Aotearoa New Zealand Association for Social Workers
Kia tutuki ai ngā whainga me ngā tumanako kia mau tonu i ngā mahi
Through working together our goals and objectives will be achieved
I work for a large NGO where there is a constant battle to spend sufficient time with clients to deal with complex issues while meeting expectations of Management regarding paper work and meetings. I spend a total of one day a week in endless meetings when I could be working with clients. To get around this I sometimes don’t go to the office at all or only briefly and spend the whole day out. This is not always practical but necessary. My other big struggle is having a Manager with no sense of what social worker’s do and trying to dictate what I should be doing. I am a strong advocate for social work practice and the problems that arise when non-social workers do ‘social work’ but it is also difficult when I am the only one raising the issues.
More and more social workers are being managed by people who are not social workers. This means we will often be managing upwards about appropriate duties and activities. Do you have a range of things you tell your manager? It might be useful for us to work out some statements that help managers understand social work – and that help to increase our professional standing. Well done for continuing to do this.
Working at an NGO, what ever client comes through the door requires my utmost attention, care and respect, social work I feel is not only about the content but in the application of our skills and knowledge when working with people however they may present. Out training and collection of knowledge places the profession in an ideal space to support people to their best advantage. To start trying to pigeon hole the profession has the prospect of taking the “social” out of the “work”. As a supervisor of students on placement there is always this query about the nature of social work and what is applicable etc, it is a question that i normally put back to the students to reflect on there by hopefully finding out where their hearts and minds are placed regarding social work.
I agree that there is always the exception, the time we need to step in and provide services which might not look like social work. I am concerned when I see and hear about social workers spending more of their time on non-social work activities than on social work, or when they do not have time to do social work because they are spending so much time doing administrative or non-social work.
Agree and as identified earlier that is when as social workers, if we are truly cognizant of our roles need to be able to fully advocate within the organization around the requirements of the role and how that may apply when working with our client group. I suppose the intention with the supervision of students at placement level with their reflection around this area, is to harness their growing awareness around the future requirements of social work that they may face and how they may be better placed to negotiate the diverse nature of the work that they could be confronted with.
Every interaction is the opportunity to do social work and be a agent of change. Doing tasks that some people would might not see as doing real SW or allowing other people to do as mere office tasks, beacuse they may feel that is of less importance , is where building realtionhsips and doing some amazing grassroots work actually begins when we engage with people/ whanau in different arenas. To enter into peoples lives, its needs to be purposeful, be respectful, cause no harm, have intergrity,(core values of SW).
NGOS are not well resourced, they may have part time admin staff, or part time team leaders, or work out of satellite offices,and SW do have to step into different shoes at times to fill the gaps. Social workers very creative in how they work and deliver the services needed to support others .
I have been asked this many times when I supervised students on placement, My experience is only the statutory sector . I think the short answer is money… or lack of it to hire the support staff required.
While I have no personal experience of working for an NGO , I have supervised a registered SW who spent 50% of her allotted hours making funding applications.
If the reason the social worker was employed was to make those funding applications, wouldn’t that be okay? It would probably be cheaper to get an admin person to do it, but if the position was “Funding Applications, social work”, is that appropriate?
I think this is an interesting topic to tease out.
Yes and no.A lot of good work is done “on the hoof”, not sitting in a room. I regard every contact I have with clients as Social work. There is always something valuable in client contact. Don’t shuffle them off to someone less well trained or qualified. notes and data entry, yes. But client contact no. It’s rather dismissive- “this (quite important for you) event does not rate my superior training and skills).
But having non-trained “Social Workers” supervising trained people- not appropriate, usually. I know people who have had to leave jobs because they and the supervisor are basically from different planets.
This is why I love social work in the NGO sector, its non-prescriptive, enabling us to be creative and work more holistically with clients/families utilising social work skills and knowledge across the practical to therapeutic social work continuum.
Yes!! I think every social worker should spend some time in an NGO. It’s often a really good chance to learn what is social work and how to articulate what we do.
why you used social work skills and learnt techniques to communicate with all of them so there were positive outcomes for everyone?
My experience is with Cyber bullying that can be so disempowering especially when working in an acute model of care. I put a lot of energy in to maintain ‘safe practice’ and manage a heavy caseload so when I sit down to my computer and find the emails from my SW Peers stating comments about my practice it becomes quite frustrating that the sender has not taken the time to make a ph call first to get clarification of the situation.
In addition to this I often discover that the emails have gone to other persons not directly involved in the case.
I have learnt now not to respond to the emails unless there is a genuine situation with the client that needs to be resolved. I invite the sender to attend a meeting to discuss it ‘face-to-face’ and/or if this is not accepted I ask the sender to stop sending the emails and cc to my line manager.
In all of the above I discuss this in my Professional supervision in and attempt to work out a strategy to work with situations like this as the emails can be quite personal.
I adhere to the Bullying Policy but this can be hard especially if the emails are coming from a more senior practitioner and you take the risk of being labelled which is not a nice position to be in.
I would like to remain anonymous.
I’m currently in a difficult situation with a senior manager who is not a social worker nor do they have a social science/ service background. I work for a charity.
The organisational structure is becoming ‘more corporate ‘ in response to value placed on outcomes.
I continue to be surprised that non SW colleagues including allied heath professionals do not know that SW is a degree qualification or understand what social workers do. Evidence based practice and social work is rarely uttered in the same sentence except in universities.
