Members of social worker body may have to take oaths

Labour and Welfare Secretary Law Chi-kwong said on Sunday that the government might amend the law and make it a requirement for members of the Social Workers Registration Board to pledge allegiance to the SAR.

The body is tasked with handling the registration of social workers as well as disciplinary matters.

Writing on his blog, Law said many people have misconceptions about the role and functions of the board, which was established under the Social Worker Registration Ordinance.

“Many people have misunderstood the ordinance, thinking its aim is to protect social workers’ rights. They consider the board as a union,” he wrote.

“In fact, the board was set up according to the law to handle matters in relation to the registration and regulation of social workers… In other words, the board is exercising a kind of ‘public power’ that comes from the ordinance.”

Law said board members, therefore, are considered public officers and can be subject to the oath-taking requirement under the national security law.

The Social Workers Registration Board consists of 15 members, eight of whom are elected among social workers, six appointed by the chief executive, plus the director of social welfare or his or her representative.