Making a Complaint

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 please go to

To find out if a social worker is registered search the public 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, PO Box 16428, Hornby, Christchurch 8441

You are not obliged to give ANZASW any information However, it may be difficult for ANZASW to resolve your complaint if you refuse to provide information that is essential for that purpose.

You have a right to see any information ANZASW is holding that is personal to you In certain circumstances you may correct personal information that is held by ANZASW

You have the right to complain if you believe ANZASW has breached your privacy
Contact the ANZASW Chief Executive, or alternatively, The Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 10-094, The Terrace, Wellington 6143

Written complaints, marked Confidential, should be addressed to the Chief Executive ANZASW National Office, PO Box 16428, Hornby, Christchurch 8441

We can only investigate complaints about our members. If the complaint is about a social worker who is not a member of ANZASW, we can give you advice about what other avenues you may able to use to
address your issues you are having.

If you have a concern about the social work service you have received, consider these points:

  • Does the social worker have full and accurate information about your situation?
  • Have you discussed your concerns with the social worker and/or their employer?
  • Is the social worker a Registered Social Worker?
    • If so, your concerns should be addressed to the:
      Social Workers Registration Board
      PO Box 3452
      Level 8, 111-115 Customhouse Quay
      Wellington 6140

Making a Complaint

First write or speak directly to the social worker, their supervisor, or their employer, outlining your concerns. Concerns or misunderstandings can often be resolved through direct communication.

After that
If you are not satisfied with the response, and the social worker is an ANZASW member, you may
write to the Chief Executive of ANZASW, outlining your concerns and note all relevant dates, times
and events.

The Chief Executive will either refer your complaint to the ANZASW Complaint Convenor or assist you forward your complaint to the appropriate body to action.

The Complaint Convenor will be your ANZASW contact person and will give you details about how
to keep in touch while the complaint is being investigated.

The Complaint Convenor will tell you about the process that will be used to address the issues.

There are several ways you can, with our support, be directly involved in resolving the matter with the social worker. If you do not wish to do this, the Complaint Convenor will refer the matter to a Disciplinary Hearing, and support you during this process.

Privacy Statement

ANZASW has a commitment to transparent processes in receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints
ANZASW gives you assurance that all your personal information is held in confidence

Personal information collected from you or provided by others may only be used for:

  • receiving a complaint
  • investigating a complaint
  • resolving a complaint
  • any appeals process

If we investigate your complaint, your personal information will be seen only by people who are involved in resolving the complaint. This includes the social worker about whom you are complaining.


ANZASW Complaint determination 31 July 2017 against a NFP  Agency Social Worker

ANZASW Complaint determination 3 April 2014 against a Counsellor in a Tertiary Institution Student Health Service



Decision of the Complaints Resolution Panel Hearing Panel  in relation to a social worker, Member A, December 2012


Complaints Resolution Panel Hearing in relation to a social worker, Member Z, October 2012

Decision of the ANZASW Complaints Resolution Panel in the matter of Social Worker Taotahi Pihama

ANZASW decision 29 Nov 11 (Final PUBLISHED)

Decision of the ANZASW Complaints Resolution Panel in the matter of Social Worker Ms X

[Publicly released after all parties informed on April 2010]

Determination 091109 Publication

Any further enquiries in relation to this case should be directed to Lucy Sandford-Reed, Executive Officer (

Decision of the ANZASW Complaints Resolution Panel in the matter of Jane Elizabeth Kerr

[Publicly released after all parties informed on 19 December 2008]

In May 2008 ANZASW received a complaint regarding an ex-employee of Child Youth and Family, Jane Elizabeth Kerr, who had previously worked at the CYF Nelson Site Office as a supervisor.

The complaint alleged that Ms Kerr had admitted having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old boy who was at the time in the care of CYF. Ms Kerr had subsequently resigned from CYF and voluntarily presented to the Nelson Police and admitted her behaviour.

The Association considered the complaint serious enough to suspend Ms Kerr’s membership whilst an investigation was undertaken. The provisions of the Code of Ethics that were identified as applicable in the circumstances of the case were 3.1, 3.5, 6.3, and 7.1. Ms Kerr accepted that the information provided with the complaint was accurate.

Having considered the evidence provided, the Complaints Resolution Panel found Ms Kerr guilty of Gross Professional Misconduct. Membership of ANZASW for Jane Elizabeth Kerr has therefore been revoked effective from October 3rd 2008.

Any further enquiries in relation to this case should be directed to Lucy Sandford-Reed, Executive Officer (