Social Workers Registration Bill

06 February 2019

There is currently a Bill before the South Australian Parliament which, if passed, will be known as “Social Workers Registration Registration Act 2019”.

A Joint Committee was established to inquire into and report on the “Social Workers Registration Bill 2018”.

The PSA appeared before the Committee on Wednesday 30 January 2019 and also, provided a submission. A copy of the PSA submission is available here.

The PSA advised that it was in favour of registration and this was initially a formal decision of PSA Social Worker members in 1968. Members have since continually advised of their support for registration. This was also stated in the PSA submission to the Nyland Royal Commission in 2015.

The PSA noted that various reports over the years had recommended the Registration of Social Workers including the Layton Report, Mullighan Report and the Coroner’s Report on the death of Chloe Valentine.

The PSA stated that it considered that registration would benefit both clients and Social Workers.

Clients will know that a person titled social worker is an appropriately qualified Social Worker participating in continuing professional development and operating under a robust model of accountability.

Since 2010 Social Workers have been classified under the Allied Health Professional Stream (AHP) in the Enterprise Agreement and are required to be eligible to join the professional association, the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). A few employees without the full qualifications were grandparented but only for the agency which had employed them.

The PSA stated that the new Act, or regulations should have regard for those grandparented and that every assistance should be given by their department to assist them in attaining the required qualifications.

The PSA has negotiated into Enterprise Agreements that Allied Health Professionals, Medical Scientists, Professional Officers, Lawyers and Dentists that reimbursement of professional development costs, paid professional development leave (5 days over 2 years) and reimbursements of the costs of membership of a professional association will be paid by their employer.

Information regarding this is contained in Clause 21, “Professional Development and Maintaining of Professional Registration/Accreditations” and Clause 22 “Professional Development – Applying for Reimbursement of Costs” of the South Australian Modern Public Sector Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2017.

In addition, the employer should provide ongoing training as required.