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Social Worker

Forensic Step Down

Wakari Hospital


  • Permanent, part-time 0.5 FTE

About the Southern DHB

Southern District Health Board (Southern DHB) exists to support everyone across our district to live well, and access the right care when they need it, by delivering high quality, patient-centred and equitable health services to our diverse communities.

We are responsible for planning, funding and providing health and disability services to a population of over 315,000 located South of the Waitaki River. Our catchment area encompasses Invercargill City, Queenstown - Lakes District, Gore, rural Southland, Clutha, Central Otago, Maniototo, Waitaki District and Dunedin City. This means Southern DHB serves the largest geographic region of all New Zealand's health boards.

About the team

The core role of the Southern Regional Forensic Psychiatric Service (SRFPS) is to provide assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for consumers/tangata whaiora who have committed serious crimes in the context of mental illness. The SRFPS provides forensic mental health input across Otago and Southland and includes a 13-bed medium secure inpatient ward in Dunedin, forensic community teams and regional prison and court liaison services. A forensic community step-down adult transition service is being established in Dunedin with a new clinical multidisciplinary team. This is an exciting opportunity to develop a service from the 'ground up'.

About the role - what's in it for me?

The forensic step-down community transition service is an exciting new partnership between the SRFPS and an NGO provider to support forensic consumers / tangata whaiora to return to the community. Specific community supported accommodation is being established for this purpose. A dedicated multidisciplinary team (medical, nursing, psychological and other allied health) is being established to support the client group and NGO provider.

The objective of the forensic step-down service is to provide recovery focussed and culturally appropriate community care and support. The core population will be special patients who are ready to move to the community and require support in an environment with some structure and supervision. The consumers / tangata whaiora will however no longer require the secure environment that a forensic inpatient service provides. Consumers / tangata whaiora referred to this service will have had extensive multidisciplinary care and treatment and the anticipated timeframe for consumers / tangata whaiora within the forensic step-down beds is one to two years.

About you

In this position you will be based in the community and a key member of the forensic step-down team. We are looking for an enthusiastic Social Worker with previous experience of working in the mental health sector. You will have well developed and proven skills in working with consumers / tangata whaiora to maintain and improve their mental health and independence in the community. You will require good time management skills to enable your assessment, planning, and delivery of effective social work interventions for consumers / tangata whaiora. You will have a passion for supporting people with mental illness and want to contribute actively to the multidisciplinary team. You will take pride in sharing care between hospital and NGO services by participating in joint meetings between the two teams.

The successful candidate will want to be involved in service development and education of peers and community providers on relevant clinical and risk management issues.

Previous experience with court processes and violence risk assessment and treatment would be beneficial although ongoing training and education will be given to the successful candidate on forensic-specific issues.

We provide a thorough orientation to the role and will support your ongoing professional development needs, including supporting future post-graduate forensic mental health study.

To be considered for this role you must be a Registered Social Worker with the Social Worker Registration Board of New Zealand, hold a current practising certificate and a full New Zealand driver's licence.

View position description

Closing date: Sunday, 7 November 2021.

For further information please contact Caroline, Recruitment Advisor -Mental Health, Addictions and Intellectual Disability Directorate : phone (03) 214 5769 or email

Pre-employment checks

In the interests of protecting our people and our patients, all appointments will be subject to the following:

  • Occupational health assessment
  • Police vetting / Ministry of Justice safety checks
  • Serious misconduct checks (previous public service departments and statutory Crown entities only)

Covid vaccination requirements

  • Covid Following the update to COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021, to be employed with Southern DHB you will be required to be fully vaccinated as a health care worker. If you have already been fully vaccinated you will need to provide proof of this to Occupational Health staff. If you are not yet fully vaccinated you must make arrangements to undertake your first vaccination no later than the 30 October 2021 and be fully vaccinated, as required by the Order, by 1 December 2021.