It seems that we are seen as pseudo-practitioners and within social work itself their is a hierarchy of qualifications and legitimacy. The pervasive idea that the social worker ‘ has made it’ when they become an Oranga Tamarki Manager and moves to Wellington is a form of self-sabotage
The Govt ‘wellness’ approach offers SW an opportunity to take a lead and introduce initiatives and not merely respond. At times, I believe we are perceived as the problem focused profession, rather than the innovators who shine light on the systemic factors and create sustainable change.
Until the SW profession (not ANZASw) and individual SW’s in position of influence demonstrate our worth we will continue to be treated with disregard and at times contempt.
I continue to be surprised that non SW colleagues including allied heath professionals do not know that SW is a degree qualification or understand what social workers do. Evidence based practice and social work rarely are uttered in the same sentence except in universities.
It seems that we are seen as pseudo- practitioners and within social work itself their is a hierarchy of qualifications and legitimacy. The pervasive idea that the social worker ‘ has made it’ when they become an Oranga Tamarki Manager and move to Wellington is a form of self-sabotage
The Govt ‘wellness’ approach offers SW an opportunity to take a lead and introduce initiatives and not merely respond. At times I believe we are perceived as the problem focused profession, rather than the innovators who shine light on the systemic factors and create change.
Until the SW profession and SW in position of influence demonstrate our worth we will continue to be treated with disregard and at times contempt.
Ooooh, I agree. I am writing a couple of new blogs which will also cover some of what you present here. I think it is very important that we continue to professionalise social work – and stand up for each other when we do this. Social word started off as a profession of innovators, growth stimulators, drivers of social justice – and so often I see that sort of behaviour driven out of social workers.
I was bullied in 2012 when I returned from a Social Work secondment in another government dept to being managed by a woman who had previously been in a Secretarial role and who, unbeknown to me, had also bullied a close colleague in another location. I had an extremely responsible regional position as a Family Violence Response Coordinator. My background included establishing with my friend a Women’s Refuge at a time when there were only 9 Refuges in Aotearoa. I was part of the group of women in my community who started Rape Crisis, a Whanau Support organisation, worked as a Court Victim Advisor and many other social and community work roles – and yet still I was slow to recognise what was happeing to me. It was the amazing stauchness of another colleague working in prevention of family violence who asked me questions and challenged me gently to discuss and record what was occuring. I took this matter to the PSA who at the time had mounted a Workplace Bullying campaign. The MSD Regional Commissioner suggested as a way forward that my complaint be examined by another Regional Commissioner. I was slow – and so was the PSA organiser – as I agreed to it. Needless to say, after meeting with the other Regional Commissioner my complaint was not upheld. It was then I found out about what had happened previously with my former colleague and how the mediation process she entered into ensured that the perpetrator continued with her bullying unabated but shifted the focus to me. We have such a long way to go – starting with the failed and false notion that “anybody can manage anything”. although even if my Manager had been a social worker we still have a long way to go in social work to discuss these issues and ensure bullying never happens. I’m choosing to remain anonymous at this stage in relation to my experience but would be open to taking part in any research that may be undertaken by anyone. Mauri ora
I’ve just finished reading “Taming Toxic People” by David Gillespie. It was an interesting and easy read and provides some good insight. I did not read it for the scientific evidence behind it, but think that some of the ideas and techniques would be very effective to both manage toxic people and to keep ourselves safe when we become their targets.
I was witness to bullying in the workplace where my colleague was so bullied by the manager to the extent that he was unable to do any work and sat at his desk trying to. I had myself been bullied by this person as well, I was not the last and will not be. It takes someone brave to do a PG to make a change but that is a very brave thing to do. I supported someone in the PG process and it was arduous. I was being harassed and threatened by the person who the PG was taken out on and I was the support person imagine how that felt. I was not sacred but that is not really a cool thing to do. I think in some job cultures bullying is everywhere.
I was in another whole career and bullying was everywhere. I think it is very sad.
One of the problems with a PG is that it costs so much!! Large organisations often have their own lawyers and can use them for advise – but we need to pay an employment lawyer, and in the end the pay out is only the same as what we have spent on legal fees.
As a Social Work student in my 30s I was badly bullied at the Princess Margaret Hospital by the Senior Social Worker (now long gone). Long story- I didn’t know I was Aspergerian then,but I have always had sensory issues (Noise in particular) and this caused a problem when one of the Rest Home SWs took a couple of us home for lunch… her son was at home and playing music VERY loudly. In the end I had to excuse myself and apparently she was offended enough to complain to the Senior SW who lambasted me and then said I would NEVER get a job there while she was SSW. I didn’t know what I could do about that so did nothing. Funnily enough, many years later, I found myself back there as a locum SW and that woman was not there but there were two others who were bullies, both to staff and patients. Again, not sure who I could complain to…. the patient who was abused was my own mother, who had dementia. I was so shocked at what happened I couldn’t think it through until later. Fortunately she just giggled at him!
Years further on, I have been severely bullied by a person who works at CCS Disability Action in Christchurch. He refuses to work collegially, and abused me uphill and downdale quite recently…. I agree that many Managers are not worth their salt and the trouble with that is that they employ people who are no better. If one does “slip through” the Manager feels threatened by superior skills and bullies until that person resigns. This bullying culture is so widespread but if you can’t get the bullies at the top to change their spots, I don’t see much hope for the rest of us!
I think that each and everyone of us can look out for each other. We may not be able to change the “spots of the managers”, but we can notice what is happening to our colleagues and name it – even if it’s only to them, and not to the manager. . Naming behaviour without judging it can be quite powerful.
