9.6 Staff Supervision Policy
This guidance explains the Supervision policy within the Safeguarding and Social Care Division of the Children and Young People's Service. The guidance applies to the supervision of all staff - professional social work staff, business and administrative support staff and non-social work staff.
The main aims of supervision are for all staff members to:
- Be clear about their responsibilities and roles;
- Enable work to be planned and progress monitored;
- Ensure that service objectives are being met;
- Receive support in carrying out their work;
- Ensure that learning and professional development requirements are planned for.
This will enable the management team to:
- Monitor achievement against service, division and council performance targets and objectives;
- Improve standards and performance.
This chapter was updated in January 2013 to reflect the transfer of responsibility for the professional regulation/registration of social workers from the General Social Care Council (GSCC) to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in August 2012.
- Principles of Supervision
- How Supervision should be carried out
- Expectations of Supervisors and Supervisees
- Supervision Agreement
- Frequency of Supervision
- Content of Supervision Sessions
- Case Management Supervision (for Social Work Staff)
- Resolving Differences
The Safeguarding and Social Care Division of Bromley Children and Young People's Service is committed to ensuring staff receive effective supervision. Supervision assists in developing a positive culture in the Division and focuses on continuous improvement and consistent practice helping to improve outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.
Priority will be given to supervision by:
- Providing training to all current and future supervisors. Including an introduction to the Supervision Policy within induction programmes;
- Managing the workload of staff to ensure time is devoted to supervision and associated tasks. Including on every job description expectations that staff will receive supervision and where appropriate to that post, provide supervision;
- Monitoring and reviewing the implementation of this Policy at all levels.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (HM Government, 2010) (now archived) states "effective supervision is important in promoting good standards of practice, and supervisors should be available to practitioners as an important source of advice and expertise".
The final Report of the Social Work Taskforce (2009) also highlights the importance of supervision and has made recommendations for there to be clear national requirements for the supervision of social workers.
Supervision is a formal process in which the workload and performance of each member of staff in a team, section, or unit is evaluated and reviewed so that where necessary learning and change can take place.
Supervision is an important vehicle for meeting standards in the Division and achieving the Division's goals.
All staff without exception need regular formal supervision, normally by their Line Manager or designated officer to enable them to:
- Be clear about their role, responsibilities and accountabilities;
- Understand and achieve aims and objectives;
- Be helped and supported in maximising their potential;
- Be clear about communication channels which allow for constructive two way feedback.
Formal supervision does not replace the informal supervision that takes place on the job on a day to day basis.
Formal supervision complements participation in the Council's Appraisal Scheme. All staff are required to participate in the Performance and Development Scheme (PADS) (more information is available on OneBromley).
In special circumstances supervision with someone other than the Line Manager may need to take place e.g. where specialist knowledge or experience is required, or in multi agency settings. In these circumstances supervision will take place with a designated officer of an appropriate discipline - as agreed with the Line Manager.
Supervision is a private but not a confidential process. This means that the records are the property of the organisation, not the individual. Where there is an explicit issue that needs to remain confidential this must be agreed between supervisor and supervisee.
Supervision is not a forum for dealing with disciplinary matters, although concerns about work, personal competence or conduct will be raised in supervision. Where it is anticipated that a more formal resolution is needed, the matter should be dealt with outside the supervision forum via the usual personnel procedures.
Areas of disagreement between supervisor and supervisee will be recorded on the supervision records. Areas of disagreement that cannot be resolved may be referred to a more senior manager.
It is recognised that, in addition to individual supervision sessions, there are other ways in which staff discuss and seek advice on their work and new ideas and methods of working including group supervision. These are valuable and helpful ways in which staff can broaden their knowledge and expertise, however they must never be a substitute for formal individual supervision sessions.
Supervision will be conducted in a way that:
- Recognises people are individuals, the unique experience that they bring to their work and the impact their work has on them, particularly in respect of age, race, religion, gender, disability and sexual orientation;
- Allows for two way appraisal and monitoring of performance;
- Clarifies accountability and areas of responsibility.
Supervision is an important right and benefit. It is therefore important for the supervisee to be fully involved and make the most of the opportunities that supervision offers. In particular they should:
- Prepare for each supervision meeting;
- Be ready to share thoughts and ideas in the meeting;
- Be open about what has gone well and what has been difficult;
- Check and read the notes of meetings and ensure actions have been completed as agreed from previous supervision sessions.
