Effective supervision in a variety of settings

The context for effective supervision: Establishing frequency and method

It should be noted that by ‘frequency’ we are referring to how often supervision occurs and by ‘method’ we are referring to how supervision is delivered.

Over the years, a range of standards have been set in relation to the frequency of supervision. For example, according to the service standards established under the Care Standards Act 2000, monthly to quarterly one-to-one supervision is a requirement.

For some professions and in some settings external regulation may set the standards for the frequency of supervision. For example, within social work there are now clear standards for the supervision of newly-qualified workers and other service outcomes against which services are inspected.

Whichever external regulation is in place, supervision should happen regularly and consistently. Practice suggests that anything less than every two months ceases to be ‘regular’. The guide to effective supervision produced by Skills for Care/CWDC [17] suggests that frequency should depend on:

Very experienced staff working with highly complex cases might therefore need supervision more frequently than less experienced colleagues working with less complexity.

Good practice is reflected in the fact that the dates and length of sessions are pre-agreed well ahead of time. This establishes good habits and, if promoted by the supervision policy, also establishes clearly that supervision is a priority task within the setting.


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Available downloads:

  • Effective supervision in a variety of settings
  • Service user and carer involvement in the supervision of health and social care workers: seminar report
  • Practice enquiry into supervision in a variety of adult care settings where there are health and social care practitioners working together
  • Narrative summary of the evidence review on supervision of social workers and social care workers in a range of settings including integrated settings