The Munro Review of Child Protection, Final Report, A Child - Centred System. (Professor Eileen Munro, 2011) at 6.11
"Analytic skills can be enhanced by formal teaching and reading. Intuitive skills are essentially derived from experience. Experience on its own, however, is not enough. It needs to be allied to reflection - time and attention given to mulling over the experience and learning from it. This is often best achieved in conversation with others, in supervision, for example, or in discussions with colleagues.
Michael Oakeshott draws attention to the limitations of a 'crowded' life where people are continually occupied and engaged but have no time to stand back and think 122. A working life given over to distracted involvement does not allow for the integration of experience." 122 Oakeshott, M. (1989), The Voice of Liberal Learning, pp33, New Haven, Yale University Press.
This policy will provide a framework for the one-to-one supervision of Social Work staff working for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council in Children's Social Care services. This includes staff working in settings such as Social Work Teams, Independent Reviewing Officers and Child Protection Co-ordinators, whether on a temporary (including agency staff), permanent, full-time or part-time basis.This policy sets out how those staff can expect to be supervised and provides Managers with the key elements needed to supervise staff effectively.
Supervision is a regular one-to-one meeting between the Supervisor (e.g. Line Manager) and Supervisee in order to meet organisational, professional and personal objectives. Supervision forms a key part of individual performance management. It underpins the Induction Programme (for newly appointed workers) and is the foundation on which appraisal is built."Supervision is a relationship between the Manager and the worker that allows the Manager to motivate, empower, inspire, elicit information and manage risk. It gives the worker the opportunity to receive support, direction, reflection, plan work and achieve positive outcomes" - definition of supervision developed by RMBC Team Managers 2012.
The aims are to ensure staff know what is expected of them by:
On first appointment, and at any subsequent change of Line Manager, an Individual Supervision Agreement should be written and signed by both parties. This document will ensure that the worker has read and understood the related Supervision, Induction and PDR policies and guidelines and will set out the mutual expectations, roles, rights and responsibilities of the supervision relationship, including confidentiality and access to the records. Line Managers will ensure that formal supervision takes place for all staff for whom they have managerial responsibility.
At the beginning of a supervisory relationship, the supervisee will complete a supervision history. This will be the basis of a discussion with the new supervisor as a means of reflecting and gaining insight which will assist in the development of the supervisory relationship.
The Individual Supervision Agreement should be reviewed by the supervisor and the supervisee at least annually, as part of the PDR process.
Supervision must be conducted in accordance with this policy and guidance.
Managers will prepare prior to each supervision session and will ensure that issues to be discussed are included in the agenda. To assist with case management this will include use of the Portal / Liquid Logic (LCS) to evaluate the case file and specifically the last recorded visit.
Line managers will need to consider the four functions of supervision (Harris 1987 cited In Morrison 2005):
Good practice is promoted by ensuring that all children are considered regularly and at a frequency which ensures that the Social Work Service remains appropriate, focused and purposeful and that drift is avoided. Positive and achievable outcomes are at the core of all case planning and subsequent case management, and the child's journey must be apparent and evidenced at all points of their receiving a service.
Case Management and supervision are achieved in a number of ways.
It includes ad hoc discussions. It is normal to expect that there may be discussions and decisions being made, outside of formal supervision sessions, about casework issues, problems arising, progress being made and next steps.
Other activities, such as reviews, Team Manager/Service Manager audits, consultation/supervision between the Team Manager and Service Manager also play a role in case management.Even when supervisees and supervisors work closely together, it does not eliminate the need for private one-to-one time together on a regular basis.
In RMBC, services to children are delivered by teams with specific specialist function. This determines the nature of caseloads and will affect how frequently children are discussed in supervision. Managers will need to exercise professional judgement in determining when children are discussed but ensuring this is regular, timely, and takes into account the area of specialism, types of caseload, risk to the child and risks to worker.
Team Managers will ensure that all children are considered in formal supervision as frequently as is appropriate, taking into account the other ways that the case has been considered and level of risk to child or worker. Team Managers will be mindful of the possibility of drift and avoidance of reflective discussion.
A timescale for cases to be discussed can mitigate against this but this could be over prescriptive and does not promote the exercise of professional judgement by Managers.
Precedence will need to be given to regular planned discussions of children subject to a child protection investigation/plan, the subject of Court proceedings, Looked After Children in non-permanence placements or recently placed. However, all children should be discussed over a three month period.
Each supervision session will include at least one in depth reflective supervision of one case.
All children should be considered in formal supervision during the first month of allocation.At each formal supervision, if the child is not being discussed, the Manager will record a decision as to when the child will next be discussed in formal supervision.
The minimum frequency of formal supervision for:
Newly Qualified Social Workers in their Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE) must receive reflective supervision:
For all others:
It is the responsibility of employees to attend supervision sessions with their Line Manager. They should use these sessions positively to discuss their work and development and to implement agreed actions following supervision.It is the employee's responsibility to prepare prior to each supervision session and bring a list of issues for the agenda in order to promote the two-way discussion.
This record will include the reflective discussions with the worker about the impact on them of the work they are undertaking, their values and attitudes and any effect this may have on their practice. Regular effective supervision is a factor in promoting well-being and resilience in social workers.
This record will also include any discussions about training and development, leave, personal issues etc.This record will not be included on the child's case file.
This will be completed for inclusion on the child's case record. This will be a summary of the discussion and the decisions and action points arising. Any Health and Safety risks to staff, as discussed, will be noted along with agreed actions.
Integral to the case discussion is consideration of the child's perspective and their journey; this will include the child's experience, their wishes and feelings and an evaluation of how the outcomes are improving for the child. All plans for children and young people should have an outcomes focus, and supervision is the point at which a practitioner and their manager review progress.The supervision record will be associated to the child's ESCR and a case note entered on Liquid Logic (LCS).
When decisions have been made in between formal supervision sessions, the Manager must make sure that any decision made with regard to a service user is clearly recorded on the service user's file (as a Team Manager's Decision, Liquid Logic (LCS) case note) as they are an integral part of the narrative of the child's journey.
When decisions are made in supervision in relation to specific service users, the Manager must ensure these decisions are recorded on the service user's file.
All Line Managers will keep a record of supervision sessions for their staff.
The recording of supervision sessions is the responsibility of the supervisor. The detail included is a matter of judgement but, in general, the record should be detailed enough so that the issues can be revisited, if necessary, at a later date and still be understood.
The supervision records will reflect the supervision sessions and will be completed on the appropriate pro forma.
Records should clearly detail any decisions that have been made, the reasons for these, any agreed actions, including who will take responsibility, and the timescale for carrying out these actions. If there is disagreement as to the content of the record this should be noted by the supervisor.All records should be typed.
A worker's supervision file should be maintained by the Line Manager so that the record can be reviewed at appropriate times (e.g. Induction, PDR, Progression, significant case related issues).
The format of the supervision file should be standard across the service and contain the following (with the exception of Fostering & Adoption):
Supervision is a private but not a confidential process. This means that the records are the property of the organisation, not the individual. From time to time supervisors will need to discuss the content of supervision sessions with others, e.g. their own Line Managers. This should always be with the knowledge of the supervisee. Access to supervision records should be controlled and all records should be retained securely. Other people may from time to time require access to supervision records. These might include:
These will be associated to the child's file and available to:
These guidance notes may be used as a checklist to help you audit your supervision practice and help you to get the best out of the session, both as a supervisor and a supervisee.