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New law makes social worker registration mandatory

22 February 2019

Parliament has given a third reading to the Social Workers Registration Legislation Bill.

Much of the new law will come into force two years after receiving the Royal assent. Its stated objective is to increase the professionalism of the social work profession by increasing coverage of the regulatory regime and ensuring social workers are competent and fit to practise.

The bill amends a number of Acts, including the Social Workers Registration Act 2003. A new section 6AA in that Act prohibits any unregistered person from using words, titles or descriptions which state or imply that they are a social worker.

Section 6AAB states that no person may practise as a social worker unless they are registered as a social worker, they practise within the terms of their individual scope of practice, and they hold a current practising certificate issued by the Social Workers Registration Board.

A new section 38B imposes a mandatory requirement on any employer employing one or more social workers to investigate whether a social worker is competent as soon as practicable after becoming aware that they may not be competent to practise as a social worker.

Any employer who has investigated a social worker and taken steps to improve their competency but still believes on reasonable grounds that they are not competent to practise, must report that belief to the Board.

The Social Workers Registration Board is chaired by Sharon Pakura. Board members are Andrea Nichols, Lisa-Marie King, Shirley Ikkala, Khoa Nguyen, Paula Rose and Scott Thomson.

The Board celebrates World Social Workers Day on Tuesday 19 March 2019.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019