Core Competence Standards

The SWRB Ten Core Competence Standards

The SWRB recognises core competences that reflect practice standards accepted in social work in New Zealand.  The core competence standards apply to all competence processes that are set and approved by the SWRB. The requirements of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003, the International Federation of Social Workers definition of social work and the ANZASW standards of practice have informed the SWRB in determining these standards.

These competence standards are demonstrated by the social worker as they engage in professional relationships with individuals, families, groups and institutions with whom they work.

A competent social worker’s practice must demonstrate the following:

Back to top 
Competence to practise social work with Māori
The social worker:

  • engages with Māori in culturally appropriate ways and in an inclusive manner;
  • articulates how the wider context of Aotearoa New Zealand both historically and currently can impact on practice;
  • offers practical support to Tangata Whenua for their initiatives;
  • demonstrates knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi, te reo Māori and tikanga Māori;
  • supports Mana Whenua and Māori services in their area.

Back to top 
Competence to practise social work with different ethnic and cultural groups in Aotearoa New Zealand
The social worker:

  • engages with a range of people in culturally appropriate ways and in an inclusive manner;
  • recognises and supports diversity among groups and individuals;
  • articulates how the wider context of Aotearoa New Zealand both historically and currently can impact on practice.

Back to top 
Competence to promote the principles of human rights and social justice
The social worker:

  • respects the right to privacy and confidentiality of any information provided in the course of the professional relationship;
  • creates an environment of respect and understanding;
  • promotes a commitment to global values: human rights, self-determination and social change;
  • seeks to understand others, works cooperatively and identifies strengths, opportunities and responsibilities when working with others.

Back to top 
Competence to promote social change
The social worker:

  • promotes and advocates the needs of social change to provide fairness for all;
  • challenges any form of discrimination;
  • reflects on social work practice with a view to enhance principles of human rights, social justice and social change.

Back to top 
Competence to promote empowerment and liberation of people
The social worker:

  • upholds and promotes the civil and legal rights;
  • works with conflict to generate positive outcomes;
  • facilitates problem-solving and development opportunities.

Back to top 
Competence to utilise social work practice approaches
The social worker:

  • understands social work theories and incorporates these theories into practice;
  • utilises a range of social work practices;
  • demonstrates an ethical base for their practice which informs personal and professional boundaries;
  • maintains accurate and current records.

Back to top 
Competence to utilise theories of human behaviour and social systems
The social worker:

  • utilises appropriate theories of human behaviour and social cultural systems;
  • discharges statutory functions according to Aotearoa New Zealand law and meets their obligations to clients.

Back to top 
Competence to promote problem-solving in human relationships
The social worker:

  • assists and advocates for individuals and groups with whom they work to gain control over their own circumstances;
  • communicates with individuals, communities, families, whānau and caregivers;
  • demonstrates flexibility and adaptability;
  • demonstrates awareness of their own bias and values.

Back to top 
Competence to use systems of accountability in place for their work
The social worker:

  • practises within the boundaries set by their skills, experience and knowledge levels;
  • recognises, and responds appropriately to, actual or potential conflicts of interest;
  • communicates clearly and accurately;
  • manages resources safely and effectively;
  • establishes and actively participates in systems of accountability in accordance with social work ethics and standards for professional practice;
  • engages with and utilises social work supervision;
  • engages in continuing professional development;
  • develops professional networks to enhance accountability.

Back to top 
Adherence to professional social work ethics
The social worker: