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.

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.

Social workers may wish to consider the Knowledge and Skills Statement for Social Workers in Adult Services (DH, 2015) which says:

8. Supervision, critical reflection and analysis
Social workers must have access to regular, good quality supervision and understand its importance in providing advice and support. They should know how and when to seek advice from a range of sources including named supervisors, senior social workers and other professionals.

Or Knowledge and skills for child and family social work (DfE, 2014)

10. The role of supervision and research Recognise own professional limitations and how and when to seek advice from a range of sources, including named supervisors, senior social workers and other clinical practitioners from a range of disciplines such as psychiatry, paediatrics and psychology; demonstrate effective use of opportunities to discuss, debate, reflect upon and test hypotheses about what is happening within families, for children; and how to resolve tensions emerging from, for example, ethical dilemmas or conflicting information or differing professional positions.

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 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 framework can be found on the website of the British Association of Social Workers.

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:

Downloads

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