Social worker registration

A Bill will be introduced soon that will bring in mandatory registration of social workers and protection of the title ‘social worker’.

 We understand the Bill will be tabled in August and then referred to a select committee. You can read the Cabinet paper and regulatory impact statement here.

SSPA and individual providers will want to make submissions to the select committee. One topic to focus on will be the number of social workers each agency has who will need to become registered and the likely costs of that. Another issue is that it is intended to phase out registration based on practical experience (section 13) and a two-year timeframe is recommended for that. A five-year timeframe was considered but not preferred – you may have views on that.

I recently wrote to the Minister of Social Development, Anne Tolley, on that subject. Her reply is here. You will see that the Minister expects that the additional costs arising from the mandatory registration changes will be part of contract negotiations. You will want to have this letter handy when you talk with Oranga Tamariki.


The legislation Bill has now passed all its stages and has become law.

The Act will now be known as the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, with an accompanying title of the Children’s and Young People’s Well-being Act 1989.