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Issue 43 (5/2019)

Table of Contents

Message from the Chairperson
Dr. Leung Chuen-suen, Chairperson
Hello fellow colleagues,

The new term of office for members of the Social Workers Registration Board has been started on 16 January 2019 and will run until 15 January 2022. This Board is composed of 15 members, with 6 members being appointed by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Government, one being representative of the Director of Social Welfare, and the other 8 members elected by registered social workers in last December. On behalf of the Board, I hereby would like to thank each and every social worker for supporting our work. I am very grateful that with the trust of our Board members, I have been elected the Chairperson of the Board. I hope that with the experience gained from the previous term, I will be able to collaborate with each of our Board members and staff to successfully lead the Board to accomplish our work.

Besides the routine duties of registration and dealing with complaints arising from social workers' professional disciplinary offences, we have two important tasks in this term. I introduce them in advance below. After more than one year of preparation, the Board has drafted amendments for two important documents, namely, the "Principles, Criteria & Standards for Recognizing Qualifications in Social Work for Registration of Registered Social Workers" and the "Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers". The former is used to assess whether qualifications awarded under the social work programmes of tertiary institutions in Hong Kong are recognized for registration, while the latter is a guide for the professional conduct of registered social workers and will also be used as a reference for handling complaints and disciplinary hearings. Both documents have been in use for many years and we hope that our amendments will keep pace with the times and to cope with the latest developments and needs of social work training and practical situations.

We will start consultations for these two documents in the coming months, including public consultation sessions. I hope that social workers in different fields of work will pay close attention to these matters and enthusiastically put forward their opinions.

When the "Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area" published on 18 February, the following text from the document triggered an enormous reaction in the social work industry: "to encourage enhanced cooperation among the social welfare sectors of Hong Kong, Macao and the Mainland, take forward the mutual recognition of social work professional qualifications, and strengthen professional training and exchange of social workers from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao". Being the statutory body responsible for the registration system, the Board is certainly with great concern over the issue of "mutual recognition of social work qualifications". At the recent Board meeting, members had an in-depth discussion on this issue and exchanged their views.

All in all, we are of the opinion that the Board is a statutory body established under the Social Workers Registration Ordinance and thus, it is imperative that the Board acts strictly in accordance with the Ordinance, develops and implements relevant mechanisms to monitor the registration and disciplinary matters for social workers in Hong Kong. Over the past 21 years, the relevant mechanisms have worked well and we will do our very best to maintain this.

In terms of qualification for registration, the Board requires applicant to hold a recognized social work qualification, which is markedly different from the mechanism in the Mainland where the qualification for being social worker is based on passing a vocational standard examination. At present, there is no basis for mutual recognition of professional qualifications when taking into consideration of the two different registration systems. Overall speaking, the registration of social workers in Hong Kong is within the scope of our professionalism. We must manage the matters as a gate-keeper and from the perspective of professional development and in accordance with the functions and responsibilities vested under the Ordinance.

Dr. Leung Chuen-suen

Board members and the Committees of the new term

The Board consists of 15 members, of whom, 8 are elected among registered social workers, 6 are appointed by the Chief Executive who are coming from a wide range of sectors including social welfare, law and accounting, and one is the Director of Social Welfare or his/her Representative. The list of the Board members was gazetted in early January 2019, and the 3-year tenure of office is from 16 January 2019 until 15 January 2022.

Board Members

In the first meeting of the current term, Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Honorary Treasurer, Honorary Secretary as well as the conveners of each committee were elected as follows:

Dr. LEUNG Chuen-suen (Chairperson)
Mr. LUN Chi-wai (Deputy Chairperson)
Dr. TING Wai-fong (Honorary Secretary)
Mr. LO Wa-kei, Roy (Honorary Treasurer)
Ms. CHAN Tsz-wai (Elected Member)
Ms. CHEUNG Lai-yi (Elected Member)
Mr. HUI Chung-shing, Herman, S.B.S., M.H., J.P. (Appointed Member)
Dr. KWOK Ngai-kuen (Elected Member)
Ms. LEE Cheung-pui, Sindy Cat (Appointed Member)
Ms. LI Yuen-wah, Cecilla (Representative of Director of Social Welfare)
Ms. LUI Siu-ying (Appointed Member)
Ms. MAN Yuen-ling, Connie (Appointed Member)
Dr. NG Yut-ming (Elected Member)
Miss TO Shuk-yi (Appointed Member)
Mr. TSANG Kin-chiu (Elected Member)

Committee on Administration

Functions: responsible for the Board's personnel, finance, administrative matters and publicity
work, and strive to enhance the general awareness of the Board's work among the public,
registered social workers and welfare agencies.

