The Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers (ANZASW) is pleased to learn that Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for
Social Development, has proposed that the Social Work Registration Legislation Bill include a scope of practice to
determine who is required to register as a social worker.
ANZASW has always supported mandatory registration of social workers as a means of upholding standards, heightening
accountability and protecting people using social work services. However, previous versions of the Bill- the stated
purpose of which was to introduce mandatory registration- only required those in roles described using the words “social
work” or “social worker” to be registered.
This meant that many qualified social workers would have their professional status effectively defined by their employer
by excluding ‘social worker’ from their job descriptions; thus many social workers would not have been required to
The Association has long argued for this section of the Bill to be amended to base registration on a scope of practice
which would accurately define the scope of a social worker, promote universal registration and for the legislation to
provide protection of the title ‘social worker,’ preventing unqualified people claiming to be a social worker.
“Since the Bill was proposed, ANZASW has engaged with relevant government agencies, ministries and officials to
negotiate changes,” Lucy Sandford-Reed, Chief Executive of ANZASW said. “It has always been of the highest importance to
us that social workers are able to claim their professional identity on terms that are not defined by employers and that
the public can be reassured that those who operate under the title of social worker are competent and accountable,” she
“We want to thank members for their patience during the course of our discussions with government, Minister Sepuloni and
MSD Officials for being open to making changes in the best interests of the profession and organisations such as the
Social Work Alliance and PSA who have collaborated with us during the negotiation process,” Sandford-Reed said.
“ANZASW believes that changes to the Bill will increase public confidence in the profession and help to ensure that
social workers deliver the high standards of practice that service users rightly expect,”
The Association will continue to follow developments on the proposed changes and engage with colleagues and the
government the Bill progresses through Second and Third Reading and Royal Assent.