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9.2 Children's Services Supervision Policy


In June 2019, the Induction Template in Section 9, Content of Supervision Sessions was replaced with an Induction Checklist.


  1. Introduction
  2. Law and Policy
  3. Definition, Foundation and Purpose of Supervision
  4. Anti-discriminatory Practice
  5. Core Functions of Supervision
  6. Supervision Sessions
  7. Supervision Agreements
  8. Conduct of Supervision Sessions
  9. Content of Supervision Sessions
  10. Frequency of Supervision Sessions
  11. Third Party Involvement
  12. Confidentiality
  13. Dealing with Difficulties in Supervision
  14. Recording of Supervision
  15. Supervision Files
  16. Retention of Supervision Files
  17. Training of Supervisors
  18. Supervision of Sessional Workers
  19. Supervision of Admin Staff
  20. Supervision Agreement
  21. Record of Supervision

1. Introduction

Children’s Services are committed to providing supervision to all social care staff and to promote the quality of the Service through high standards of supervision.

This procedure applies to:

Children’s social care practitioner staff and managers but may need to be negotiated for managers/staff in specialist posts, in relation to their specific roles and responsibilities, where they may require clinical supervision from other services.

2. Law and Policy

Safeguarding Children and Young People

This Policy builds on the Local Safeguarding Children Partnership’s (LSCP) core principle for safeguarding children services in Bath and North East Somerset. The LSCP Business Plan details a set of core principles for the supervision arrangements for all member agencies responsible for safeguarding children. The core principles are:

  • Supervision is a meeting that provides staff with the opportunity to reflect upon their work and decision making;
  • Each agency will have a written policy for supervision of staff working in safeguarding children that is known to, and used by, all staff;
  • All staff should have access to appropriate advice and support to deal with any immediate safeguarding issues;
  • All staff will receive regular supervision from their manager to develop their skills and ensure high standards of service delivery;
  • A formal record of supervision sessions should be made for each party;
  • Supervision will include a focus on the inter-agency aspects of safeguarding children work;
  • Supervision will be used to identify development and training needs;
  • Agencies will (annually) review the implementation and effectiveness of their supervision arrangements and practice.

Working Together to Safeguard Children

This policy is also fully compliant with the requirements of Working Together to Safeguard Children which emphasizes the need for effective support and supervision.

3. Definition, Foundation and Purpose of Supervision

 “Supervision is a process which encompasses management and professional practice systems, involving structured sessions in which a supervisee is helped to practice at an optimum level by a supervisor acting on behalf of the department to whom the supervisee is accountable. The purpose of supervision is to ensure a quality service to clients.” (a)

 “Staff Supervision in Child Protection Work” states that:-

“… supervision is founded on:

  • Knowledge of the agency’s function, policies, resources and constraints;
  • Professional judgment regarding risks, needs and resources of service users;
  • Knowledge about human motivation and ambivalence;
  • Capacity to use authority, recognising the different sources of authority and power;
  • Recognition of the processes of change, both for individuals and organisations and capacity to work with those processes;
  • Understanding about perceptual processes and especially the role of anxiety and prejudice in distorting perception” (b).

Of particular importance is the role of supervision in evaluating and monitoring individual, team and organisational performance. This will include ensuring that there is due attention to relevant performance indicators and targets and to service standards for the team and the Department.

4. Anti-discriminatory Practice

Supervision must promote practice which actively supports Local Equal Opportunity Policies as prescribed on the Intranet which are fundamental to the Local Authority corporate ethics and policies.

Therefore supervisors and supervisees have a joint responsibility to ensure that supervision routinely and regularly includes consideration of equality and anti-discriminatory issues in order to ensure that the supervisee’s learning and development in these aspects of their work is properly supported, and that practice is challenged where appropriate and necessary.

Supervisors should ensure that supervisees are given appropriate support and opportunities to raise concerns about any possible discrimination or equalities issues they may be facing.

5. Core Functions of Supervision

Supervision has three core functions.

Performance management

  • Ensuring that work is completed in line with agency standards, policies and procedures;
  • Ensuring that work is undertaken to high standards and contributes to the achievement of relevant performance indicators;
  • Prioritisation and allocation of work;
  • Effective management of workload, setting clear objectives, evaluation of effectiveness of work undertaken;
  • Ensuring that there are clear case plans on all cases and that these are being followed;
  • That work is timely and avoids drift by having clear objectives and measures of progress;
  • Work is most effective when it is undertaken within the knowledge an evidence base and direction given accordingly.


