Effective supervision in a variety of settings

Putting effective supervision into practice: Sector expectations regarding supervision

It is important to recognise that each of the four countries in the UK has distinct standards in relation to supervision and it will be important for you to check with the individual care council where you are working. The reason the standards are framed differently in each country is due to the different legislative framework each has in place. These in turn reflect the different circumstances each country sees itself faced with. The underlying principle in relation to supervision, however, is that it is seen as a process in which you, the individual worker, take an active part and has ownership of. Its purpose, as noted earlier, is for workers to maximise their practice and in turn provide the best outcomes for people who use services.

For those who have to deliver or receive induction, Common Induction Standards (Skills for Care) say that workers should be aware of sources of support available and a suggested source of support is supervision.

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

There are a number of national occupational standards in relation to selected roles.

For Managers

The difference between these standards and the Leadership Qualities Framework is that the Framework captures the qualities of good leaders in their broadest sense. The standards state what leaders and managers ought to be able to do.

For managers who are undertaking, or wish to remind themselves of the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management, the units of study that relate to supervision are: Develop professional supervision practice in health and social care or children and young people’s work settings(LM2 c ) and Understanding Professional supervision (LM2a). A copy of these can be found on the Skills for Care website.

Social workers (England)

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) regulates the social work profession. The Standards of proficiency state that social workers should:

The College of Social Work (TCSW) in England is a membership body offering leadership to the profession. The Professional capabilities framework locates supervision under the domain of ‘professionalism’ and states that workers should ‘Demonstrate an effective and active use of supervision for accountability, professional reflection and development’.

The difference between these ‘standards’ and ‘capabilities’ is that the standards refer to a recognised level of what you should be able to do in relation to a role. They are therefore external and measurable. Capabilities are broader and refer to qualities as well as skills – abilities and knowledge internal to a person that you may wish to make external and measure using standards.

Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland

National Occupational Standards relating to supervision apply to social work and social care. However, you are advised to consult the individual care council for that country. Three useful links are:

Social workers in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland may find the following document useful: Develop social work practice through supervision and reflection.


All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access the following downloads you will need a free MySCIE account:

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