South African Council for Social Services Professions: briefing

Committee: Social Development

Date of Meeting: 20 Feb 2002

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Minutes

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
20 FEBRUARY 2002
SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL SERVICES PROFESSIONS: BRIEFING

Chairperson:
Ms E Gandhi (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Progress made by the SACSSP in establishing Professional Boards for Social Service Professions (see Appendix)

SUMMARY
The South African Council of Social Services Professions briefed the Portfolio Committee about the progress which has been made in establishing boards for the various sub-divisions of the social service professions. The establishment of these boards, except for the Social Work board, was proving to be a very slow process. The presentation highlighted that applications for these boards had been received from such areas as child and youth care, social work, social security and so forth.

MINUTES
Professor Louw, Director of the Council of Social Services Professions, together with Dr Lombard, the Registrar, conducted the briefing. Prof Louw pointed out that the members of the council who were present on the day were mainly from the Cape Town area due to economic concerns.

Dr Lombard explained that this meeting was preceded by an agreement between the Council and the Committee for the establishment of the Social Services Professions Board.
He pointed out that boards were being established for such professions as social work, development work and so forth.

For the social work profession, there would be three social workers appointed by the profession as well as other community stakeholders and this would also include the invitation of two students to observe the operations within these boards.

He pointed out that the Child and Youth Care Board should ideally consist of child and youth care workers, persons representing the community as well as representations from educational institutions for child and youth care.

The application for the establishment of a professional board for counselors was turned down for a number of reasons. The reasons included the fact that counselors as a group do not meet the Council's requirements to qualify for the establishment of a professional board, as they do not have a specific body of knowledge which comprises its domain.

With respect to the establishment of a social work board, a persistent problem here is to get the development workers organised into a group which could take the process of establishing a professional board for development work forward.

In conclusion, he pointed out that the council is exploring all possible opportunities to co-operate with and assist the above-mentioned occupational groups. Ways of helping them include involving them in the council's provisional meetings with stakeholders sending them the Council's newsletter, advising them to establish standard generating bodies for their professions and so forth.

Discussion
Mr M Masutha (ANC) asked to what extent the proliferation of these boards has contributed to the disintegration of or enhancement of the social work profession? Secondly, to what extent are the resources of the council geared to further the social work profession and those of others?

Prof Louw's response was that it is neither the legislation nor anything else that created these social service professions, but the apparent need in the community for such organisations. However, unlike the social work profession, these occupations were not regulated, which is now being addressed through this process of establishing boards. The legislation passed in this regard makes it possible for other groups in the social services sector to be regulated as is the case with social work. The resources of the council are stretched but they have applied their resources in a way that will enable a proper spread of the resources. They do not have the resources to establish the boards for all the professions.

They approached the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to enquire whether they can establish a standards generating body for all these professions to which the authority said no. What should happen rather, is that the professions themselves should come up with their own boards to regulate themselves.

Ms V Kaylan (ANC) asked what exactly the council is going to be negotiating with the various stakeholders in the social services arena?

Mr M Masutha (ANC) asked the presenters if the process of establishing these boards was a recognition of these professions as such or a way of investigating their suitability to be such?

Mr Louw responded that the negotiations are an extension of the council's modus operandi (procedure) of consulting rather than imposing decisions on stakeholders. On the issue of professions, he pointed out that they have not made any pre-judgments about the professionalism of certain kinds of work. The suggested boards however would ensure that certain requirements and codes of conduct are put into place.

The Chairperson pointed out some observations, including the fact that the Committee requires a plan from the Council on what they intend to undertake. The Committee would try to contact the Department so that the statistics can reveal a clearer picture of what needs to be done by the Department.

Ms O Kasienyane (ANC) asked when the applications are expected to be heard by the council, to which Professor Louw responded that this was an ongoing process which would be continuing in the coming weeks. By the time the Committee meets with the Council again next week, there would already have been hearings into the applications.

The meeting was adjourned.