Members include :
Dr. TING Wai-fong (Convenor)
Ms. CHEUNG Lai-yi (Member)
Mr. LO Wa-kei, Roy (Member)
Ms. LUI Siu-ying (Member)
Mr. LUN Chi-wai (Member)

Committee on Professional Conduct

Functions: to deal with all matters related to the professional conduct of social workers.

Members include:
Mr. LUN Chi-wai (Convenor)
Ms. CHAN Tsz-wai (Member)
Ms. MAN Yuen-ling, Connie (Member)
Dr. NG Yut-ming (Member)
Dr. TING Wai-fong (Member)
Mr. TSANG Kin-chiu (Member)
Ms. LIT Ming-wai (Co-opted member)

Committee on Qualification Assessment and Registration

Functions: to draft, set and review the standards for recognizing the qualification for registration as well as to carry out assessments to the related recognized qualifications (degree or diploma in social work).

Members include:
Dr. KWOK Ngai-kuen (Convenor)
Ms. CHEUNG Lai-yi (Member)
Dr. LEUNG Chuen-suen (Member)
Dr. NG Yut-ming (Member)
Dr. TING Wai-fong (Member)

Taskforce on Review of Code of Practice

Functions: to review the Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers and the Guidelines on Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers and to make recommendations in respect thereof to the Committee on Professional Conduct.

Members include:
Dr. LEUNG Chuen-suen (Convenor)
Ms. CHAN Tsz-wai (Member)
Dr. CHENG Yuk-tin, Carl (Co-opted Member)
Dr. LAM Chiu-wan (Co-opted Member)
Mr. LUN Chi-wai (Member)
Mr. WONG Ka-ming (Co-opted Member)

Task Force on proposed amendments to the Social Workers Registration Ordinance

Members include:
Mr. HUI Chung-shing, Herman, S.B.S., M.H., J.P. (Member)
Dr. LEUNG Chuen-suen (Member)
Mr. LUN Chi-wai (Member)
Dr. TING Wai-fong (Member)

Brief Introduction of Members

Ms. Chan Tsz-wai

I am Chan Tsz-wai, Anna. First and foremost, as a newly elected member, I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the social workers concerned about Social Workers Registration Board (the Board) and who voted for me. The purpose of becoming Board Member is to convey the voices of frontline social workers to the Board, trying to defend social workers not being unreasonably complained and to ensure the hearing process in a fair, open and just manner.

As a member of the Board, the first thing I would do is to review the procedures of handling false complaints or to abuse the complaints mechanism. Under the current complaints mechanism, there is no criminal liability for abuse of litigation or false complaints. In addition, complainant is acceptable for being absent from disciplinary hearing after the submission to the Board. The social worker who being complained suffers from unnecessary stress and anxiety during the investigation. We need a comprehensive complaints mechanism to prevent against the abuse. I hope that everyone will actively share your point of views and help to bring our registration mechanism comparable to the international standards.

Ms. Cheung Lai-yi

I am Cheung Lai-yi (Kathy) and I have been engaged in social work for more than ten years. I have worked to provide counseling services in primary schools, stationing services for secondary schools, and worked in children and family service centers. Currently, I am a counseling teacher for integrated education at a secondary school. I am honored to be elected as a member of the Social Workers Registration Board, and I am grateful to have the support and trust of the frontline social workers. This role is tremendously meaningful to me and has served as an important reminder to me. I am determined to keep in close communication with all Board members and deal with concrete issues related to the Board's work in a pragmatic manner. I hope to promote the development of social work, protect the rights of service users and ensure the quality of social work programmes, which will allow me to defend the profession and uphold the justice. At the same time, I would like to welcome more frontline co-workers to express their views regarding the work of the Board. Whether it is appreciation or criticism, feedbacks from you are all important and will make the work of the Board more progressive and transparent.

