Code of Ethics/ Ko te Tauākī Tikanga

The adoption of a Code of Ethics is one of several necessary conditions for a vocational grouping to be known as a “profession”. ANZASW has had a Code of Ethics since its inception. However, in the absence of regulatory or disciplinary procedures, the Code was largely symbolic. The Association started work on complaints procedures in the mid-1980s, but in the absence of any serious matters raised by clients, and the lack of an infrastructure to deal with them, the Code was not put to a real test until an Ethics Committee was formed in 1993.

The then NZASW had adopted an Interim Code of Ethics at its founding meeting in 1964. That interim code was eventually overtaken by the decision to adopt the International Federation of Social Workers’ code, in the so-called “Puerto Rico” version, after the 1976 conference there.

In 1993 the Ethics Committee was established and given responsibility for the resolution of complaints received by ANZASW. Later that year the first ANZASW Code of Ethics and Bicultural Code of Practice was adopted by members. The Bicultural Code of Practice, 1993 version, originated in the acknowledgements by (A)NZASW of the Treaty of Waitangi in the Objects of the (A)NZASW Constitution (July 1989). The Bicultural Code of Practice continues to be incorporated in the ANZASW Code of Ethics in recognition of the Treaty relationship.

The 1993 Code became the seminal referent for the work of the Ethics Committee as it began to accept and process complaints of ethical breaches made against ANZASW members. Included in its terms of reference was the mandate periodically to review and recommend revisions to the Code. Work was begun on a review in 2003 and carried forward into 2004, resulting in a revision of Section 1.4 (sexual relationships) and the adoption of a new Section 5 Responsibility in Supervisory Relationships.

The most recent revision of the Code was started in mid 2005 partly in response to the decision of the Social Workers Registration Board to include the Code in the list of recommended guides to professional conduct. Following extensive consultation with members of ANZASW the current Bilingual Code of Ethics was adopted by the ANZASW National Council in 2007 and the new publication was released in March 2008 and again in 2013.

Membership of the Association brings with it an obligation to study, incorporate into professional practice, adhere to and promote the Code of Ethics. All parts of the Code should be read together, and be regarded as having equal status.

A revised Code of Ethics was publicly released in 2015.  To obtain a printed copy of the Code ($8.00) please make a request to the ANZASW National Office,

The full publication has the following chapters:

1   Introduction
2   Definition of social work in Aotearoa New Zealand
3   Code of Ethics of the Aotearoa New Zealand Association of Social Workers
4   IFSW/IASSW Ethics in Social Work, Statement of Principles
5   Human Rights: International Conventions and Domestic Agencies
6   Complaints Resolution Process
7   The Development of Social Work Ethical Codes in Aotearoa New Zealand

It begins with a foreword by the then ANZASW President Rose Henderson and Ethics Committee Convenor, John White. In order to acknowledge the antecedents of this publication, the final chapter gives a chronological account of significant events, resources and people involved in the development of ethical social work in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1964 to the present day.

Chapter 3 contains the ANZASW Code of Ethics . In addition to this chapter the full publication draws together statements on the knowledge and values-base of ethical social work in Aotearoa New Zealand, as informed by our unique bi-cultural partnership and by international links.

In regard to the Code itself, the purposes are to:

  • provide a definitive, systematic statement on ethical social work
  • offer guidance on the relationship between Tangata Whenua and Tauiwi in social work practice in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • give benchmarks for the protection of clients and against potentially unethical behaviours
  • inspire professional behaviour which reflects the core values and the integrity of social work practice
  • promote a standard of professional behaviour amongst members of ANZASW which maintains and enhances its aims and objectives
  • guide social work students and new entrants to the profession on matters of best ethical practice, and
  • underpin everyday practice and continuing professional development of members.

ANZASW Ethics and Principles Printable Posters

A4 printable poster 

A3 printable poster