SCIE press release

Supervision in social care – new resources from SCIE

23 May 2013

Because of the training that I’ve had, as a frontline leader, I’ve learnt about coaching, one-to-one supervision and informal supervision. It’s helped me to understand people, and how they learn in different ways. It’s helped me to find new ways to speak to staff.

Kafilat Oyeniyi-Raimi, supervisor, Rubens House, Jewish Care, London

Supervision is a vital skill to get right in social care and support services; the nature of the work can be emotionally-charged and this can place particular demands on staff. Supporting them is vital.

A new Online Guide and two new Social Care TV films are launched today by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). SCIE says that supervision works best when it occurs regularly, is based on a respectful relationship and is embedded in an organisation's culture. SCIE also says that good supervision can improve people’s quality of life, and that training is important to support good supervisors.

SCIE’s Chief Executive, Andrea Sutcliffe, says:

Care staff play a vital role in supporting people who are using services, many of whom are vulnerable and have complex needs. We need to value and support staff so that they can be proud of the job they do and have the skills to help people enjoy an improved quality of life. A really important way to do this is to provide staff with effective supervision to develop their understanding and improve their practice. Our new resources are designed to help make that happen. The films show real-life examples of where good quality supervision is happening; the Guide is a useful resource for anyone who supervises, or who receives supervision.

Social Care TV – two films

The first film shows how the effective supervision of staff can improve the quality of care and outcomes for a range of people. For instance, Michael, who is autistic, lives in a supported living setting in Margate in Kent. John is one of his regular support workers and they have a good relationship; John is supported, through supervision, to help Michael to do things for himself. The film shows a typical session of supervision; John’s job is a responsible and important one. It shows how supervision needs to move away from a model which tells staff how to do their job. Supervisors also need to be trained on how to achieve this.

The second film shows how staff development can be enhanced through supervision, looking at care homes in London (Jewish Care) and Wigan (CLS). In London, care worker Tracey is seen in her supervision session with supervisor Kafilat. The film looks at how care staff need to act with warmth, kindness, dignity and respect. The home’s manager, Paul Roche, says that these issues must always be addressed, either informally or formally, in supervision. A while ago, providers CLS felt that supervision was becoming outdated, a “chore” and even intimidating for staff. So, in the Wigan example, all supervisions now start with a practical coaching element, for instance, dispensing medication. This “icebreaker” helps to make supervision more engaging and provides a starting point for discussion.

Online Guide

The new Guide has a wide audience, from supervisors to trainers, through to people who employ their own supporters/personal assistants. It includes: recommendations for a range of different groups of care staff; information on how people who use services can contribute to supervision; and practical help and guidance to help supervision. Supervisors need good training so that they can perform their role well and provide care staff with job satisfaction. It means that care staff are more likely to happily stay in their jobs. SCIE says that care staff value emotional support, plus support over performing their tasks and also the opportunity to reflect on practice. Supervisors should consider how this involvement can be empowering, non-threatening and emotionally “safe” for people.


Media contact

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