I have experienced both bullying (very overt and persistent attempts to undermine and embarrass) and poor management. Unfortunately with poor management around workloads etc, when raised, it is frequently not heard nor addressed. Often written off to ‘not coping’ or ‘creating a fuss’. The problem is that when that is also persistent and responses come based on these messages it can also feel like bullying. The outcome can feel the same, reduced confidence, effectiveness in role and then worry about the story created as everything seems to reinforce the message of not coping.
I’m not sure what the answer is but my suggestion would be that how people are left feeling should be the bit being addressed.
I agree that we need to address and support the people who are the subjects of bullying or poor management. That’s why I think that we need to pay attention to our colleagues and talk with them, and ensure they aren’t isolated and cut off from support channels.
I was bullied by a manager to the extent that my health was beginning to suffer. Comments such as “You are too old anyway” You deserved it” after I laid a formal written complaint. This all happened in the latter half of 2012. I was “lucky” I turned 65 and was able to resign with long service and retirement leave. Others were not able to do this. In 2013 the manager was the subject of an formal internal review in to which I made written submissions. She was moved to another office. In 2019 she is again subject to a ten page complaint I have been retired six years and do not regret leaving although I had not intended to do so before this woman came along.
I know it was to cover her own inadequacies but it was a difficult time .
I have chosen to remain anonymous because I retain my registration and am involved to some extent in SW
It’s so sad to hear that your choice of when you planned to retire was vitually taken from you. Not a healthy way to leave a workplace.
In reading Anne’s blog I think that workloads and complexity of work are often overlooked by managers,staff are left with a feeling of loss of compentency due to being unable to keep up. This is no doubt in part due to the fact that managers feel unable to change systems, therefore not acknowledging the reality is easier. Unfortunately I believe this can be a major contributor to a high staff turnover and the loss of good people from the profession.
It’s a great thought of starting a blog to open up constructive conversations.
Like any other jobs, we also have to keep us uptodate with Tech matters and being a savvy. We do rely on technology a lot these days in our personal and professional life. I think it’s more kind of ‘going with the flow’.
But more than any other profession; social workers deals with people with real life issues. Even though we can see the same kind of issues in every matter that we deal with, the approach that will work for each individual and each family won’t be the same. Hence I doubt the capability of Artificial Intelligence- not more than another tool to our kitty.
Have you watched the links that are in the blog? There is some information and demonstration of AI there that really changed my thinking about AI and it’s place in social work. The whole idea of AI is that it can learn from itself and its experiences, just like a human can. What I’d like to ensure is that the first AI used in counselling and social work, actually has social work thinking behind it before it is put to use. If we don’t get in now, it may be difficult for us to find our voice as the whole concept and use of AI grows and leaves us behind.
Hi – thanks you for your blog Anne and the challenge to look more closely at Artificial Intelligence. As a Social Worker in the older age group, technology has been something that it has been necessary to accept and adapt to albeit at a lower level. For people who are restricted in accessing the community through ill-health or disability, it has opened up a whole new world. I agree with Estelle though that it necessary for people to interact with people. I can see that while used thoughtfully, technology can add huge benefit it can also con vulnerable people into believing in a world that is removed from reality, in many cases exacerbating mental health illness and increasing suicides . My major concern is ethical, where is the privacy and safety in the use of todays AI? We live in a changing world, advances in technology must be used to enhance not destroy the world we live in and the people who inhabit it.
I really like the idea that technology could be used as a tool to increase equity – as long as it doesn’t end up creating a bigger gap!!! Access to technology and services will be important for all members of our society.
Well I have never subscribed to a Blog before so let’s see what happens. I have always used what was available. I am interested in the use of social media and how it effects clients. Social media was not around when I was employed. It was considered quite radical to text a client. That was six years ago. Now social media is part of daily life and I wonder how this has changed the sw environment. Sorry doesn’t answer your questions
I can say I started using it because my family did. My husband designed computers in the 60s and my son had one of the first bulletin boards in the 80s and now my other son is a digital marketer.
Deb Stanfield is presenting a webinar on Thursday 30th May at 12:30 on social workers and their use of social media. This was the topic of her PhD – som make sure you register for it!!
Unfortunately my experience with technology has been negative due to workplace more than anything. Mobile phones used to bully and interrupt work (told off if not on), I Pads used to have workers working more but sold on working more efficiently. Before these social workers had REAL interaction with people and i have been very distressed watching young social workers with their head in their i pad and typing instead of interacting with clients and listening to them properly especially when clients distressed.. Firms sold this to our work for safety reasons, this was not correct, safety can be built into the work and by workers in a good way without it. For me this covers the first three questions and as an example i worked all over London, Australia and NZ without these things. I was not attracted to it and being forced to use it does not engender good feelings about it.
As to artificial intelligence, as stated i think that social workers instead of being pumped out of university with on no on the job training and put into very responsible roles alone, there should be much more coaching and learning on the job after which we could think about this. I can see a role for an artificial intelligence doll used as a client for practice for social workers. The basics not right enough for my tastes yet to move onto more complicated aspects. .
I think that is a shame that your mobile devices have been used to increase your workload and stress levels rather than decrease them. I have learnt some skills in ignoring!!! When I first started social working, no one had a mobile phone!!!! – now I feel very odd if I go anywhere without it – although, I happily ignore it if it rings and I am busy.
