SACSSP

For Employers

Employers of social service professionals (social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care workers(auxiliary category) includes government (national and provincial departments, metros and municipalities), non-governmental organisations, the private sector, business and corporates, training institutions, and others. Employers are an important stakeholder as the ‘vehicle’ through which social service professionals renders services to the population of the country.

Read more about the Employers’ Responsibilities

Legal Requirements and Practice

Every employer has an obligation to be aware of the provisions of the following and how these apply to social service professionals in its employment:

Rules under the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978

Registration Required to Practice

A person may only practise as a social worker, social auxiliary worker, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care worker (auxiliary category) and use the title social worker, child and youth care worker, social auxiliary worker or auxiliary child and youth care worker (whether at a service delivery, supervisory or managerial level), if he or she is registered with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) as legally required in terms of the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978. Such registration provides the license to practice to a social service professional, entails the following:

  • Registration with the SACSSP when he or she first start to practise his or her profession, and thereafter,
  • Payment of the prescribed annual fees before or on 31 March every year as to remain registered and in good standing.

Employers of social service professionals have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that persons in their employ practising social work, social auxiliary work and child and youth care work (at a professional and/or auxiliary level) are registered with the SACSSP. This include the requirement of the timely payment of annual fees. In this regard employers have:

  • an obligation to ongoingly monitor the status of registration of social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category) in their employ.
  • The right to request proof payment of annual fees (for ongoing registration) from social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category)) in their employ.
  • the obligation and right to set the requirement to be in good standing (ongoing registration through payment of annual fees) as a condition of service and continued employment.
  • the right to verify the registration status of employees on the Register by directing an enquiry to the SACSSP’s Registration Division.
  • an obligation not to allow any social service professional whose registration status is not in good standing to practise his or her profession until such time that his or her name is restored to the Register.

If a social service professional does not pay the prescribed annual fee before or on 31 March each year, he or she effectively loses his or her license to practise his or her profession. The SACSSP will also remove such a person’s name from the Register of all registered professionals kept in terms of section 19 of the Act, which will result in the social service professional being required be restored to the Register. Until such time, he or she may not practise his or her profession.

Any person who contravenes the provisions of the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978 in terms of the requirement to be registered if he or she practises as a social worker, social auxiliary worker, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care worker (auxiliary category) is guilty of an offence and on conviction be liable to a fine, or to imprisonment in terms of section 16 of the Act.

Employers can assist by reminding social service professionals in their employ to pay their annual fees on time no later than 31 March each year.

Ethical Practice

Social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category) are required by law to adhere to their respective professions’ Codes of Ethics and Conduct. The follow needs to be consulted:

  • Rules relating to the acts or omissions of a social worker, a social auxiliary worker or a student social worker which shall constitute unprofessional or improper conduct (Government Notice 54 published in Government Gazette 14526 of 15 January 1993)
  • Rules relating to the acts or omissions which constitute unprofessional or improper conduct of child and youth care workers and rules relating to conduct of child and youth care workers practising at professional and auxiliary levels (Government Notice No 833 published in Government Gazette 38128 of 31 October 2014
  • Rules relating to the course of conduct to be followed by social workers in the practicing of their profession (Code of Ethics) (Government Notice 292 published in Government Gazette 10205 of 25 April 1986) [under review]

Employers have an obligation to create and facilitate a work environment that enable social service professionals. In this regard employers need to be aware understand that social service professionals are legally obliged to meet the standards of professional conduct, and of not, they will be on contravention of the Act.

Every social service professional employed has a reasonable expectation to practise in a work environment that enables him or her to adhere to his or her profession’s Code of Ethics. Therefore, it is important that employers take co-responsibility in facilitating a work environment that supports adherence to the Codes of Ethics and Conduct and engage with social service professionals employed on how to establish and sustain such an environment.

Also see Professional Conduct

Co-responsibility

Where an employer wittingly employs a social auxiliary worker, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care worker (auxiliary category) who are not registered or in good standing with the SACSSP (annual fees paid in time), such an employer is equally liable for any legal actions that may be instituted. Furthermore, any actions taken by such an unregistered social service professional as part of his or her duties, will not only be the liability of individual, but also that of the employer.

SACSSP

Regulated Practice

Employers may only employ and utilize social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category) to execute the functions as defined within their respective scopes of practice of these professions. Such a scope of practice is protected by law and may not be executed by person not registered.

Defined Practices

Employers may only employ and utilize social workers, social auxiliary workers, child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category) to execute the functions as defined within their respective scopes of practice of these professions. Such a scope of practice is protected by law and may not be executed by person not registered.

Every social service professional under the auspices of the SACSSP has a define scope of practice (the parameters within which a social worker, social auxiliary worker, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care worker (auxiliary category) may practice his or her profession). These are prescribed in the relevant following Regulations:

  • Regulations relating to acts which especially pertain to the profession of social work (Government Notice No. R. 852 published in Government Gazette No 15658 of 29 April 1994)
  • Regulations regarding the registration of social auxiliary workers and the holding of disciplinary inquiries (Government Notice No. R. 103 published in Government Gazette No. 34020 of 18 February 2011)
  • Rules relating to the qualifications for registration as a social auxiliary worker (Government Notice No R 104 published in Government Gazette 34020 of 18 February 2011)

Regulations for child and youth care workers, auxiliary child and youth care workers and student child and youth care workers (Government Notice No. 838 published in Government Gazette No. 38135 of 31 October 2014)

Job-Descriptions

Employers need to ensure that job-descriptions are aligned with the respective Scopes of Practice for each professional groups and registration category. See Defined practices for details.

Advertisements for Employment of Social Service Professionals

Employers are required to ensure that every advertisement for a social worker, social auxiliary worker, child and youth care worker (professional category) and child and youth care worker (auxiliary category) clearly indicates that:

Registration with the SACSSP is a requirement

Also see Legal requirement.

Professional Supervision

Professional supervision refers to the profession specific supervision, guidance and support related the theory and practice of a specific profession in order to promote efficient and professional rendering of services related to the scope of practice of such a professional. Ethically and legally each professional group (i.e. social work and child and youth care work) may only supervise professionals (professional and auxiliary level) in its own profession group:

  • Only registered social workers may provide professional supervision to other social workers and social auxiliary workers.
  • Only registered child and youth care workers (professional category) may provide professional supervision to other child and youth care workers (professional category) and child and youth care workers (auxiliary category).
  • Social auxiliary workers may only practise under the direct supervision of a registered social worker.

Child and youth care workers (auxiliary category) may only practise under the direct supervision of a registered child and youth care worker (professional category)

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