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1.1.6 Supervision Policy

Sound professional judgments made by social workers are needed to ensure children are protected from harm. Social work is demanding and can be stressful and distressing.

To ensure the required sound professional judgments are made effective, the provision of high quality supervision is important.


This chapter was reviewed and amended in January 2018 when clarification was added to Section 2, Frequency of Supervision, emphasising that in all cases monthly supervision should be the norm and only rarely should a case be reviewed less frequently. If it is agreed a case needs less frequent management oversight the reasons for this must be clearly set out in the case record.


  1. Definition of Supervision
  2. Frequency of Supervision
  3. Content of Supervision
  4. Responsibilities (Supervision Checklist)

1. Definition of Supervision

Supervision is an accountable process integral to the functioning of Children’s Social Care which supports, assures and develops the knowledge, skills and values of an individual, group or team. The overall purpose is to improve the quality of practice to achieve agreed objectives and outcomes.

Supervision should:

  1. Improve the quality of decision making and interventions;
  2. Enable effective line management and organisational accountability;
  3. Identify and address issues related to caseloads and workload management;
  4. Help to identify and achieve personal learning, career and development opportunities;
  5. Be an opportunity for the supervisor and social worker to reflect on and evaluate the work planned or carried out;
  6. Be an opportunity for the supervisor to scrutinise the content and quality of the work planned or carried out;
  7. Be an opportunity for the supervisor and the social worker to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the practitioner;
  8. Include the provision of coaching, development and pastoral support;
  9. Include the provision of independent and objective advice and expertise;
  10. Be an opportunity for the endorsement of the social worker’s judgement at certain key points in the process of a case;
  11. Be a record of key decisions within the child’s case records.

Reflective Practice:

Reflective practice is a key element of effective social work. Supervision should challenge practitioners to reflect critically on their cases and should foster an inquisitive approach to social work.


  • Provides a safe environment for critical reflection, challenge and professional support that operates alongside an organisation’s appraisal process;
  • Includes time for reflection on practice issues that arise in the course of everyday work;
  • Helps social workers and their managers to do their jobs more effectively;
  • Enables social workers to develop their capacity to use their experiences to review practice, receive feedback on their performance, build emotional resilience and think reflectively about the relationships they have formed with children, adults and families.

Purpose of effective supervision:

The overall purpose of supervision is to improve the quality of practice to achieve agreed objectives and outcomes.

Supervision is important because it:

  • Ensures that practitioners fully understand their roles, responsibilities and the scope of their professional discretion and authority;
  • Ensures that the key social work processes (assessment, planning, intervention and reviewing) are being carried out consistently and in accordance with regulations, statutory guidance, Local Safeguarding Boards and organisational procedures;
  • Promotes good standards of practice and ensures that practice is soundly based;
  • Provides support and guidance to individual staff members;
  • Promotes the retention of good quality staff;
  • Ensures accountability of individual staff members; and
  • Helps identify the training and development needs of practitioners, so that each has the skills to provide an effective service.

2. Frequency of Supervision

All staff will have regular formal supervision, supplemented by ad hoc (formal and informal) supervision as the need arises.

Formal supervision sessions will take place for all newly qualified staff and staff new to the department every two weeks for the first three months as a minimum.

All other staff will receive formal supervision at least every four weeks. This is a minimum and from time to time more frequent sessions may be needed. The reason for any delay will be noted on the supervision file.

Please note the expectation that supervision, as a norm, will take place on all open cases on a monthly basis. There will be cases in some teams where this would be felt to be onerous or unnecessary but these exemptions should be the exception rather than the norm and there will need to be a management note added to the child’s record and each of the supervision records identifying why monthly supervision is not felt to be necessary.

Monthly supervision for all children is best practice. We want to ensure that we avoid drift in planning and decision making for children and families and enable managers to formally record their oversight and tracking of all live cases. This policy formalises what is an essential component of our service delivery and a key management footprint within the child’s journey.

3. Content of Supervision

Effective supervision and support will generally cover four broad areas:

Content of supervision

The format of the session should generally comprise four broad stages:

Effective supervision

  1. Recap of previous discussion and agreed action points:
    1. Confirm agreed action;
    2. Summarise discussion.
  2. Information seeking:
    1. Ask for update;
    2. Confirm who was involved;
    3. Ask open questions;
    4. Use summaries to check understanding.
  3. Problem solving:
    1. Identify problem areas;
    2. Ask for ideas how to resolve problems;
    3. Develop alternatives;
    4. Assess consequences.
  4. Summary and follow-up;
    1. Agree action points for both parties;
    2. Agree review arrangements;
    3. Complete support and supervision record;
    4. Copy to the individual.

4. Responsibilities (Supervision Checklist)

To ensure that the required standard of supervision is upheld the following tasks will need to be completed within the prescribed timescales.

Task Responsible Officer Required Record Performance Standard
Ensure a Supervision Agreement is in place Supervisor Supervision Agreement on Personal Supervision File Reviewed with PADR’s every 6 months
The content of formal supervision sessions will be recorded on the supervised record, agreed by supervisor and supervisee Supervisor Supervision Record on RAISE
Copy on personal file
To be recorded on RAISE within 2 Working Days
Decisions related to work being undertaken with a child will be recorded on the child’s file Supervisor Supervision Record on RAISE To be recorded on RAISE within 2 Working Days
Ad hoc (informal) supervision discussions relating to a child will be recorded on the child’s file Supervisee Management Decision on RAISE To be recorded on RAISE within 2 Working Days
Each child must be discussed within formal supervision at least every three months
This may be more frequent dependent on the complexity of the child’s needs
Supervisor & Supervisee Supervision Record on RAISE Frequency of discussion at supervision must be recorded on supervision record
Keep a separate supervision folder for each worker Supervisor Personal Supervision Folder The supervision records will be maintained separately in a ring binder for each worker
The worker’s personal supervision folder has to contain:
Supervision Agreement Supervisor/ Supervisee Personal Supervision Folder A signed and up to date copy of the supervision agreement. To be reviewed at least annually
Print out of the current caseload Updated for each supervision
A copy of each service user supervision record sheets in alphabetical order
For each service user copies of most recent plan (CP, Care Plan, CIN Plan)
Section for personal issues Supervisor Personal Supervision needs to take place monthly
Training Profile Supervisor Training attended should be reviewed on E1st. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to record any training on E1st
Copy of the last PADR Supervisor To be updated every 6 months

Copies of:

  • Qualification Certificate;
  • HCPC Registration Number;
  • Driving License;
  • Car Insurance Documents;
  • MOT Certificates.
Supervisor Annual updates