How should the social work sector operate?

5 August 2016

Rules governing social workers are under scrutiny by the Social Services Committee. The committee is conducting an inquiry into the operation of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003.

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Submissions closed in July 2016, and the committee is preparing to hear from submitters who said they wanted to make an oral presentation to the committee.

Earlier in 2016, the Minister for Social Development presented an issues paper to the committee. The paper identifies and discusses key issues with the current operation of the Act, including its relationship with other legislation such as the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. The Minister has asked the committee to consider these issues and the options to address them, with a view to making recommendations to Government for legislative reform. In this context, the terms of reference for the inquiry are to consider:

  • whether registration of social workers should be mandatory and the potential challenges to registration at present
  • the adequacy of current competence assessments and other pre-requisites for registration
  • how fitness to practise social work is assessed by the Board
  • the level of oversight of social workers by the Social Workers Registration Board
  • the process and powers of the Complaints Assessment Committee
  • the adequacy of grounds of discipline and sanctions available to the Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal
  • the appropriateness of suspension and cancellation of registration and practising certificates as sanctions for non-compliance.