25 July 2013

Macau continues legislative debate on registration of social workers

The legislature in Macau is considering a draft bill to create a registration system for social workers.  A recent report in the Macau Daily Times provided an insight into the process.  Discussion of social work registration in Macau has been continuing since 2011, as reported earlier by the newspaper.

Five components of the registration system had previously been identified, including professional training requirements, quality control, staff training duty, a body to oversee professional practice and licence issuing which will be a compulsory requirement for social workers.

The President of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), Iong Kong Io, told the newspaper in July 2013 that the amendment to the draft bill creating a registration system for social workers is on the right track. He promised there would be a second round of consultations after the amendment process is complete.

‘The taskforce already held its first meeting in May, during which the team discussed basic questions such as the definition of social work and working guidelines’, Iong said.

The taskforce will continue to discuss legal issues, including registration requirements for social workers and formation of the registration affairs committee.

The first consultation was held in mid 2012. The newspaper reports that many social workers were against the proposal that stipulated compulsory registration for private social workers but exempted social workers in public entities. 

Macau is one of a number of countries around the world seriously considering legal registration of social workers.  Nearby Hong Kong set up a registration system in 1998, overseen by the Social Workers Registration Board.

IFSW is always ready to provide support and assistance to local associations and groups of social workers involved in negotiating legal registration.  ‘Registration can bring benefits to service users and social workers alike’, said IFSW Secretary General Rory Truell.  ‘However there are also risks.  The profession MUST be closely involved in developing any proposals for registration and similar schemes’, Rory Truell concluded.

The Macau Daily Times report can be read here.