Social worker registration changes to strengthen the profession

Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, has proposed legislative changes to the Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill, to strengthen the regulation of social workers and better protect public safety.

The Bill will make the registration of social workers mandatory.

“These new amendments will provide greater protections for children and their whanau who often require support of social workers at very vulnerable times in their lives,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The proposed changes to the Bill will:

  • require employers to report allegations of serious misconduct by social workers
  • promote ongoing professional development by social workers
  • create additional safeguards relating to the power to obtain information about social workers and the offence of impersonating as a social worker
  • provide greater flexibility for the Social Workers Registration Board to respond to situations affecting individual social workers
  • provide for scopes of practice within the registration process, which aligns with health practitioners

“The changes are based on best practice with similar occupations and, crucially, have the support of the social worker sector,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Social Work Alliance is delighted that the Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill is being amended to include a scope of practice approach for mandatory registration of social workers.

“This creates a Bill that is ‘fit for purpose’ and is a piece of legislation that enables the development of the profession. The Bill provides people using social work services with the assurance that the professionals they are working with are qualified, competent and accountable for their practice,” says Alliance member Lucy Sandford-Reed.

“I value and appreciate the cooperation of the social worker sector, who have worked with the Ministry of Social Development to develop the new amendments. I look forward to progressing the Bill through its remaining stages in Parliament and making it a reality,” Carmel Sepuloni said.