1.3 Supervision Guidance

Supervision is integral to the delivery of good social work. It is not a practice audit.

In its final report the Social Work Task Force recognised that supervision is 'an integral element of social work practice not an add-on' and recommended the establishment of national standards for employers including 'requirements governing supervision' (Building a Safe Confident Future (2009) Final Report of the Social Work Task).

Quality of supervision has a direct impact on the quality of practice. It is one of the single most effective tools to ensure there is effective oversight and review which has a positive impact on the delivery of the service and ultimately improves the outcomes for children.

All practitioners must receive supervision at least once a month; some workers, at different stages of their careers may receive supervision more frequently.

Identifying cases for more in depth, reflective supervision which uses critical thinking to explore the child's situation is a mutual process; managers should be using their review and overview of activity within cases to identify those cases - children and young people, foster carers and adopters - whom they wish to discuss in supervision with the child's worker; social workers should be identifying cases they wish to spend time reflecting with their manager on the child's current situation.

Managers must ensure that supervision is reflective and should consider using one of the tools of reflective supervision to structure and support this activity. The tools are available on the Walsall Intranet.

This guidance establishes the minimum frequency that a case should be discussed in supervision. A change in a child's circumstances, an increase is risk or challenges within a placement may mean that a child is discussed far more frequently and both managers and workers are expected to use their professional judgement to ensure that children in these circumstances are considered in supervision as frequently as their circumstances demand.

In ensuring quality practice for all children it is important that all cases held by the worker are discussed in supervision over a 6 month period. Within this and as a minimum:

  • Child Protection Plans must be discussed every 2 months;
  • Children and young people in stable long term placements must be discussed every 3 months;
  • Child in Need Cases must be discussed every 3 months.

In Family Placements children it is important that all cases held by the worker are discussed in supervision over a 6 month period. Within this and as a minimum the following should be discussed on a monthly basis:

  • changes in approval status, including variations;
  • incidents, allegations, complaints and concerns must be discussed at the next worker supervision session and followed up at subsequent sessions until the matter reaches resolution;
  • any requests from carers for respite;
  • changes in membership of the household - arrivals and departures;
  • significant financial requests;
  • changes of care plan for the child in placement'
  • any other significant changes in circumstances for the carer.

In Residential Services all staff and volunteers will receive formal supervision at least monthly. Every child resident in the home will be discussed at each session. A change in a child's circumstances, an increase is risk or challenges within a placement may mean that a child is discussed far more frequently and both managers and workers are expected to use their professional judgement to ensure that children in these circumstances are considered in supervision as frequently as their circumstances demand.

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