Mr. Hui Chung-shing, Herman

Born and brought up in Hong Kong, Mr. Hui graduated from Faculty of Law of The University of Hong Kong, and has been practicing as a solicitor in Hong Kong since 1976. He has been involved in a range of different public services since the 1980s. The service units he is currently involved include the Council of the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for the Mentally Handicapped, the Independent Police Complaints Appeal Council, the Child Fatality Review Panel, the Public Complaints Committee of Hospital Authority. This year, he has been re-appointed as a member of the Social Workers Registration Board, he will leverage on his professional knowledge to promote the work of the Board and enhance the professional image of Hong Kong social workers.

Dr. Kwok Ngai-kuen

"Fierce-browed, I coolly defy a thousand pointing fingers. Head-bowed, like a willing ox I serve the children." From an early age, I have adopted this famous saying by Lu Xun as the principle for the way I act and do things. Over the next three years as a member of the Board, will it be the case that I have to face a thousand accusing fingers? Having accumulated more than 30 years of experience in social work, I have experienced developments in the community, participated in services for young people, carried out advocacy work and training programmes. I have been involved in research and education and witnessed all of the highs and lows. The question of whether I will have to face a thousand accusing fingers is not of particular concern to me; rather, having had the honour of being elected, my focus is merely on getting the job done right.

Looking into the next three years of work ahead of me, I predict that I will have to face many challenges. In the wake of rapid development and integration in the region, Hong Kong society has also undergone great changes, while social needs have also appeared in a variety of different forms. Transformations in social welfare services have led to new expectations and demands that the public has in terms of quality and quantity of registered social workers. This has had a significant impact on social work education. I am fortunate enough to have become the Convener of the Committee on Qualification Assessment and Registration. My top priority is to guarantee that students who have graduated from different social work training courses are able to reach the professional standards required by the Social Workers Registration Board, thereby providing quality services to the public. Over the next three years, my fellow Committee members and I will be working to determine how best to fulfill this priority in the face of different viewpoints from stakeholders and different demands, and this will be the target on our scorecard.

Fortunately, the Committee members are veteran social workers who have been engaged in different types of social work service or who are social work educator with diversified experience. I am confident that the Committee members share a strong bond and unite in a concerted effort to carry out our work. With everyone's persistence towards quality social work and our core values, we will be able to successfully meet our promises. Even in the face of struggles, I am confident that we will not be acting alone in facing our struggles because everyone will be acting together with one heart to safeguard the profession, defend its core values and to ensure the high quality of social work.

If we win, we win together, and if we lose, we lose together. (But in actual fact, we will have everyone working together, so even if we have to face big challenges, there is no way that we will lose.) We must be determined to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for you will be with us wherever we go. Let's defend the social work profession and its professional standards together!

Dr. Leung Chuen-suen

Following what I have reviewed and shared in the last newsletter, I expect myself being committed to carrying out my role and functions as the chairperson of the Board, staying true to the mission, living up to the promises made during the campaign, and make our work in this term even better than the last.

Ms. Li Yuen-wah

I joined the Social Welfare Department in 1984 and had served in various settings including the Medical Social Services Units, Family Services Centre, staff training, Family & Child Welfare Branch, and Elderly Branch, among others. Currently, I am the Deputy Director of Social Welfare (Administration), representing the Director of Social Welfare to attend meetings of Social Workers Registration Board.

Mr. Lo Wa-kei

I still remember the moment in 2016 in which I was first appointed as a member of the Board. At that time, other members and I had the same vision; we hoped to further promote the development the social work profession and the interests of social workers. In the twinkling of an eye, three summers have already passed, and the committee has successfully carried out a wide range of affairs, both big and small. From handling registrations, renewal applications, to carrying out reviews of its standards and application processes, all members have pragmatically carried out their work. I would like to take this moment to thank the past term of appointed members and elected members for their hard work.

Entering a new term in office as the Honorary Treasurer, I will continue to supervise the Board's financial affairs as best as I possibly can. I look forward to standing together with the other members in this new term and to making a contribution to the sustainable development of the social welfare sector.

Ms. Lui Siu-ying

After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1985, I worked as a school social worker in a non-government institution, and in 1987 I joined the Social Welfare Department where I was involved in various areas relating to families, probation, custody disputes and child protection. I also worked for the Subventions Branch, Elderly Branch, Family & Child Welfare Branch, and I undertook a secondment at the Education Bureau's Joint Office for Kindergartens and Child Care Centres. At present, I am serving as the District Social Welfare Officer in the districts of Wong Tai Sin and Sai Kung, and I am responsible for planning and coordinating the development and implementation of district welfare services. When I was a novice in social work, I had been involved in discussing the needs of legislation for the social worker registration system. I was happy that there was a great push for the Social Workers Registration Ordinance, which eventually came into effect in 1997. Later in 1998, the Social Workers Registration Board was established to act as a mechanism to monitor the quality of social workers, thereby safeguarding the interests of its users and the public as well as maintaining the professional status and reputation of social workers. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate directly in the Registration Board and I hope to promote the quality and professional status of Hong Kong's social workers.