Appendix:

PROGRESS MADE BY THE SACSSP WITH THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PROFESSIONAL BOARDS FOR SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS


Submission made by the SA Council for Social Service Professions at a briefing session of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Social Development, held at Parliament on 20 February 2002.

1. INTRODUCTION
During a briefing session with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Social Development which took place on 13 June 2001, both the Council and the Portfolio Committee expressed the sentiments that similar meetings between the two bodies should take place on a regular basis. Hence this second briefing meeting to inform the Portfolio Committee regarding the progress made with the establishment of professional boards for the social service professions in terms of section 14A of the Social Service Professions Act, 1978 (Act 110 of 1978).

Before any professional board can be established, the procedure to elect and appoint a professional board and the procedure for the functioning of such a board should be formulated and accepted by the Minister for Social Development in terms of section 28 of the above Act. Therefore, the required draft regulations were furnished to the Department of Social development on 24 April 2001 for submission to the Minister in the form of two sets respectively titled as follows:

- Regulations regarding the election and appointment of members of a social service professional board.
- Regulations regarding the functioning of social service professional boards.

The Department is still attending to these Regulations and could not indicate when it would be Gazetted.

The Council is presently dealing with the possibility of establishing professional boards for -
- social work;
- child and youth care;
- counsellors;
- youth work;
- probation work;
- social security;
- development work and
- pastoral work.

Each of these possibilities is discussed below in more detail.

2. PROFESSIONAL BOARD FOR SOCIAL WORK

ogether with the above mentioned two draft sets of regulations the Council furnished its request to the Minister to establish a professional board for social work, to the Department for submission to the Minister, on 24 April 2001 by means of a draft set of regulations titled Regulations regarding the establishment and constitution of a professional board for social work. The Department is also still attending to these Regulations and could not indicate when it would be Gazetted. The Council has therefore concluded its work in this respect during April 2001 already and cannot take the process any further until the Department meets its obligation regarding the publication of the regulations.

This board will be constituted as follows:

- Three social workers nominated and elected by social workers.
- Two persons appointed by the Minister from nominations by the community.
- One social worker elected by social workers from nominations by the social work education and training institutions.
- One social worker in the employ of a social welfare department in the provincial sphere of government, appointed by the Minister.
- One person versed in law, appointed by the Minister.
- One social worker engaged in full-time or part-time private practice, nominated and elected by all social workers.
- One member of the Council, designated by the Council.
- One social auxiliary worker, nominated and elected by social auxiliary workers.
- In addition a student social worker will be invited on a rotational basis to attend meetings of the board as an observer at the cost of the Council,

As soon as the above mentioned three sets of regulations come into effect, the process to elect and appoint the professional board for social work will start.

3. PROFESSIONAL BOARD FOR CHILD AND YOUTH CARE
On 21 February 2001 the Council approved the National Association for Child and Youth Care Workers (NACCW)'s application to establish a professional board for child and youth care.

In terms of section 28 of the Act this professional board must at least consist of -

- members being child and youth care workers must be in the majority;
- persons representing the community comprising not less than 20 percent of the board;
- representation from educational institutions for child and youth care;
- representation from the welfare authorities; and
- one or more persons versed in law.

The NACCW has been consulting with its members regarding the constitution of and representation on the board. This information is awaited in order to draft the necessary regulations regarding the establishment and constitution of a professional board for child and youth care. The NACCW will furnish the Council with the information in time for the next Council meeting on 28 February 2002. Regulations will then be drafted and furnished to the Department for submission to the Minister with the request to establish the board.

