ANZASW can investigate complaints only about its members. However, complaints about Members who are Registered Social Workers will be directed to the Social Work Registration Board in the first instance.
Complaints regarding the social work practice of individual members of ANZASW can be investigated. Complaints about non-members of the Association cannot be investigated.
Complaints against a Registered Social Worker will be directed to the Social Workers Registration Board. To find out if a social worker is registered go to http://www.swrb.govt.nz/public-information/search-the-register.
Generally, ANZASW will not investigate a complaint while another investigation into the same matter (say, The Health and Disability Commissioner) is underway. In such cases, ANZASW will notify its interest in the investigation and await its outcome before determining how to respond.
Complaints may be made in writing to the Chief Executive, stating times, dates and issues. Alternatively, a complaint may be discussed with the Chief Executive by telephone, in which case the Chief Exceutive will record the details and ask the complainant to sign these as an accurate record of the complaint. All relevant correspondence will be shared with the Member about whom the complaint is made once the Association’s complaint procedures are activated.
The Association has appointed a Complaints Covenor who is independent of the Chief Executive in administering the complaint resolution procedures. The Convenor has a range of resolution options available, from mediation and informal, culturally specific, resolution opportunities, through to formal Disciplinary procedures. Complainants are consulted about the means of resolution that best fits their view of the matter and Member’s have a duty to cooperate with the Convenor in all reasonable attempts to achieve the earliest possible resolution of the complaint.
Disciplinary Hearings, presided over by a High Court Barrister as the sole decision-maker, have the right to apply sanctions where complaints against members are upheld. Under ANZASW rules, serious breaches of the Code of Ethics or practice standards can lead to penalties or the termination of membership. Any decision made by the Convenor, the Chief Executive or a Disciplinary Hearing in carrying out the Association’s complaint procedures, may be appealed to the Association’s Board, which is empowered to make a final determination of the matter.
Written complaints, marked Confidential, should be addressed to the Chief Executive ANZASW National Office, DX Box WX33484, Christchurch.