  • Ensuring supervisees keep themselves informed of local and national policies, procedures and practice; and receiving supervisee’s views on these;
  • Helping supervisees to expand their knowledge and develop their professional skills;
  • Identifying the learning needs of the supervisee and considering whether these can best be met by the individual (e.g. through relevant reading/research); through supervision; within the local work environment through others; or through ensuring the needs are passed to the training team to inform their planning;
  • To review the professional development record to ensure that for qualified social workers this meets the requirements for HCPC registration.


  • Enabling supervisees to cope to the best of their ability with the many stresses that child care social work entails;
  • To enable workers to reflect the demands that the work brings and explore any issues that may arise during the course of the work.

The supportive function should not be confused with therapy. Personal issues should only come into supervision sessions if they are directly affecting, or being affected by the work discussed, or they are affecting the supervision relationship.

If the supervisee requires counselling regarding personal feelings which cannot appropriately be dealt with in supervision sessions, alternative sources of support for that worker should be considered, recommended and made available. The supervisor may need to consult their line manager as to how to action this appropriately.

Staff counselling is available to staff should the need arise.

6. Supervision Sessions

The core of supervision is the supervision session which should be protected from interruption.

A supervision session is a joint discussion/joint decision-making forum. It is an interactive live debate often dealing with emotionally charged issues. Occasionally it may be necessary for the line manager to make decisions if a joint decision is not possible.

Informal supervision may take place outside of the formal sessions.

Written comments, advice and instructions can also contribute to supervision but there should always be an opportunity to discuss these in a supervision session.

7. Supervision Agreements

The use of Supervision Agreements is good practice and is mandatory. This should be completed at the first supervision session.

8. Conduct of Supervision Sessions

  • Agenda to be drawn up at the beginning of the session;
  • Supervision should take place in a suitable room;
  • Supervision should begin punctually;
  • Interruptions should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances;
  • Frequent lateness, cancellations or interruptions caused by either party should be a matter for discussion at the earliest opportunity if they occur;
  • When supervision has to be cancelled the person who cancels should inform the other person and a new date set up as soon as possible;
  • If it is the manager who cancels more than one supervision this should be escalated to the relevant service manager;
  • Supervisor will complete the supervision template for each session on supervisee’s file, including specifying actions to be taken and who is responsible (see Recording Policy and Guidelines for more detail);
  • Decisions on cases will be entered onto Liquid Logic as observations as a ‘supervision’ or ‘management decision’ within 5 working days.

9. Content of Supervision Sessions

Items for the agenda are the responsibility for both parties. Content will vary in relation to the supervisee’s role but will include:

  • Update of work on high risk cases, and/or crisis intervention work carried out since the previous meeting;
  • Update of actions and tasks agreed at last session;
  • Update of key tasks relating to children on with child protection plans and children in care;
  • Discussion of case summaries completed since the last session;
  • Every case on the caseload should be discussed as a minimum every other supervision session;
  • Cases giving rise to concern on the part of either the supervisee, supervisors or others, including complaints;
  • Supervisor and supervisee will consider whether or not there are any potential complaints including those that could be resolved without reaching the complaints procedure;
  • Professional development and training needs, and training proposed and undertaken;
  • All new staff should have a personal development plan following a thorough induction (see Induction Checklist);
  • All new staff should have a Personal Development Plan;
  • NQSW’s will also be supported by the principle social worker who will contribute to this processed during their assessed year in practice;
  • Ensure that social work qualified staff have updated their CPD and signed off by the manager. This must include a recorded discussion about the impact on the professional development of the worker of the training undertaken;
  • Review of and feedback on overall performance of supervisee, including contribution to key performance targets;
  • It is important that the supervisee received positive feedback and is informed of occasions where their work has been complimented;
  • Concerns about practice need to be discussed at the earliest opportunity and remedial action recorded. If the poor performance continues, consideration should be given to escalate the concerns and reference should be made to the capability procedure in consultation with Human Resources;
  • Team issues and concerns;
  • Anti-discriminatory practice issues;
  • Service quality issues, project and group work as relevant;
  • Service User feedback;
  • TOIL and A/L and sickness;
  • Health and Safety issues which impact on the supervisee with especial reference to lone working arrangements and consideration of the emotional impact of the work for the supervisee.