Interacting with clients is a foundation of social work. But many of our younger clients have a different expectation of what that interaction looks like. I apologised to a young client for having to enter what she was telling me into the device I was using. Her response was along the lines of “If you don’t enter it in there, as we talk, I cannot be sure that you are actually listening to me and recording what I am telling you.” It made me re-look at my own attitudes towards mobile devices and the expectations of younger clients.
Social workers all have to complete a set number of days of fieldwork placement during their course. Once they have qualified they have to complete 2000 hours of supervised practice before they achieve full registration.
I agree with Estelle. As a ‘mature’ student nearing the completion of my BSW, I can’t say loudly enough that students need more time in the field over the course of their training. Anne makes a valid point that we have to spend the set number of days on placement but I still feel that there would be value in an ongoing placement – 4 days of study to 1 day of in the field so that we are putting theory into practice sooner, as well as the two 12 week blocks we currently experience.
Or what about completing the course of study and then having a couple of years where you are considered a “new practitioner” and gain experience across a range of social work practice places? A bit like young doctors. They graduate medical school and then gain more experience working under experienced doctors, learning about a range of different types of medicine, spending time in a variety of areas. How much would a model like this broaden and expand social work?
I couldn’t agree more.
Nobody can stop the development of our society. The Technology is keeping of updating year by year. Now the world has already entered the gate of Artificail Intellignce times. We have to face this. We have accept this. Whatever, we want or like to accpet this. Al must enter into our life in the near future.
Rearding to soicla work practice, I support this technology can be used in some area, scuh as looking after the people with private needs or the people having serious medical conditions which may affect other people’s health.
What I would like to see given an opportunity is the use of recording technology while out in the field.
As a statutory Social Worker I feel this type of technology would enhance my mahi as paper work takes up most of my time where I would rather be out in the field doing hands on mahi. We do have high & complex cases that I feel requires more interaction to better support our whanau through their situations rather then worrying about keeping up with notes back at the office. This leaves whanau hanging for too long as we are trying to juggle paperwork & field work as well as all the other cases on our load.
I do feel I am technology savvy & do depend on it when I am out in the field such as placing phone calls, searching for services, searching for understandings & many more. In addition, when we prepare tamariki for specialists interviews, instead of talking to them we have the option of showing them a vidoe explaining the interview process which for kinisthetic specific tamariki works great. Also, tamariki these days are drawn to technology such as ipads or tablets which supports my mahi in terms of building a relationship with te tamait & making sure he/she understands.
I agree who wouldn’t want a qualified professional working with them.
Who woudnt want a qualified, professional accountable for their practice?
What are the requirements for registration with the Social workers Board?
Sure Caz, you can download the pdfs of each article and print them off.
See here for a hint
Hi, Is there any way of printing it out to read? Not only do I prefer a hard copy, it’s easier to cart around and read it when I have a spare moment.
Great work team! This will help share the good news about social work in Aotearoa.
Well professionalism is just more white privileged positioning when you have a proffesional body that will not address its internal racism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S338qnpji7U
Here’s my view on this. ANZASW is supposed to be our professional body with Board members who uphold the values and practice of SW. I do not see much of this being demonstrated with the lack of transparency and accountability with regards to breaches in confidentiality of board matters, the management of this event, the loss of board members and how we are to move forward.
Social work has a value of social justice which is about challenging systems and processes not having personalized ‘bitchfests’ within our own profession. Are we not meant to be modeling respectful difference. Publically trashing our peers, in my book, does not equate with positive role modeling.
Recently I voted for a clean slate for our board to start again fresh – our credibility as a professional group is at stake here folks!!! In-fighting and publicizing it is an embarrassment. I am assuming our constitution is a process that has been agreed upon by the profession so this is what needs to be upheld or modified if it is not reflecting the values and practice that our board should be modeling.
I want to acknowledge that everyone’s view is valid – not necessarily right nor wrong but sometimes different; and the relational aspect is about coming to a place of respectful agreement regardless of ethnicity, gender, cultural, religious or other viewpoints. Bi-cultural values are embedded within SW practice – when these may not be evident there are more respectful ways of addressing this issue.
ANZASW has bigger fish to fry – what about getting politically vocal about the things that are going to impact on how we work with the people we are trying to provide a service to. Is that not the point of SW after all???
I agree Shelley. We as a group of PROFESSIONALS need to be working as one here. There are huge issues out there right now ,such as the review of CYF and what that means for all of us. We as a profession have been silent and dictated to, for too long from a group of people in Wellington who think they know what works best-why are we listening to these people? They are not trained Social Workers. Do Engineers take advice from Real estate agents when they are building a bridge? As a group we need to be speaking up for our profession and supporting and growing a professional body that can hold its own.
We need ANZASW to be offering us a place to belong and a professional body that is providing our profession with the training ,support and innovative practice that we require.
I, for one am tired of our profession being looked upon as a bunch of do- gooders out there drinking coffee and ‘thinking’ we are making a difference. We actually have to do what works and there is plenty of evidence out there that states what does work-we just need to do more of it. If you are practicing in a way that is not useful-please stop and move to a place where you can practice in a way that actually is effective. I am really questioning my future in this profession over all this and want to be proud of this Social Workers title-do you?
