New law represents a historic milestone for social workers in New Zealand

The passing of the Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill is being greeted as an historic milestone for the profession of social work by the Public Service Association (PSA).

"The PSA is proud to have taken an active role in pushing for changes to the legislation, through a range of advocacy activity and as a member of the Social Work Alliance, and consider the changes that were made to ensure the law is fit for purpose as a victory for that combined advocacy and for all social workers," says Kerry Davies, PSA national secretary.

"The cooperation shown amongst PSA members and members of the Social Work Alliance to ensure the legislation was amended - including a petition on Action Station, articles and meetings with MPs - has been an outstanding demonstration of solidarity and unity".

SWRLB 1

PSA national organiser Amy Ross: "It is a credit to Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and to Parliament’s Social Services and Community Committee that concerns raised about a glaring omission in the bill - namely the lack of any protection for social work practice- were listened to and the legislation amended in direct consultation with the sector.

"Another amendment we successfully fought for was to ensure that employers of social workers uphold their obligations to the employer/employee relationship as defined by the Employment Relations Act rather than resorting to using the Social Workers Registration Board as a first default for issues such as alleged misconduct.

"The law, as passed in Parliament last night, puts a framework in place that we believe will elevate the professionalism and accountability of the social work profession as well as ensuring that it is viewed with the respect it deserves.

"It is a long-awaited sign of recognition of the importance of the enduring and vital contribution social workers make to supporting the well-being of New Zealand whānau and communities as well as their integral role as advocates for social justice and equality".