Social Work Registration: Another Opportunity for Discussion

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The Social Workers Registration Bill 2018 is before the Parliament of South Australia. It makes provision to establish a social worker registration board with powers to investigate complaints and enforce penalties for breach of competency and ethical standards. This paper presents an argument for the national registration of social workers; and in addition, outlines key considerations for thinking about risk, protection, safeguarding, and implementation that comes with registration. IMPLICATIONS Risk and protection need to be assessed as part of a more comprehensive regulatory framework in the debates of registration. If registration is to become part of the regulation of social work, a national approach to social worker registration is indicated, so that a person deregistered in one state cannot be employed as a social worker in another. Social worker registration is a potentially useful formal mechanism that offers both a protective safeguard (social worker status) and a corrective safeguard (limiting or de-registering).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-226
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Social Work
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Intentional Safeguards
  • Registration
  • Regulatory Framework


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