Mr. Lun Chi-wai

After graduating from the Department of Social Work at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1998, I worked as a youth outreach social worker for various NGOs. Nineteen years later, I was transferred to work in the field of drug rehabilitation services. I hope that I can use my 20 years of social work experience in NGOs to help the Board discharge its duties, such as amending the "Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers". With the social work experience from other members, we will be able to fulfill this important task and ensure that the Code meets the needs of the sector and keeps pace with the times. In addition, when I decided to run to be reelected as a member of the Board last year, the topic of "Mutual Recognition of Social Work Qualifications in the Greater Bay Area" was not yet under discussion. Recently, this issue of "mutual recognition" has been a cause of great confusion for people. My view echoes the words of the Chairperson who stated that given that there are significant differences between the two different registration systems in place, there is no basis for mutual recognition of qualifications.

Ms. Man Yuen-ling

My name is Man Yuen-ling (Connie) and I began working at the Social Welfare Department(SWD) in 1995. Before that, I worked in three different NGOs. I worked in various units including a child care centre, day activity centre cum hostel for the severely mentally handicapped persons, children and juvenile home, group work unit and integrated family service centres. Currently, I am employed at the Licensing Office for Residential Care Homes for the Elderly. From 1999 until 2018, I served as one of the members of the Social Workers Registration Board's Disciplinary Committee.

Throughout my career in social work, I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve people in different age groups, as well as individuals/families in different backgrounds and needs with sincerity and professionalism. With the experience working on the frontline for many years and continuing professional development, I know the situation in each different field, and realize the need of social workers and the difficulties they may face.

I feel honored to have been appointed as a member of the Social Workers Registration Board this term. With the knowledge and practical experience accumulated, I hope to help to promote the professional development of social workers, to monitor their quality, and to safeguard the interests of service users and the public..

Dr. Ng Yut-ming

Earlier, I wrote the following message on my Facebook page: "In our world, so many of us are subject to restrictions and repressions, and I am not without exception. Nevertheless, I will strive to see institutional changes take place, and more importantly, I will carry myself through life with an open heart - this is my promise, now and forever." I wrote these words when I shared an article by Au Ka-lun titled "The Professor Said: We have been waiting for you there, since forever." ( Today, as I introduce myself here for the Social Workers Registration Board, these words still apply!

I won't say too much more here, as I am confident that you all understand my message, and I hope that everyone will continue to put forward their valuable opinions to the Social Workers Registration Board.

Although using Facebook in this era might be considered a bit old fashioned, in a way, I too am old fashioned and thus - I stick to my promises!

Dr. Ting Wai-fong

Hello everyone, I am Ting Wai-fong, also known as Mother Ting. I have been working within our big community of social workers for 40 years already. Although I officially left the position that I had held for 30 years working at the Department of Applied Social Sciences of Hong Kong Polytechnic University where I worked as a frontline social work educator, my commitment to social work has not retreated in the slightest. This year, I am lucky enough to have been elected as a member of the Board alongside a group of young social workers who are equally enthusiastic and devoted to social work. During my term in office, with the Social Workers Registration Board as my platform, I will do everything I possibly can to defend the ethics and dignity of the social work profession in Hong Kong and strive to honour the commitments I have made during the campaign!

Miss. To Shuk-yi

Ms. To Shuk-yi is a registered social worker, she graduated with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Hong Kong, and is currently working as a project manager for employment development services for visually impaired youth at Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired. She is also a member of the Rehabilitation Advisory Committee, a member of the Central Committee on Information Technology for Rehabilitation Services, and a member of the Management Committee of the Arts Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities.

(The above are opinions of individual member whereby the Board takes no responsibility.)


Appointment of New Co-opted Members to the Committees

In order to continue the work carried out by the Board during the last term and to solicit the experiences and opinions of all persons involved, the Board has appointed Dr. Cheng Yuk-tin, Dr. Lam Chiu-wan and Mr. Wong Ka-ming to join the Taskforce on Review of Code of Practice as co-opted members.

