SCIE press release

Effective supervision in social work and social care

23 November 2012

Working in health and social care can place particular demands on the workforce, because of the emotionally-charged nature of the work. Therefore, it is important to provide opportunities for effective supervision. Through regular, structured meetings with a supervisor, care staff can develop their understanding and improve their practice.

A Research Briefing, published today by the Social Care Institute for Excellence, points to the critical role that good supervision plays. Good supervision involves regular time set aside for discussions, a good supervisory relationship, focus on the service user and help with working tasks. Social work and social care practice is relationship-based and, at times, emotionally complex. Workers at all levels need support and recognition.

SCIE's Workforce Director, Stephen Goulder, says:

People who use services deserve the best possible workforce supporting them. Good supervision is linked to quality of practice. Care staff who receive good quality supervision are more likely to be able to perform their roles effectively. Workers need to be skilful, knowledgeable and clear about their roles. They need to be assisted in their practice by sound advice and emotional support, from a supervisor with whom they have a good professional relationship.

Supervisors are often managers; this makes their role pivotal, and the manager needs to demonstrate positive leadership behaviours, sometimes via supervision in order to engage and keep staff at such a critical time. SCIE say that good supervisors are linked to positive leadership behaviour.

Key messages include:

While the focus is on social work and social care, some of the research reviewed includes staff from other professions such as nursing and psychology.

The Research Briefing was prepared for SCIE by Professor John Carpenter and Caroline Webb, Bristol University, and Dr Lisa Bostock and Caroline Coomber, SCIE.


Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: