Onboard newsletter – September 2020

We’d like to acknowledge the amazing mahi you undertake and the thought and care you show every day when you work alongside tamariki and whānau in our communities. 

The SWRB team wishes you a happy NZ social workers day.

Your skills, experience and resilience have been needed more than ever in what has been, and continues to be, a very challenging year.

Looking ahead, there are lots of changes for the social work sector which will be guided by your input.  We have invited comment on the Code of Conduct and how that can be improved, and we’ve sent out a draft Scope of Practice and would welcome your feedback, (more on both later). 

We’ve also been working hard to replace our paper-based system with a new database which will allow social workers to submit applications, upload documents, and renew their Practising Certificates online much more easily than has been the case in the past.

We are looking forward to early next year when the social work sector takes a step forward with mandatory registration (27th Feb 2021).  It will reassure the public that all social workers will be part of a fully registered workforce and adhere to a Code of Conduct, strengthening trust in the profession.  

It’s the SWRB’s role to ensure public safety and enhance professionalism of social workers – being registered is part of having the system in place to make that happen. 

If you have colleagues who are yet to apply to become registered, please help by encouraging them to do so as we really want all social workers to claim their profession.  There’s lots of information on our website, including an eligibility tool on the home page www.swrb.govt.nz.

Kia kaha,
Sarah Clark, Chief Executive

Code of Conduct and Scope of Practice

Thank you to those social workers, managers, supervisors, students, and educators who have responded to our Code of Conduct survey. The next step is to work with sector partners to develop a draft Code based on feedback which will be released later in the year.

After a lot of work and consultation, along with input from the sector, the draft Scope of Practice has been published. You can read it here and we’re very interested in your feedback which you can send to us up until 5th October at consultation@swrb.govt.nz

You can also take part in a zoom Q&A session about it today (Wed 23rd) at 12pm on this link: https://zoom.us/j/91660173960 

Diane Garrett, RSW Principal Policy Advisor

MySWRB – new database

We are close to launching the new database, MySWRB, which will be able to be used by social workers, social work students, and employers. 

You will be able to create an account to apply to register and upload your documents.  If you’re already a registered social worker, you’ll be able to update your details; pay, renew, and download your Practising Certificate; and view your invoices and emails.  Social work students will be able to create an account which allows them to subscribe to newsletters and hear directly from the SWRB while employers will be able to record their organisation’s details, keep track of invoices, and be able to subscribe to newsletters and updates.  

We’re planning to launch MySWRB during October.  You’ll find the login for it on the top right hand corner of the home page of the swrb.govt.nz website.

Practising Certificate survey

We mentioned last month that we were keen to know how social workers were using their Practising Certificate cards as we are looking at changing to a digital format, as other regulators have done.

A number of regulators have moved to digital cards that are quick and easy to access, and available on mobile phones and tablets.  They can also be downloaded, printed and carried in your wallet.

We’ve now developed a survey, which will take just a few minutes of your time, which we’d appreciate you filling out: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NXGTJJJ

With the introduction of the new database, social workers who become registered and will be applying for Practising Certificates will be able to download and print their certificate but during this transition phase we’re unable to send out the plastic cards.

Ben Alexander – registration team

I am a Registration Officer at the SWRB and started earlier this year.  Despite not having a background in social work or social services, I have found working here extremely rewarding and have developed a new level of appreciation for all the mahi that social workers across Aotearoa engage in.

So many of the social workers we, as registration officers, engage with are deeply passionate about the profession and its ongoing impact on Aotearoa. The highlights of working at the SWRB so far have been guiding social workers through the registration and practising certificate processes. It is especially great to be able to interact with social work students and answer some of the questions they have about entering the profession and the steps they need to take to ensure that their registration applications go smoothly.

I was born and raised in Central Otago where my whānau and my dog still live. I attended Te Whare Wānanga o Ōtākou (The University of Otago) for a few years before transferring to Te Herenga Waka (Victoria University) to finish off my final two years of study in Law, Politics and Māori Studies.

As registration officers, a huge part of our role is guiding social workers. If you are ever unsure about any of our processes, the best thing to do is give our website a quick read, flick us an email or give us a call. We want to ensure the processes social workers have to engage with are as smooth as possible. As we make the challenging but exciting move towards mandatory registration, I look forward to engaging with more social workers from across Aotearoa (and overseas).

SWRB Board new member – Jeff Sanders

Jeff Sanders has spent his entire career working in organisations which are all about social services making a positive difference in people’s lives, including IHC NZ, the Methodist Church, Relationships Aotearoa and Barnardos NZ, from which he retired as chief executive early last year.

Now, he’s an SWRB Board member who’s committed to seeing all social workers become registered and having professional standards in place. 

“It was about having a regulatory body that people could be assured, both the public and practitioners, that there was good practice around support for people to be good at their job,” he says.

“I want to support that for social workers so we get a profession that is regulated that the public can trust, that individuals can trust the practice of their fellow social workers, and to make sure the profession is working at a good standard and there are fair processes of discipline, if in fact, that is needed.”

Jeff says he has a great regard for social work and the complexity of the social work profession, and he understands and is committed to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

With his wife, Rosemary Rishworth, he has four adult tamariki and four mokopuna and enjoys the company of his extended family and friends. He is a keen swimmer and relaxes by gardening, watching sport, and cooking.