Effective supervision in a variety of settings
Putting effective supervision into practice: Strategic and operational leaders
Leading the development and maintenance of effective supervision within your organisation may require you to consider how this can best be done. As stated at the beginning of this guide all sections are relevant to you, starting with the recommendations.
You will need to be clear about what you understand supervision to be (its definition) and about the types of one-to-one supervision (clinical, professional, managerial and any other you wish to be used in your organisation). You should consider what you already have in place and whether it is fit for purpose. You should listen to what staff feel they need in relation to their role and their practice and you may like to consider how you can engage the people who use your service and informal carers in the process. You will need to be clear that everyone understands the purpose and intent of supervision.
You should also consider the benefits of good supervision. These include improvements in:
- the quality and effectiveness of practice (for workers and eventually people who use services)
- quality of life and wellbeing
- service delivery
- the quality of care and support
- recruitment and retention
- organisational functioning
- the reputation of the organisation.
Watch what two organisations have to say about the benefits of supervision (Video on You Tube).
It should be stressed that more focused research into practice may be required to pinpoint which aspects of supervision are likely to deliver specific benefits within a given setting.
Organisational commitment to cost-benefit analysis (measureable benefits in relation to aggregated costs) may have the advantage of clarifying for you and your organisation where resources should be committed.
For organisations that employ social workers in England, you should be familiar with the Social worker employer standards and supervision framework. The Local Government Association (LGA) has responsibility for this.
Supervision and the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)
From the point of view of employers of social workers it is worth considering this issue.
Supervision plays a critical part in the development (and possible retention) of social workers, with particular reference to those at the beginning of their careers. Some of the key functions of supervision overlap with the functions of assessment in the ASYE. It will be important to be clear about this and to consider what the evaluation of these programmes can tell us. Consider the following questions.
- Is it good practice for the supervisor, assessor and line management role to be concentrated in one person?
- Do managers, supervisors and assessors have the appropriate qualities, skills and knowledge?
- How are assessments standardised?
- How are supervision records maintained?
- How are they used as evidence of practice?
- How will they be considered through service inspection?
Supervision and induction
It is good practice for those joining a service to be prepared for the work they will be doing. Induction standards systematically set out all the things that a worker should know to enable them to do their job safely and effectively. In England, the expectation is that social care workers in adult services will meet the Common Induction Standards (CIS). Supervision is one place where workers and supervisors can discuss practice in relation to the eight areas of induction. The manager is responsible for ‘signing off’ common induction and even if they do not directly supervise a worker, evidence of achieving the outcomes related to the eight areas of induction may be in the supervision records.
Commissioners should consider the resource implications required to develop and maintain effective supervision. You could look at the sections on cost and cost-benefit analysis as well as the recommendations in relation to PAs and people who use services. You may wish to consider the benefits of good supervision and how this might affect the people for whom you are commissioning services.
People who are self-funding
You may wish to check the processes in place to support good supervision as an indicator of the quality of service for which you will be paying.
All SCIE resources are free to download, however to access the following downloads you will need a free MySCIE account:
- 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