Onboard newsletter – May 2023

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

Photo of Sarah Clark, SWRB CE

We have seen many exciting developments and changes at the SWRB in recent weeks. April flew by as we juggled holiday days with welcoming new staff and farewelling others alongside our usual activity.

New starters at the SWRB have included temporary registration officers who will help during the busy time of practising certificate renewals, two more people into project roles – we will introduce them in a future Onboard – and our new Registrar, Hamish McDouall. You can read about Hamish’s appointment below. His skills, experience, energy and spirit are already making a positive contribution to the SWRB.

We often hear inspiring stories of the wide ranging mahi you are doing with people and whanau in your communities. We are excited to be able to sponsor the Quality Practice award this year – one of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW)’s social work awards. It means we can celebrate the very best in good practice and share some of those inspiring best practice stories more widely. If you haven’t seen the ANZASW announcement, details are included in this Onboard.

We are continuing to make progress on our Draft Education Standards. These can be found in a discussion document which has recently been sent to those who took part in the Programme Recognition Standards (PRS) review last year. If you would like to see this discussion document, it can be found on our website: Education Standards Review 2022-23.

Ngā mihi,

Sarah Clark
Chief Executive

Practising Certificate renewals 23/24

During May, social workers will be able to renew their Practising Certificate for the 2023/2024 practising year. Look out for your email letting you know when you can log into MySWRB, to make your practising declaration as part of the renewal process. You are welcome to log in to your MySWRB account now to ensure that your details are up to date, including contact and employer information. 

Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey

Social Workers will again be asked to participate in the Annual Social Worker Workforce Survey for 2023 while renewing their Practising Certificate. This survey is important for the social work profession as it helps give us valuable insights into the workforce.

The information given is used in reports and briefings which are used by the profession, employers, policy makers and Ministers. It supports their understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing the social worker workforce.

Over half of all practising social workers participated in the survey last year and created a strong voice for your profession. We hope for an even greater response this year. Your contribution truly makes a difference.

New Registrar Appointed – Nau mai, haere mai Hamish McDouall!

Photo of Hamish McDouall, SWRB Registrar

The SWRB is delighted to announce that the Board has appointed a new Registrar: Hamish McDouall. He joined the SWRB on 1 May.

Hamish is a lawyer who brings with him a wealth of experience from his distinguished and varied career, which includes serving as Mayor of Whanganui from 2016-2022. He values his community connections, which were further developed during his time in local government where he built enduring relationships with iwi, the voluntary sector, education and health sectors, and a range of other organisations and people across the region.

Shannon Pakura, Chair of the Board welcomes Hamish saying: “We welcome Hamish to the SWRB and acknowledge the experience that he brings. The Board looks forward to working with him as we journey to being a modern regulator of social workers.”

Hamish says he is looking forward to the new role, and the challenges and opportunities it brings. “I have been looking for an opportunity which allows me to keep contributing to making New Zealand a better place. Social workers do such important mahi with some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable people. Working to enhance the professionalism of the sector and ensure public safety feels right.”

The role of Registrar is critical for the SWRB reporting directly to the Board. The Registrar has responsibilities defined in the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. This includes maintaining the Register of Social Workers, and issuing Practising Certificates.

You can read the full announcement of Hamish’s appointment on our website: New Registrar Appointed

2023 Social Work Awards

ANZASW Social work awards graphic

We are happy to announce our sponsorship of the Quality practice award 2023 – one of 2023 Social Work Awards recently publicised by Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW).

Nominations for the awards are now open!

Every day, social workers work incredibly hard to improve the hauora (wellbeing) of New Zealanders and to make Aotearoa New Zealand a more equitable society. We know there is an incredible amount of excellent social work practice that happens every day throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. The 2023 Social Work Awards are a celebration of quality social work practice through the ANZASW’s inaugural gala dinner and awards ceremony.