4. APPLICATION TO ESTABLISH A PROFESSIONAL BOARD FOR COUNSELLORS
An application to establish a professional board for "counsellors" was lodged with the SACSSP by the Council for counsellors in South Africa. The latter body which is a non-statutory body, is endeavouring to professionalise all the different counsellors in one profession. The SACSSP considered the application and on 14 November 2001 resolved not to regard counsellors as a professional group to be registered and not to accept the application for the following reasons:

- Counsellors as a group do not meet the Council's requirements to qualify for the establishment of a professional board, as they do not have a specific body of knowledge which comprises its domain.
- The membership of the applicant consists of persons who studied different disciplines without a specific practice component.
- They have a strong focus on traumatology, which is not a new discipline but a matter which has been part and parcel of other professions such as social work, for many years.

The applicant was informed accordingly. No response was received so far.

5. APPLICATION TO ESTABLISH A PROFESSIONAL BOARD FOR YOUTH WORK
An application to establish a professional board for youth work, dated 28 November 2001, was submitted to the Council by the South African Youth Workers Association (SAYWA) and the Professional Development of Youth Work Consortium.

The applicants as well as the NACCW are aware of and accept the fact that, in dealing with this application, consideration will have to be given to the possibility of combining child and youth care as an occupation, and youth work as a separate occupation, in one professional board. This matter will be investigated.

The Registrar had a number of discussions with the applicants and this application is on the Council's agenda for consideration at its next meeting on 28 February 2002.

6. PROBATION WORK
Since 1996 a number of presentations with a view to establish a professional board for probation work, were made to representatives of this group by the President and the Registrar of the Council. Probation workers are organised into the Probation Advocacy Group and are all employed by Government.

The Probation Advocacy Group submitted a letter registering its intent to lodge an application with the Council for the establishment of a professional board, on 7 November 2000. Discussions were recently resumed and a draft application was received on 11 February.

7. SOCIAL SECURITY
Social security officials are all employed by Government and an interim working committee has been formed by them to deal with their application. Information sessions with a view to establish a social security professional board, were conducted some time ago with representatives of this group, by the President and the Registrar of the Council. Subsequently they informed the Council of their intention to submit an application to establish a professional board in a letter dated 6 April 2001.The Interim Working Committee is meeting with the Registrar on 1 March 2002 to carry the process forward.

8. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT WORK
The problems still persist to get the development workers organised into a group which could take the process of establishing of a professional board for development work forward. As most persons employed as development workers are in the service of government departments, the Director General of the Department of Social Development's assistance has been requested in this regard, at a meeting between her and a delegation from the Council on 10 January 2002. The President of the Council is also assisting an interest group in the Western Cape in this respect. This group has made significant progress so far.

9 PASTORAL WORK
In a letter dated 12 November 2001, the SA Association of Pastoral Work submitted a letter informing the Council of its intention to apply for the establishment of a professional board for pastoral work.

10. COST ASPECT
Before any professional board can be established the matter of the cost aspect will have to be attended to. The SACSSP has previously indicated that it is not in a position to finance the cost to establish professional boards for professions. The Minister and the Director General of the Department of Social Development have been approached with a view to obtain government funding for this purpose. A formal application for funding together with Council's budget, have been submitted to the Department.

Whilst it is realised that such financial assistance should be incorporated in the Department's budget cycle, the Department was requested to give serious consideration to assisting the Council during the current financial year to expedite the institution of the first boards.

The outcome of the application to the Department is awaited.

11. CONCLUSION
The Council is exploiting all possible opportunities to cooperate with and assist the above occupational groups. Council is endeavouring to realise its new vision to be there for all the social service professions and to truly function as a professional council for all social service professions. This is inter alia done by -

- involving them in Council's process of drafting a guideline document for the salaries, conditions of service and human resource management for the social service professions;
- involving them in the Council's provincial meetings with stakeholders and taking cognisance of their questions and input;
- sending them the Council's Newsletter;
- advising them to establish standard generating bodies for their professions (SGBs); and
- if new policy documents and regulations to the Act, about general matters are drafted, to draft it by taking into consideration the total spectrum of the social service professions, such as for instance the transformed Disciplinary Policy Document of the Council (copy attached as Annexure A).

DR J LOMBARD
REGISTRAR

13 February 2002


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