Mandatory registration needs government support

Mandatory registration for social workers, announced by Minister Anne Tolley, is supported by SSPA but there are practical matters that need to be addressed to make it viable for the not-for-profit sector.

SSPA national manager Brenda Pilott notes that around half of all social workers are employed by NGOs, with a significant number not registered.

“It will require a substantial investment to ensure all social workers are fully qualified and registered. Our members see the value of a registered workforce but most are operating on a shoe-string budget without the funding to support their social workers to gain registration. Nor is it a cost that should be borne by individuals.”

SSPA has estimated the cost of mandatory registration to member organisations will range from $1,000 to $20,000 a year, depending on size.

Brenda Pilott says that while SSPA is pleased to see there will be a two-year period to get up to speed before mandatory registration is implemented, it is disappointing that no mention is made of how cash-strapped NGOs are expected to absorb these additional costs.

“Minister Tolley has acknowledged that the registration process needs to be more streamlined and the fees reduced. That’s well and good but it’s not enough. We say the costs of attaining and maintaining registration must be factored into contracts with social service providers.

“Mandatory registration is too important to be scuppered by a lack of government funding support,” says Brenda Pilott.

!3 June 2017