Everything I have ever written and talked about is publically available. People can determine for themselves the truth of my korero. I will not apologise for my lived-experience or expression of it. I will not take down any one of my blogs, which do not “publicly attack” any person. I have always been open to talking through the issues, but not in a way where I am ‘taken to task’ and told what I can and cannot say. Regardless of anyone’s opinion, it took considerable thought and courage on my part to go public about the many faces of racism in social work. It continues to take resolute courage. I was elected onto the Board by tangata whenua to represent them and I believe I have done so. I have never been “abusive” to anyone and if it is said that I have, then I ask the evidence be presented and I will be accountable to the tangata whenua membership and to the SWRB. Nga mihi nui Paora Crawford Moyle.
Is it relational to completely ignore people’s emails and requests for action? Is it relational to go straight to very public attack without at least trying to have a conversation? Is it relational to accuse colleagues of not answering valid and important questions when they did in fact go to great pains to do so? And took abuse in the process.
You and I have a different understanding of what it means to be relational.
We have been following your blogs with interest for quite some time and although I am not an ANZASW member, I have considered joining since seeing your unrelenting voice for our people. Nga mihi to Marlana above and others for their support of you. I still remember how inspired our wananga of 50 tauira were after you presented your journey to us with such passion. You even inspired a waiata to be written for you. You have our faith and our tautoko to keep representing us all. Nowhere have I read or heard any korero from you that presents as injurious to any person’s reputation. What I see is you challenging the critical issues for our people and for tangata whenua practitioners in social work. You are carry yourself in a tika, pono, aroha way and we understand that sometimes tauiwi and tangata whenua ethics are polarised. I too support the current Board and the way in which they appear to have used a relational model of whanaungatanga to address any concerns. In social work, we have an ethical code which means ‘be ethical.’ It means when you get a critique of your ethics, whether it is in research or in practice, you take a good hard look at yourself. You don’t whine that you are the one being wronged. You can’t call yourself an advocate for social justice and at the same time complain because your privilege and unethical research behaviour are being challenged. You step up to the mat and get back in alignment with anti-oppression and anti-racism. You do not, in response, draw upon the power of your privileged position to become more oppressive under some misguided belief that you hold a moral high ground, because you don’t.
What sanction were these people wanting or still seeking from you? Regardless, of those who seek to take you down, you are a rangatira in this mahi and you have done what we asked of you.
Mauri ora e Paora
Nga mihi John Tumanako
Tēnā koutou katoa,
He uri ahau tēnei nō Ngāti Maniapoto, Te Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa hoki.
As a member of ANZASW I have until now mostly observed from the sideline. Until now I have chosen to refrain from entering into this particular discussion forum, and not react or respond publically. However, I have been reminded that my silence can be seen as further supporting a mono-cultural privileged position and further marginalise tangata whenua. I would like to categorically state that I am supportive of the board’s actions and decision to respond to the confidentiality breach. Do I need to know exactly how this was addressed, no. I am also supportive of the blog posts mentioned earlier in the comments thread. Why? I have been a member of the Association for a few years now, and my position and voice has not been reflected by the board until now. Now we have someone that has the courage to ask the difficult questions and to publically challenge issues such as racism and white privilege. This in turn gives me the courage to speak publically in forums such as this.
Ngā mihi nui ki ā koe e Paora!
Nā Marlana Maru
Thanks for your response Paora. Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui i roto i te huarahi tika!!
thanks Paora for your response. See you at the SGM
You make your comment directly to Neil despite the post being sent from Neil, Jane and myself.
I refuse to enter into this any further until the SGM.
Thanks Neil for sharing the ‘taking a hit for calling out racism’ blog. Whilst I appreciate that you do not agree with its content, there is nothing “distorted or alleged” about my experience of being ‘taken to task’ inside that Board meeting. In the same way you remind me (above) about my obligation to the “code of ethics for the governance of the ANZASW board.” And how I expect I will be ‘taken to task’ at the coming SGM (sigh).
It might help to know that I adhere to both Maori as well as Pakeha ethical guidelines. Confidentiality is a Pakeha construct that can protect abuse as well as the abused. I will always be firstly accountable to my own people, which means, when anyone of my whanau is transgressed (including myself), I will not be silent about it.
In the same way, I will not be silent about racism and privileged positioning within NZ social work. A neon example being, that tangata whenua can be democratically voted onto the ANZASW Board by its tangata whenua membership, only to be voted off by tauiwi.
I think it is incredibly sad and the epitome of privileged positioning that the very members who continue to talk about ‘my’ having damaged their professional reputations, could be perceived as doing exactly the same to the remaining Board members; whom only three months ago they sat in unity with.
To my fellow Board members, truly honorable people and as dedicated to the Association as any have been before; who collectively have provided many years of faithful and competent service to social work and ANZASW. “Be strong enough to stand alone, be yourself enough to stand apart, but be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.”
Now I am interested in focusing on ‘infinitely’ more important issues such as the release of final CYF review report which bought tears to myself and my colleagues when we see the stealth that will result from this report to further alienate whakapapa from whanau. The termination of the ‘ti’ in tikanga!
Na Paora Moyle. See you all at the SGM.
I agree with your comments Karen. The board statement made me really angry as it was exactly like a piece of spin you may recieve from a politician, not an open and honest discussion. If not for my respect for staff and for the potential of ANZASW I would have resigned immediately. Its crunch time for ANZASW now, we need to sort this out get back to our mahi of advocating for and educating social workers.
If members are unhappy pls stand for the next AGM.
Kia ora koutou,
We feel compelled to respond to two statements made in the most recent communication from the ANZASW board about our resignation.
