Managing practice

SCIE Guide 1

Published January 2003

Updated December 2012

About this guide

Since this Guide was produced, first-line manager expertise in developing and sustaining performance through supervision has continued to be of considerable importance in social work and social care. Most recently, the Social Work Reform Board has developed the Professional Capabilities Framework. This sets out capabilities at all stages of a social work career, and has a strong emphasis on how to use and deliver supervision. Managing Practice provides ‘how to’ material for line managers in their important role supporting effective practice.


First-line managers are the keystone of any social services organisation: their quality and competence make a significant difference to its performance. Managers must often manage teams of people who are working with people who have complex problems and at a time when they are experiencing, or trying to produce major changes in their lives.

It requires a range of different skills and competencies both in managing staff and in ensuring information flow throughout the organisation.


This guide provides information and knowledge to support critical thinking and methods so that first line managers can apply, adapt and develop the material to their own particular work environment, current priorities and as an aid to their own continuing professional development. It covers a range of topics that are listed in the left hand menu.


This guide is designed for first-line managers within social care provider organisations.

Using this guide

The SCIE website is divided into three columns: the left, middle and right columns. The topics that are covered in this guide are listed in the left hand column. Click on these to access the topics.

Within each topic there are several pages of information, which you can skip to using the navigation in the middle column. All of the links are in blue. The right hand column also has links in the lozenges, either to a PDF of the guide so that you can print it out or to other relevant information. The links may also repeat those listed in the middle column just so you don't miss anything!

Your feedback

SCIE welcomes comments on any aspect of the guide, which will inform future updates. We are also very interested in collecting examples of good practice. Please send us your feedback.


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

Available downloads:

  • Managing practice