Being a supervisor is a significant responsibility and one which needs to be taken seriously. Supervisors should:
- Provide supervision that is based on a written agreement;
- Plan sessions well in advance;
- Provide an appropriate setting, free from interruptions;
- Keep a record of supervision sessions for their staff;
- Record Case Management Supervision on Carefirst (for social work staff).
A supervision agreement will be agreed between supervisor and supervisee committing them both to the practice and process of supervision. This agreement should be recorded on the template provided. The Supervision Agreement should be reviewed annually.
This will include:
- Duration (minimum 1.5 hours for practitioners) and Location of sessions (ensure privacy);
- Record keeping (i.e. record of supervision to made and signed by supervisor and supervisee and accessible to both; Record Case Management for cases discussed completed by supervisor on CareFirst);
- Content (Supervision will cover: Line Management & Support; Professional Supervision; and Learning & Development);
- Confidentiality and Disagreements.
The details contained in this Policy relate to minimum expectations for all staff in the Division. Further details for particular staff groups will need to be included in the Agreement.
The minimum frequency of formal supervision is detailed in the table below. It is also expected that informal supervision will happen when needed. The actual frequency of supervision for individuals should be agreed between the supervisor and supervisee when negotiating the terms of the Supervision Agreement.
Part time staff should receive supervision on a pro-rata basis.
|Newly qualified social work staff||
Weekly for the first six weeks
Then every 2 weeks during the first year
|Social Workers after first year of service||Every 3
- 4 weeks depending on need and complexity of work
|Senior Practitioners||Every 3
- 4 weeks depending on needs and level of experience
|Managers (Group Managers and Deputy Managers)||Every 3
- 4 weeks depending on needs and level of experience
|Service Managers||Every 4 weeks|
|Admin/ Other Staff||Every 3
- 6 weeks depending on needs and level of experience
The first five minutes of each supervision session should be spent confirming the agenda for the session. The following is a guide (not an exhaustive checklist) to the key areas which should be addressed in supervision:
Line Management and Support
- Workload management;
- Performance appraisal;
- Passing on relevant information;
- Stress awareness and stress management;
- Debriefing on significant events;
- Opportunity to discuss feelings;
- Identifying personal support needs;
- Annual Leave & Sickness.
Professional (or case) Supervision
- Help and support in current urgent business;
- Reflecting on work;
- Ensuring work is carried out to the required standard;
- Ensuring Divisional policies and procedures are being followed and understood;
- Evaluating the impact of actions and decisions;
- Reviewing achievements and setting goals.
For social work staff, this will also include Case Management Supervision (see Section 8 below)
Continuing Professional Development
- Highlighting areas in need of development in respect of current work or planned future work;
- Identifying development and training opportunities which will meet these needs;
- For newly-qualified social workers, conform to standards set out in the NQSW programme;
- For registered social workers, review training progress against the post-registration requirements set out by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
For Social work staff, a core part of supervision will cover case management. This will involve discussing individual cases and reviewing case files. This will include ensuring that case file recording is up to date and that requirements for inputting records on CareFirst are compliant with the Divisional procedures.
The Case Supervision Record on Carefirst should be used for Managers/ Supervisors to write up case specific supervision notes. The form is completed by the Manager/ Supervisor and stays as a record in the client's assessment history. It is expected that individual casework supervision is recorded on individual case files. Notes should contain a clear synopsis of recent involvement together with detailed further instructions or tasks to be undertaken.
Records of non case-work supervision discussions should be recorded on a 'Supervision Record Sheet', completed by the Supervisor, and signed by both parties. A copy should be retained by both the supervisor and the supervisee.
Each supervisor will keep a 'Supervision File' of supervision records to be maintained throughout an employee's career. These must be kept in a secure place.
Case Management Supervision Recording
Case work supervision notes should be recorded on CareFirst. Notes should contain a clear synopsis of recent involvement together with detailed further instructions or tasks to be undertaken.
The supervisor should complete the Case Supervision Record Form on Carefirst to write up case specific supervision notes. The form can be accessed via the Find Assessment screen. Once completed the form stays as a record in the clients assessment history. The supervisor can then alert the social worker to the completion of the Case Supervision record via the 'Alert Social Worker' question at the end of the form.
When conflict arises between supervisor and supervisee which cannot be resolved, the supervisor should raise the matter of concern with their Line Manager within a time scale agreed with the supervisee. Similarly if individuals do not receive supervision they must discuss this with their Line Manager. If the situation remains unresolved and/or they are 'refused' supervision, they should refer this to a more senior Manager.
The quality and effectiveness of casework supervision and supervision practice will be monitored through regular audits and inspections by senior managers and other staff involved in quality assurance.