Firstly, with regard to the board statement:
That as current board members we are unable to speak in specifics or in details as to why three members chose to resign in January 2016, and it would be inappropriate to speculate on their individual reasons. As a board we too were all saddened by these resignations and the loss of expertise from around our table.
We think we made our reasons perfectly clear in our letter of resignation to the Board and in the shorter message circulated to all ANZASW members (copied below):
Further to the recent communication about resignations from the ANZASW governance board, this message is intended to clarify the situation with regard to the three board members Jane Maidment (elected), Simon Lowe (elected) and Neil Ballantyne (co-opted). All three of us resigned from the ANZASW Board reluctantly and for the same reasons. The reasons concerned a significant breach in the confidentiality of board discussions, a series of statements made by another board member (widely disseminated on social media) concerning the integrity of ourselves, our colleagues and our association. Following a period of reflection, we considered that to continue as board members was very likely to put ourselves and our reputations at further risk. In these circumstances we were of the view that the board was no longer a safe place for collegial discussion, and that we had no other choice but to resign.
In the bullet point that immediately follows the one above, the board communication demonstrates that they are perfectly aware of why we chose to resign:
That as President and Tumuaki, we followed what we believed was an ethical and sound process in addressing the issue of a breach of confidentiality, ensuring this breach was understood by the member and that reparatory action was undertaken. In hindsight it would appear that lack of any induction onto the board may have been in part responsible for this breach of confidentiality. There has been NO further breach of confidentiality or any further cause of concern in respect of board members’ behaviour since January 2016.
We are curious what this “reparatory action” could have been when the blog post that precipitated our resignation remains on the board members blog site:
Surely if the board member in question felt any responsibility or regret for the breach of confidentiality, or the distortions and allegations made, then the blog post would have been taken down? Instead, this board member has added another post, this time castigating ANZASW members engaged in the process of democratic decision-making and stating that:
And now we face a half-informed motion of “no confidence” from some very well positioned Pākehā members.
The code of ethics for the governance of the ANZASW board includes the statement that board members should:
Not make, comment, issue, authorise, offer or endorse any public criticism or statement having or designed to have an effect prejudicial to the best interests of Aotearoa New Zealand Social Workers Association.
Board members need to hold each other to account for their behaviour, and if not then the membership must hold the board to account. Colleagues, it is time for this damaging and divisive kōrero to stop, it is time for the governance of our association to be returned to its members. We look forward to the SGM and to the exercise of the democratic will of our association.
Neil Ballantyne, Jane Maidment & Simon Lowe
I think the way this serious breach has been handled is a disgrace!!! we have lost 3 valued and skilled board members because of this breach…and now paying members are being kept in the dark with no reassurance this will not happen again… so the one person who caused the breach is being protected and we lose 3 of the best board members we have had…well its a vote of no confidence from me…and i will be reviewing my ANZASW membership…does it have any value to me…is it serving me as a paying member??
I see this whole thing as badly handled
I share your sentiments Karen. I have personally been very disappointed to not receive any acknowledgement or response to an email sent to the co-chairs about a board members’s attacks on members in social media and the dissemination of misleading and insulting comment on colleagues’ research work. I have suffered personal impact from this behaviour. No apology has been made for the breach of confidentiality , which was quite appalling, and the misleading and insulting posts continue to be visible in the association’s communications.
I am not able to attend the SGM but have given my proxy to a colleague and I urge members to do the same. I expect board members to be modelling respectful and transparent communication, not hiding behind obfuscation.
Thank you Karen, I totally agree with your stance in this instance .
Posted on behalf of KAREN MERRETT
Thank you for forwarding the Board Statement email of today’s date to members today 5th April 2016.
However again I am strongly of the opinion that the ANZASW Board, which has been appointed on behalf of and to serve the interests of its (paid) members, has once again continued practicing a lack of transparency and increased rhetoric in this response to enquiry from members.
For example, on the one hand this Board Statement April 2016 advises members:
“That in our opinion if would be inappropriate to disclose further information which could result in further breach of confidentiality, however all board meeting minutes (with the exception of board only time) are available to all members on our ANZASW website.”
However if members explore the https://anzasw.nz/board-meeting-minutes/ site and view the minutes of the meeting 12 December 2015, they may only note that while section 1.2 states:
1.2 Opening Remarks
It was noted that there were some difficult conversations to be had. The ANZASW values need to be the guide for these conversations. The Board needs to live and breathe the values.
Section 1.4 further states:
1.4 Conflict of Interest
The meaning of ‘conflict of interest’ was queried.
The CE read the Section from the Standing Orders: Board Charter in relation to conflicts of interest.
No conflicts of interest were declared.
The question which has been asked and remains begging for an answer, clearly remains: If no conflicts of interest were declared, then why have three honourable Board Members handed their immediate resignation on the basis of what must have been considered a serious breach of confidentiality for them to do so?
Furthermore why are remaining ANZASW Board Members continuing to hide behind smoke-screens alluding to “legal advice” and interpretations of ‘Standing Orders’ in order to withhold valid information from its membership; thereby appropriating themselves as power holders of information and by that very act implying that the membership does not have the professional capacity to be entrusted with information that affects our choices both in voting and in choosing to be members of such an association?
I for one am appalled at the process or rather lack of due process which remaining members of the ANZASW Board have elected to pursue in its handling on this matter and would hope that more transparent information about events which have taken place at a Board level since December 2015 may be dispersed to members prior to the SGM in Wellington in April, which is due to take place approximately one week before our next annual membership payments are due I believe.
