Onboard newsletter – November 2020

Hei mokimoki, hei piripiri, kei ngā manu tukutuku, kei ngā tauwhiro o te whakaaro nui,
Huri, huri noa, tēnā koutou katoa! I greet our social workers who do such amazing work and to the many voices in our sector, welcome to our November newsletter.

As the year draws to a close, it provides a good opportunity to pause for a moment and reflect on what has been an extraordinarily challenging 12 months, and what has been achieved even through the lockdowns and uncertainty we have all faced.

We know that social workers have had to work harder than ever over the last year as the families, whānau, and communities you work with were put under stress or had tough situations which became even more difficult. Your mahi is appreciated by those you work alongside, and we would like to acknowledge the resilience and resourcefulness you have shown during 2020.

At the SWRB, we’ve been working to make it easier for social workers to deal with us, although the level of demand has meant sometimes we haven’t been able to answer as many phone calls and emails as quickly as we’d like. We’re hoping we made progress on this by adding more registration officers and implementing a new database to replace our paper-based system. There has also been work on:

  • creating electronic registration processes during lockdown
  • streamlining of the Experience pathway: S13
  • developing a Scope of Practice with the sector
  • increasing the frequency of Board decisions on registrations so we go faster
  • engaging with the sector led by senior SWRB social workers and wider staff
  • an information campaign about changes to the legislation and getting registered
  • 80+ Digital Zoom Q&A sessions to answer queries of social workers, students and employers
  • launch of Facebook for immediate access to updates

There is still a lot of work to do as we prepare for February 27, 2021 and the implementation of mandatory registration for all social workers. We also know the challenges will continue for you as we enter the busy Christmas and summer holiday period as they often bring extra stresses for those you are working with, and there is no easing of the pressure so ngā mihi for all your mahi.

Kia kaha,
Sarah Clark, Chief Executive

Digital Q&A zoom sessions

Andrew Thompson RSW & Patsy Kainuku RSW, Kendra Fenton & Bobbie Laird

We’ve got an amazing team who are passionate about getting social workers registered and between them they’ve hosted more than 80 digital zoom Q&A sessions this year!

You can join Andrew and Patsy to ask about the Experience pathway: S13 every couple of weeks, with details of sessions on our Facebook page. Kendra and Bobbie have also been hosting sessions every Thursday from 1pm which you can join at this link – https://bit.ly/3nMZK6T. If you know of a social worker or employer who might be interested in asking some questions, please pass this information on to them.

Mandatory registration: Costs and Support

The shift to mandatory registration is getting closer with all social workers needing to be registered by February 27th, 2021.  It’s a great step forward and one that’s long been sought by the profession.

We know, however, there are some social workers facing hurdles in being able to become registered, either because of the cost or because they need assistance with the process.  In recognition of this, the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki may be able to offer some assistance to the organisations they hold contracts with: 

Costs: If your organisation would like to be able to pay for the registration of your social worker/s, but is unable to do so, they may be able to help you meet the costs.  If your social worker is paying for their registration and finding it is difficult; through you, they may be able to receive this assistance as well.

Support: If your social worker/s are finding the process to apply for registration difficult, particularly if they are experienced social workers (10-15 year’s experience of social work in NZ) and they are applying through the experience pathway: S13, they may be able to be supported through this process, either via a buddy system or through one on one support.

To find out more, please contact your Oranga Tamariki advisor or relationship manager.

Continuing Professional Development CPD

You can now upload your Continuing Professional Development Log to our new database MySWRB. 

You can find MySWRB on the top right-hand corner of the SWRB website, swrb.govt.nz.  To be able to log your CPD, click on MySWRB, create an account and set up your profile.  You can then use the online log to record and store your CPD.

We plan to hold our annual CPD audit in March 2021.  Last year’s audit provided a valuable snapshot of CPD across the motu and our four assessors commented:

“There was a great level of competency displayed throughout”

“Some logs were exceptional “

“A couple of logs brought me to tears, given their depth of reflection”

“It felt as if I was sitting talking, face to face… If these reflect practice, there is a good level of work going on.”

The audit found the most frequently addressed competence during CPD was ‘to promote empowerment of people and communities to enable positive change’ (competence 8). Least likely to be addressed was competence to work with different ethnic and cultural groups in Aotearoa (competence 2).

We also collected data specific to each sector and Oranga Tamariki social workers were most likely to address competence to work with Māori (competence 1). DHB social workers were most likely to engage in CPD that promoted Competence 5 to promote social change.

COVID 19 has brought its challenges this year and we have received calls from social workers who are concerned because they have been unable to meet their CPD requirements. If you are unable to meet the minimum number of hours, please let us know in your CPD log. We will be exercising some flexibility around CPD requirements due to the disruptions.

The CPD function on MySWRB is still in its infancy but we would encourage you to use it to record and store your CPD. You can either use your online log to start recording your CPD, upload a Word version of the SWRB log or upload your ANZASW log. We will be developing the CPD page over the coming months and will welcome your feedback.

CPD is about staying current, engaging in life-long learning that enhances your professional development, challenging preconceptions, and achieving good outcomes for people you work with.

Andrew Thompson, Principal Advisor Social Work

Board member: Adam Davy

Adam Davy has spent his career focused on the bottom line, both as a chartered  accountant and a chartered member of the Institute of Directors.  He first became involved with the SWRB through  his work on its accounts and was very focused on the numbers but became intrigued about the work the Board undertook.

When a position on the Board became available, Adam’s strategic and business planning skills, along with his management and business growth expertise, were of real value as the SWRB navigated a period of change.

“I’ve been involved on the accounting side and always been in an environment where there has been a business focus, and this was my first exposure to a social Board.  You see another world to be honest,” he says.

“In all my years of practice I had never experienced anything other than a pure capitalist sink or swim approach so this was actually quite interesting.”

Adam became involved to contribute his business skills.

“If you’re not financially sustainable you can’t carry on in business, you can’t carry on in charity, you can’t carry on in life so it gives you a platform to go forward,” he says.

Adam expects the SWRB secretariat to implement the change to mandatory registration while the Board focuses on strategy with both working together to strengthen the profession.

Registration team member: Matt

My name is Matt and I have been working as a Registration Officer at SWRB for nearly three months now. I graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Arts before spending a year living overseas in Dublin. Since returning to New Zealand in 2017, I had always hoped to go back to that part of the world and I had finally bought a one-way ticket to return… departure date April 2020!  Whoops. COVID-19 messed that up – but that misfortune has led me to this fantastic opportunity to return to the public sector and utilise my skills in my role here at SWRB.

My previous place of work was at Oranga Tamariki. In my role I spent all day reading through social workers’ notes and was exposed to the complex and important mahi that they did. That experience piqued my interest in this role at SWRB which was an opportunity to make a direct difference; helping to register capable social workers for all our communities. I feel very proud to be a direct part of the registration process for so many social workers already – with plenty more to come!

In my short time here, my job has been mostly focused on helping to register social workers who apply via the New Zealand Qualification Pathway. I am responsible for my applicants and I also assist the team to take phone calls and answer e-mails. Our team is working extremely hard in the build up to mandatory registration, and as a result I appreciate that in my role I am constantly having to learn new things every day. I find that it is both challenging and rewarding.