SACSSP

History

The history of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) is closely interlocked with the history of the country.

History of Council

HISTORY OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN COUNCIL FOR SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS

The history of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) is closely interlocked with the history of the country. The following overview of the history of the SACSSP provides both a historic and contextual overview of how the regulatory body came into being and how it changed over more four (4) decades.

Factors that lead to the establishment of a professional Council

Representations for the establishment of professional control in social work, were addressed to the Authorities from 1942.  It was, however, only during 1963, that a serious attempt was made to give effect to these representations.  In that year, a Workgroup on the Registration of Social Workers was appointed to, inter alia, make recommendations regarding a system for the registration of social workers and a body to administer such a system.

The Workgroup recommended that social workers be registered and that the title social worker be restricted to registered persons.  The Workgroup envisaged this task as being within the realm of the then proposed National Welfare Act, and being undertaken by a specialised commission. These recommendations resulted in the establishment of the Social Work Commission, a Commission of the National Welfare Board, which was provided for in terms of the National Welfare Act 79 of 1965. The implementation of professional control in social work was begun during December 1970.

Within a few years it became evident that further development was essential to keep social work on a par with other professions. The most important event in this respect was the appointment on 31 January 1975 of the Committee of Inquiry into Separate Legislation for the Social Work Profession (the Auret Committee)[1].  This Committee’s terms of reference included, to make recommendations regarding a separate act on social work, registration of social workers, disciplinary measures and a council for social work.

The most important findings of the Auret Committee were the following:

(a) The overwhelming majority of social workers were in favour of separate legislation for the profession since it would –

  • contribute to promoting the status and recognition of social work;
  • assist in defining the terrain of social work;
  • separate the professional aspects of social work from the broad sphere of social welfare; and
  • provide a broad basis for professional control.

(b) Social workers expressed opinions concerning eighteen aspects which should be embodied in the proposed legislation.  One was that the legislation should allow for the establishment of an autonomous, statutory Council which should be a juristic person.

(c) Social workers overwhelmingly supported the establishment of a professional Council.  This conclusion is of the utmost importance. The fact is that the Act and the Council arose from the explicit wishes of the social work profession itself.

[1] A copy of this report is available electronically in PDF format. Please contact the Office of the Registrar for an electronic copy.

(d) Social workers gave prominence certain aspects of the proposed Council, namely –

  • contribute to promoting the status and recognition of social work;
  • assist in defining the terrain of social work;
  • separate the professional aspects of social work from the broad sphere of social welfare; and
  • provide a broad basis for professional control.

Promulgation of an own Act

After the Committee of Inquiry had completed its report on 7 July 1976, a further 18 months elapsed before draft legislation was ready for submission to Parliament during its 1978 session. In the interim phase, deliberations continued almost incessantly between the then Department of Social Welfare and Pensions which was drawing up the draft legislation, and representatives of the profession.  The Act provided for the establishment of a South African Council for Social Work, and to define its powers and functions; for the registration of social workers, student social workers and social auxiliary workers; for control over the profession of social work; and for incidental matters.

The Social and Associated Workers Act 110 of 1978 as eventually approved by Parliament and assented to by the State President on 20 June 1978, was published in Government Gazette 6102 on 30 June 1978 and came into operation on 1 September 1979.  By and large it gave statutory sanction to that which the Committee had recommended on the strength of the evidence it heard.

Creation of the first Council for Social Work

In terms of the Act the inception of an own statutory Council for the profession of social work took place on 18 January 1980.  Initially the Council was known as the Council for Social and Associated Workers.  During 1989 the Act was amended, and the Council’s name changed to the South African Council for Social Work.  During the nineties a comprehensive investigation was launched regarding the constitution and the functions of the Council and the expectations of its electorate regarding the Council.  As a result of this process the inception of the South African Interim Council for Social Work took place during 1996 to continue the consultation process with the electorate and all role-players, with specific directive to make recommendations to the Minister for Welfare and Population Development regarding the constitution of a new council.

Whereas the rendering of social welfare services previously was the domain of social work, the White Paper for Social Welfare of 1997, consisting of the Government’s principles, guidelines, recommendations, proposed policies and programmes for developmental social welfare in South Africa, changed that by expanding the human resource capacity of the sector, through additional employment of other categories of social service personnel.  Consequently, South African Interim Council for Social Work had to focus more broadly than social work only, to include other social service occupations and to, in the best interest of the consumer of social services, to regulate the education, training and service rendering of the practitioners of the social service professions. Therefore, after consultation with role-players by the South African Interim Council for Social Work, the Social Work Act 110 of 1978 was amended to make provision for the establishment and constitution of the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) and professional boards for social service professions.  In terms of the amended Act the Council shall be the umbrella body for the various professional boards.  Each professional board would be a body dealing with the business of the profession(s) under its auspices.

During the consultation with role-players it was generally agreed that the successful incorporation of the professional and occupational groups within an umbrella structure would only be possible should the following principles prevail:

(a) Autonomy of each professional and occupational group.

(b) Financial viability and self-support of each professional and occupational group.

(c) The incorporation of other occupational groups should not be detrimental to the position and status of social work as a profession.

In April 1999 the Act’s name was officially changed to the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978 and the first South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP) was constituted on 8 June 1999.  In time the professional boards for the various social service professions were established.See below on the history of the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978.

HISTORY OF THE SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS ACT 110 OF 1978[1]

The Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978 (the Act) pre- dated pre-democracy, but major amendments were affected post 1994. The Social and Associated Workers Act 110 of 1978, established the Council for Social and Associated Workers. This Act underwent some amendments in 1985 (technical revisions and requirements for student social workers to register), 1989 (which abolished the Council for Social and Associated Workers and established the Council for Social Work; changed the name of the Act to the Social Work Act 110 of 1978; and included social auxiliary workers) and 1983 (mainly technical amendments).

In 1995, the Social Work Amendment Act 52 of 1995 initiated the first phase towards the transformation of Council as this amendment established the South African Interim Council for Social Work and provided for the abolition of the South African Council for Social Work. Shortly after the 1995 amendment, the Welfare Laws Amendment Act 106 of 1996 amended the Social Work Act, 1978, and made the South African Interim Council for Social Workmore representative by enlarging its membership.

In 1998 the Social Work Amendment Act 102 of 1998 brought about changes in many parts of the 1978 Act, which changed the name of the Act to the Social Service Professions Act 110 of 1978 and to establish the first South African Council for Social Service Professions. It also allowed, for the first time, the establishment of Professional Boards.

[1]South African Council for Social Service Professions. Date: Newsletter. Pretoria: SACSSP.)

Former Council Members

The names and details of former Members of Council will be published here as soon as it has been finalised and verified.

Former Professional Board Members

The names and details of former Members of Council will be published here as soon as it has been finalised and verified.

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