Scope of Practice

The SWRB has been tasked with developing a Scope of Practice, following amendments to the Social Workers Registration Act.

A Scope of Practice is a high-level description of social work practice, and it supports a shared identity for social workers across different work settings (fields of practice), roles and employment titles, and establishes a common understanding of social work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The SWRB is seeking your input to developing the Scope of Practice, and you can do that in a number of ways via the attached discussion document.

Scope of Practice discussion document


There is an opportunity to join a discussion on developing the Scope of Practice through the following webinar:

  • 27th Feb: We are also running a webinar/video conference session for all registered social workers, to mark the one-year countdown to mandatory registration, facilitated by SWRB’s Diane Garrett and ANZASW’s Anne MacAulay and Lucy Sandford-Reed.

What is a general Scope of Practice?

A general scope of practice for social work describes at a high level, the

  • activities of social work – including the breadth of social work practice/roles
  • purpose of social work – the needs social workers address in their work/the outcome being sought from social work intervention
  • methods of social work – how social workers do their work, including reference to the knowledge, skills, interventions and strategies social workers use.

For Aotearoa New Zealand, the Scope of Practice will be informed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a founding document of our nation, our laws and codes.

The detailed knowledge, skills, ethics and values required of social workers will be described in the SWRB Code of Conduct and Competence Standards, and the ANZASW Code of Ethics.

You can find further information about the changes to the Social Workers Registration Act here.