The Social Work Awards are open to all social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand (not just ANZASW members) and anyone can nominate themselves or a registered social worker. There are 6 award categories and an overall winner who will receive the John Fry Memorial Supreme Award:

  • Tangata-ō te whenua practice award
  • Pacific peoples practice award – sponsored by The Fono
  • Social work leadership award
  • Quality practice award – sponsored by the Social Workers Registration Board
  • Social work research or research award
  • Innovative practice award – sponsored by Oranga Tamariki

Our sponsorship of the Quality practice award provides a good platform for enabling social workers to demonstrate quality professional practice. We look forward to showcasing the work of the winner once they have been announced.

Finalists in each of the categories will receive flights and accommodation to attend the awards gala evening. Category winners will receive funds towards further developing their social work career. Nominations close on 18 June 2023.

Nominate a social worker: https://www.anzasw.nz/social-work-awards/nomination/

Call for expressions of interest - Social work advisors  

It is important for our regulatory work to understand and be informed by social work skills and knowledge. We are looking for experienced and versatile social workers who can provide us with social work advice on our regulatory work, like the registration of social workers and complaints and notifications.

Now that social work is one of the New Zealand Green List roles, we are receiving an increasing number of applications from overseas that require advice from a social work perspective.

We would love to hear from you if you believe you can bring your skills and experience and are able to work within a regulatory frame to ensure alignment with our legislation. 

The hours for the role are flexible for the right candidates. These are part-time fixed-term positions for 12 months.

To find out more, please visit: Call for expressions of Interest – Social Work Advisors

Celebrating World Social Work Day with H.O.P.E.

Two of our Tāmaki Makaurau-based colleagues – Esther U, Policy Advisor, and Dr David McNabb, Senior Social Work Advisor – had a great opportunity to attend a World Social Work Day event hosted by Hope Worldwide-Pakistan in March. The organisation has members who are strongly reflective of the diverse migrant and refugee background communities in Auckland. David and Esther enjoyed meeting all the guests, including many registered social workers.

David was honoured to be invited to speak in acknowledgement of World Social Work Day. He talked about the value of the profession and registration, findings from the workforce survey, and he reflected on the five ways to wellbeing. 

Esther reported: “It was great to celebrate World Social Workers Day and meet social workers and community workers who work at the frontline. Participants came from various backgrounds and countries, reflecting the growing diversity in Aotearoa, NZ.”

Dr Khurram Malik, CEO of Hope Worldwide-Pakistan (HOPE) said: “The World Social Work Day holds a special place in my heart. It is a day where social workers from diverse background and settings come together to celebrate their profession and the impact it has on communities. Seeing social workers in New Zealand and around the globe uniting to address social injustices and create change is truly inspiring.

It reminds me of the power of collective action and the importance of continuing to advocate for the marginalised and vulnerable. As someone who has dedicated their life to social work, seeing the profession recognised in such a meaningful way fills me with a sense of pride and hope for the future.”

One of the other speakers, Maria Kastler also commented: “As a Samoan registered social worker, I am honoured to be part of an organisation like HOPE that provides support to marginalized communities in New Zealand and abroad. Working with different ethnicities has always been a passion of mine, and being part of an organization that acknowledges and provides opportunities for social workers to make a positive difference is truly fulfilling.”

Photo collage of social workers at HOPE

Insights from the SWRB’s social worker workforce survey 2022

You are invited to join the ANZASW webinar 11am-12pm on 23 May. Please register online on the ANZASW event page.

Liz Jones, SWRB’s Director of Social Worker Workforce Planning and Policy at the SWRB, will share findings from the SWRB’s 2022 social worker workforce survey.

When you renew your practising certificate you are invited to answer a few questions about your workplace and employment. The purpose of the annual workforce survey is to gain insight into the current social worker workforce which provides an evidence base for decision-making and builds trend information over time. 

Graphic for insights from SWRBs Social Worker Workforce Survey

What does the social worker workforce look like? How sustainable is the workforce? What support is offered by employers? What trends are we seeing from the information you give us through the survey?

Andrew Thompson, Senior Social Work Advisor at the SWRB, will join Liz to present the findings and discuss what the evidence shows.

Braden Clark, ANZASW Kaiwhakahaere Chief Executive, will talk about the value of the survey findings in supporting ANZASW’s advocacy work.