers. This funding gives the SWRB a valuable opportunity to complement the work in these areas.

We look forward to working with Oranga Tamariki’s Tumu Tauwhiro Chief Social Worker Peter Whitcombe on this exciting initiative. We are still in the planning phase, and we will share further information when the details are confirmed. 

Update on the review of education programme recognition standards 

Te kai a te rangatira, he kōrero Te tohu a te rangatira, he manaaki Te mahi a te rangatira, he whakatira i te iwi  The food of rangatira is talk The sign of a rangatira is generosity The work of a rangatira is to unite the people.  

This whakataukī reflects the commitment to advancing and uniting our communities as leaders and it is about mana, collective aspirations, obligations and accountability.  It is an acknowledgement to those who have participated in the PRS review and have given expression of rangatiratanga with your wisdom, generosity, commitment and humility.  

Our journey reviewing the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) for social work education programmes continues. As an organisation, the review has given us a significant opportunity for us to learn and grow.  

Our approach to the review has been informed by He Arapaki, SWRB’s Māori Development Strategy. We have heard many voices in the rich kōrero during the six wānanga. We have listened to feedback about both the standards and the process, which led to further sessions in individual caucus for tangata whenua, tagata pasifika and tangata tiriti.  

Mindful of views that had not yet been expressed a further session was arranged with the NGO sector. Thank you to Claire Achmad, Chief Executive of the Social Service Providers Aotearoa and her colleagues for facilitating and supporting our engagement with community organisations for this review. Additional hui and individual consultations continue to be held as the need emerges. 

The participation of so many of you in this review is held as precious taonga that we now need to honour as we enter the next exciting phase of the mahi. This week, we the SWRB review team – Chief Advisor Social Work, Kaiwhakahaere, tangata whenua and tagata pasifika advisory rōpū, and other SWRB representatives – met in Auckland to workshop the future format of the standards. Kaiwhakahaere brought knowledge gained from the emergent themes; the advisory rōpū had developed further suggestions; and the SWRB have the legislative, governance, education, social work and policy expertise that will further develop the final format and content.  

The team members were warmly welcomed by the Unitec’s Bachelor of Social Practice whānau including tauira, and were grateful for the manaaki shown by Unitec. 

There is more work to be done. A key theme that was discussed was the need to work from a Te Tiriti o Waitangi-informed lens. We are committed to ensuring the new standards reflect the kōrero shared with us by everyone engaged in this review . 

Pay equity across the community sector

Are you an employee in the NGO/community sector? We are happy to share this notice about the PSA equity claim and your opportunity to join one of two webinars to find out more:

Are you an employee in the NGO/community sector?

Do you work in a social work role or a role that is similar?

Are you any of the following:

  • a registered or registerable social worker?
  • a registered professional (e.g. registered under the health practitioner’s competence assurance act) that works in a role of a social work nature?
  • a professional (not registered) with substantial experience or community/iwi-based connections in a role who delivers services similar to social work?

If you have answered yes to these questions, and would like to support the progress of pay equity across the community sector then we warmly welcome you to register now for one of twowebinars to hear more about the PSA pay equity claim for NGO social workers and those doing the same or similar work. Specifically you will hear from the PSA and Te Kawa Mataaho about what was found out about the skills responsibilities and effort of employees in the agencies covered by the claim.

Webinar option 1: Wednesday 1 June 6:00pm-7:00pm

Register here

Webinar option 2: Thursday 2 June 12:30-1:30pm

Register here

The purpose of these webinars is to understand whether the work assessed in the claim fairly represents the skills, responsibilities and effort required for your work. You will get an opportunity to undertake a survey post webinar.

The pay equity taskforce at Te Kawa Mataaho will then be able to inform Minsters on how much of the NGO/community sector may be doing work that is the same or similar as that assessed in the pay equity claim process. Minsters can then consider whether to extend the benefits of the pay equity settlement across the sector.

If you cannot make either of the webinars a recorded session will be available to view from will be available from Friday 3rd June for one week after which you will be emailed a survey. Email pay.equity@publicservice.govt.nz to receive a video link or if you have any questions.

Published 31 May 2022