SWRB Registered Social Worker
I totally agree with your post and for me it is a vote of no confidence in regard to the board we have ..the way they have handled this matter….and the lack of information supplied in regard to this serious breach
Kia Ora. I too agree we as members deserve to be told the whole story in regard to the board member who transgressed. Please tell all. Also in relation to fee increase: increasing fees is likely to lose members in the long run – the choice will soon be to go with the SWRB as this is mandatory for some of us now and more will follow at some point. I accept the rational for increasing the fees but believe the board needs to prove to us that they can deliver bang for that buck – if not then what. ANZASW cannot keep asking for more but not deliver on outcomes promised.
I agree with BEW that more information about the present Board resignations is required.
Hello. I feel that it is vital that further information is presented as to the situation that led to three board members leaving due to the behaviour of a fourth board member. The email alerting members to this was vague and left the impression of a major disruption to the board’s membership. As a member (currently), I expect to be told who that problematic board member was and what behaviour they undertook which led to the exit of the other board members. The minutes of 12 Feb are inadequate as the departures of the additional three board members is not described. Please update.
Kia ora Karen and Anaru
I appreciate the decisions which have been made by the Board in consultation with members and the open, friendly and transparent way in which those decisions have been communicated. While it is a struggle for members on low salaries to pay both ANZASW and SWRB fees, the reality is that this is politicial! Sometime in the recent past Lucy made available a chart which illustrated the fees paid by other professional groups and it seemed to me that ANZASW membership fees were modest by comparison. If we want recognition of our profession and the corresponding benefits we are obliged to participate in ANZASW to raise those issues, debate them and make them known to politicians. Before this however, it is my belief that we must work at a personal level and as Association members, with and alongside whanau and community advocacy groups to raise the issues and bring about change for those most marginilised by the current and historical policies of the state.
It is getting to a point fiscally when agencies are going to have to consider whether paying for their staff to be members of both the ANZASW and the SWRB is financially viable…if I personally had to pay out of my pocket there is no way I could afford to be members of both…
I don’t agree with such a massive fee increase when this membership doesn’t seem to give you much as a member. The website is not user friendly and there are no opportunities that warrant the current let alone an increase. If SWRB are undertaking competency, then I can see a lot of people, who are not having their fees paid through employment asking the question what do I get for memnership? Anzasw seems to be motivated by the people who work tirelessly to advocate for social work within self directed groups/lots of unpaid work for publish. I think focus needs to be what are the true benefits are for anzasw members – extra funds for IT? Another sad reality of socially driven expectations.
This sounds a wonderful focus for our journal and the opportunity for social workers who are out in their communities using innovating and creative practice to share with us all and tell us what we are doing. Ka Pai.
Thanks to our editorial team for their innovation in this 🙂
Thank you Claire for those lovely words and the link
Thank you everyone for your support.
Great that ANZASW is representing us publicly and well. Thank you!
Thank you for crafting this release on our behalf. It is very important for social workers to be actively engaged in this major concern.
Agree it is great that ANZASW is taking a stand on this one and that each and every social worker should take a stand against TPPA
What a rewarding path you have followed. Congratulations Pauline. I have just met a lovely dedicated person like u in nepal. His name is Samir. The voluntary group is http://www.dirghajeevi.org all the best xclaire
Looking forward to as many members of your organisation as possible helping to pack Queen Street tomorrow lunchtime from 12 noon Aotea Square – to Britomart (NOT Sky City) 1pm.
For a peaceful, family-friendly march, of thousands of concerned Kiwis, which will show this John Key led National Government, (and the watching world) that we, the people, do NOT want this pro-corporate TPPA.
2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.
(Who does NOT support NZ signing the TPPA).
Great to see ANZASW taking a position on the TPP issue that has the potential to further marginalise the already disenfranchised.
Thanks Bill, we will be there every step of the way. That we can promise!
Well done. It is the responsibility of all Social Workers to oppose the TTP. It will undermine Maori Sovereignty, New Zealand Sovereignty, the ability of one parliament to bind a future parliament i.e. parliamentary sovereignty, and basic Human Rights as set out in the NZ Bill of Rights Act and the UN Charters on Human Rights.
The agreement was negotiated in secrecy.
It gives power to Transnational Corporations to challenge anything that they see as impinging on their interests in the NZ Polity. We need to remember the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) that was nearly adopted internationally. The MAI was stopped when the French government withdrew from the negotiations. Many local authorities adopted positions declaring there territorial areas as being MAI free zones. We need to now create new TPP free zones in Aotearoa New Zealand. The TPP ignores both the Spirituality of the peoples of the Earth. It commodifies people and puts them under the mantle of neo-liberal economics. The people are the subjects of economics not the objects. The wairua present in Papatuanuku cannot be abused and violated.
Thanks David. This agreement is going to hit us quite hard however the fight is still ongoing and the signing tomorrow is only the beginning of another round of protests. The people of Aotearoa are awakening.
Thanks Jude, really appreciate your comments. It is so exciting to be part of it.
Good stuff Luis. Exciting range of actions here and it’s just so fantastic to have you coordinating our collective voice on important issues. Nga mihi, Jude Douglas.
Kia ora everyone, a friendly reminder ANZASW’s FaceBook page will be closing on the 14th of December. The new /rebranded ANZASW Facebook Group can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/462747940479904/
We urge you do join the new/rebranded ANZASW Facebook group so that you can continue to receive our updates.
Kiaora koutou for your comments.