The Board has appointed Ms. Lit Ming-wai as member of the Committee on Professional Conduct. Other professional bodies will be invited to nominate their members to join the Committee so that the Committee can learn from other professional bodies in dealing with disciplinary matters.

The nomination details for co-opted members of the Committee on Qualification Assessment and Registration will be announced soon.

Update of Registered Address

Under section 16 of the Social Workers Registration Ordinance, the Board is required to maintain a register containing names of registered social workers, their registered addresses, qualification on which the registration is based and any other details that the Board may direct. The register is available at the Board office for free inspection by the public during office hours.

At present, the Ordinance does not impose restrictions on what would constitute registered address to be provided by an applicant or a registered social worker. Individuals may choose to provide a valid address for public inspection and for the Board to deliver mails. The address does not need to be a residential one. If there is any change to the address, registered social workers should notify the Registrar by email, fax or the online registration system within 3 months of the change.

Using the "Social Worker" title

According to section 34 (1) of the Social Workers Registration Ordinance, any person whose name does not appear on the Register is not entitled to use the title associated with a social worker, whether in combination with any other description or any initials or otherwise, to describe his profession as being the social work profession or his social work professional qualifications.

It is an offence for any person to use a social worker's title without registration or to knowingly permits others' use of the title to indicate that the person is a social worker. Under section 35(h) or (i) of the Ordinance, the Judiciary may impose a maximum fine at level 5, of (HK$50,000). If a person is found to be in breach of the above registration requirements, the Board will consider reporting the case to the police.

We hereby request that each social worker applies for renewal of registration well in advance of the deadline to avoid removal of one's name from the Register. If the title of "social worker" needs to be used, an application for registration should be made immediately.

Work Report

Report on Promotional Work

During the period from October 2018 to March 2019, the Board has visited the following institutions to introduce the duties of the Board to social work students:

Institution Year Number of participants
Gratia Christian College  Year 1/Final Year 45
School of Continuing and Professional Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong  Year 1 50
The University of Hong Kong  Year 1/Final Year 165
Community College of City University  Year 1 55
IVE (Sha Tin)  Year 1/Final Year 115
Hong Kong Shue Yan University  Year 1/Final Year 103
Hong Kong Nang Yan College of Higher Education  Year 1 20
Hong Kong College of Technology  Year 1 80
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University  Year 1/Final Year 97
Total Number of Participants   730
Qualification Assessment of Social Work Qualifications

In March 2019, the Board completed a qualification assessment of the Associate of Social Science in Social Work of the UOW College Hong Kong.

Social Work Day (Hong Kong)

This year's theme of "Peers" has covered a number of activities including the Peer Fun Run, the WHATSAPP Sticker Design Competition, among others.

We welcome social workers to browse the Social Work Day website ( to take a look at the interesting range of activities held on Social Work Day. What's more, Social Work Day (Hong Kong) has also put out a related mobile phone App to promote the activities offered on Social Work Day. Anyone interested can download the App via the following links:


Review of Principles, Criteria and Standands for Recognizing Qualifications in Social Work

Since 2017, the Board has conducted a comprehensive review of the "Principles, Criteria & Standards for Recognizing Qualifications in Social Work for Registration of Registered Social Workers" (15 October 2014). Committee on Qualification Assessment and Registration collated the opinions of various stakeholders, and after more than two years of internal discussions, completed the revised version. From April until June, three consultation sessions will be held in order to further collate opinions of various stakeholders including universities and colleges, registered social workers, employment agencies and social work organisations, social work students and other members of the public. Interested parties may refer to our Board's website ( for our consultation papers and other particulars. We welcome all of those who wish to make suggestions either in writing or in person to do so before 30 June 2019.

Review of Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers

In the last term, the Board set up a Taskforce on Review of Code of Practice. The Task Force was responsible for the comprehensive review of the Code of Practice and put forward proposal of any revisions. The work of reviews and drafting amendments has already entered the last phase, and the consultation part of it would commence this year. We therefore ask that social workers pay close attention to this matter.


(As of 31/3/2019)

Gender distribution of RSWs

Male: 7,026 (30.31%)
Female: 16,152 (69.68%)
Total: 23,178

Qualification of RSWs

Recognized Bachelor Degree: 15,174 (65.46%)
Recognized Diploma/Associate Degree: 7,920 (34.17%)
Others: 84 (0.35%)

Total: 23,178