Anaru and I very much looking forward to working with each other and discovering how this partnership in leadership can support the development of a stronger tangata whenua and tauiwi partnership across our association and within in all our social work practice environments.
Am looking forward to the merging of our fb presence into one strong voice together.
The new FB sit is up and running in tandem with the old one (which is being closed Dec 14).
Thank you for your support
Thanks for your comments and apologies if our blog post is misleading or unclear in any way.
Yes a fee increase will create more funds. It will create funds to cover the ever increasing cost of base line services and to assist us as an association to be able to cover our bills.
As a board we grappled for some time about whether we should increase fees or instead drastically reduce services and functionality of the association in order to continue to function. Clearly we opted for a fee increase after members had indicated that they sought a stronger and more present voice in their association not a further diminished one.
However in increasing this fee we are ever mindful of the low pay rates and financial stress within our communities, for those in paid employment as well as those who are not. We are mindful of the challenges this may bring and have some further innovative ideas (which are no way near developed or fully thought through yet to announce as this time) to mitigate against fee payment hardship and to support those of our members who would find this $1 a week increase un-affordable.
As a board we felt it important that if fees increased, to cover essential costs, that we also consider new ways of doing some things and ensured that this extra $1 did not just ‘disappear’, but could be shown to being effectively used in creating changes.
We hope our strategic plan reflects to members a new vision forward and over time we will continue to roll out announcements demonstrating more of the changes we envisage to support our membership, voice and CPD.
Apologies again if our initial blog did not put this in a way which was clear enough.
Please keep your comments coming however,; the Association is all of us, and we value feedback, engagement and participation of all members as we re-imagine our association into the next 50 years.
Nga mihi nui
He mihi miharo kia korua i ou korua mahi kotahi.
Ma pango ma whero ka oti ae te mahi.
Congratulations to you both as you forge ahead as the collective voice of ANZASW.
Anything is possible when we work as one together.
Kia ora and welcome to the ten strong collective! I celebrate the time, thinking and discussion you have all put into this as well as the collective nature and collaboration. An exciting move and while I will dearly miss the hard copy journals I look forward to what emerges from this move.
Thanks and best wishes to the editorial collective for the task ahead. Great to see our journal align with the ideals of the open access movement – social justice and sustainability. Looking forward to the first issue!
Thanks for your support of this David. And thanks also to the Editorial collective. Yes you have a big job ahead of you Liz but you have a good team working on this together. Nga Mihi
Thanks David- its a big job but we have a fantastic team and plenty of ideas!
Congratulations to the new editorial collective. Going online seems a timely initiative that will help our local and wider social work community publish and learn. Kia kaha!
Kia ora Karen & Anaru! I think the vision developed is exactly what is needed at this time. I appreciate the clarity that the three key priority goals bring and the transparency offered in this post! Congratulations and kia kaha as you carry forth the mantle!
Ngaa mihi tino mahana ki a koorua. That both of you are co-leading ANZASW together is one of the brightest things that has happened to our profession. Kia ora!
Please be upfront about reasons for increasing membership fees.
Of course it is about raising more funds!! Saying so acknowledges the intelligence of members. Saying it is not, does the opposite!
I am sure the reasons given are genuine and important, but so is transparency that any increase in fees is just that – an increase to raise funds.
I wish the board all the best. However, this does not give me confidence that members will be treatedas colleagues, as we should be.
The fee increase is way more, % wise ,than a average wage increase . most of your proposals are on line base and limited in the amount of resources needed .
I got a cent hr wage increase this year and wage talk will not take place again for another 3 years for my employers so there is not more money coming into our pay packets.
Between ANZASW and SWRB this would put the yearly fees over $700 a year ,and with employers tighten the budgets .if you can offer a $40 discount for early payment then why does the fee need to be so hight.
$52 a year increase to much
I wonder if this is a way to loss more members
Congratulations, May the challenge be rewarding to you both and help the association to remain relevant to its members and continue to be a voice to advocate for social justice.
New Changes can only be good kia kaha kia maia kia manawanui
Congratulations Anaru raua ko Karen. Anaru I have all the confidence in you; you have the passion and drive to bring about new challenges and changes. Kia Kaha Kia Maia Kia Manawanui.
Congratulations Anaru raua ko Karen. Anaru I have all the confidence in you; you have the passion and drive to bring about new challenges and changes. Two persons is better than one Biculturalisim in Practice to the for front. Kia Kaha Kia Maia Kia Manawanui.
These are such important steps-how great is a revolution for when we can dream it we can move that dream into action. I look to a active membership engaged in reimagining social work and the role of an association.
Fantastic Anaru raua ko Karen. All the best as you walk beside ANZASW members to challenge the policymakers, lawmakers and anyone else who needs to know about social justice and social change.
Kia ora korua, go well as you lead our profession for its next chapter.
Congratulations Anaru and Karen, all the best for the roles you have taken on and for your co-leadership.
And for those TW social workers who want to talk more about this renewed direction, come do so at https://www.facebook.com/groups/tangatawhenuasocialwork/?fref=ts
Kia ora Paora.
And may the force be with you both. I’m so very pleased to this move. Nga mihi nui Paora
Oh so WAY BETTER…I am sure this will encouarge new membership. Well done?
New to ANZASW… Feels great !!!
Thank you- looks great
So far so good. Easy enough to navigate around and like the personal touches we can make.
Looking forward to exploring the new website 🙂
Love the new site
agreed alison ❤️in it
I like the new website, it is bright and easy to use 🙂