10. Frequency of Supervision Sessions

  • Newly qualified staff should normally receive supervision on a weekly basis for the first 6 weeks, then fortnightly until the 6 month review. After six months and up to twelve months, supervision should be at 3 weekly intervals with more frequency at the manager’s discretion, as the worker gains more experience and confidence;
  • Experienced qualified staff (i.e. those with twelve months or more post qualifying experience) should normally receive supervision on 3 weekly basis;
  • Senior Practitioners will receive 4 weekly supervision;
  • Part time staff should receive supervision with the same frequency as full time staff though the duration may be less.

A supervision session will normally last about 1 ½ hours per session.

11. Third Party Involvement

On occasions, a third party may be involved in supervision to advise or be consulted about issues which affect the supervisee’s work. This would be agreed by supervisor and supervisee. In situations where two people are working on the same case, it will be agreed in advance who will manage the case. Each member of staff should be given the opportunity for both joint and single supervision. If, in single supervision, decisions are made with regard to the joint case, they should be recorded and shared with the absent worker as soon as possible.

12. Confidentiality

The content of supervision sessions is not confidential. Matters discussed in relation to cases have to be taken into case planning forums. The supervisor will/may need to discuss the content with his/her line manager. Supervisors are accountable for the supervision that they undertake.

Where a supervisor or supervisee feel and agree that a specific issue needs to be kept confidential between them, this should be explicit in relation to the specific item.

13. Dealing with Difficulties in Supervision

The process for dealing with difficulties in supervision is:

  • Supervisor and supervisee have a responsibility to raise difficulties with each other and to try to find some solution between themselves. Any such difficulties should be carefully recorded in writing;
  • Where the above course of action is unsuccessful, supervisor and supervisee should involve a third party who would normally be the supervisor’s manager. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that their supervisor/manager is aware of any such difficulties.

14. Recording of Supervision

Case work discussions and decisions should be recorded on the template provided with this procedure and following supervision should be entered onto Liquid Logic under ‘observations’ and clearly marked as supervision. This task could be delegated to team admin but it remains the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that the recorded discussion is entered and available on the child’s electronic record, within 5 working days.

Other matters not specifically related to cases should be recorded under topic headings and kept in supervisor’s file with copy to the supervisee.

During the supervision meeting it is the responsibility of the supervisee to keep their own informal notes of the tasks that have been agreed so that they are able to commence the work agreed without waiting for the formal notes from their supervisor.

The formal record should be completed and sent to the supervisee within 2 weeks of the supervision session and both parties should sign off both records to indicate that are a true reflection of what was discussed and agreed.

15. Supervision Files

A supervision file will be opened on each supervisee, and will be kept by the supervisor. Each supervisee will have access to the file. (They may keep their own file).

This file should an electronic document organised in a similar way as is described below. It should be kept on the Team’s ‘S’ drive and access should be restricted to the worker, team manager, deputy team manager and team administrator. IT should be able to assist team managers in implementing this system.

The file may be organised as follows:

  • A module containing a copy of the supervision agreement;
  • A module containing agendas and notes on each session which would include:
    • Date of supervision session;
    • Cases discussed;
    • Project discussed;
    • Brief resume of content of the session.
  • A Learning Module which will include:
    • Core training requirements using the Personal Development Plan;
    • Induction Package;
    • Training / PQ awards/Continuing/Professional Development;
    • Other identified learning needs;
    • A Module to contain any complaints that have been made about staff which have been upheld. (This would allow for any recurrent problems to be highlighted and a strategy determined for addressing these);
    • An Appraisal Module.

16. Retention of Supervision Files

Supervision files must be retained for 6 years after a member of staff leaves, which is in line with the retention of personnel files and in case issues emerge which require retrospective investigation.

17. Training of Supervisors

A core training module on staff supervision should be completed by all new supervisors within six months of their first taking up a post involving the supervision of staff.

Managers involved in staff supervision will have the opportunity as part of their own supervision to identify their supervisory skills, knowledge and learning needs and formulate a personal development plan to meet these. This will be an ongoing process and will form part of their performance review.

All supervisors have a personal responsibility to ensure that they are up to date with the latest research and evidence based practice.

18. Supervision of Sessional Workers

The supervision of Sessional workers on a case by case basis should be undertaken by the Social Worker responsible for the case. The Case Discussion and Decisions form should be completed by the Social Worker and passed to admin to place on Liquid Logic.

In addition to this each Sessional worker will have a supervision session once every 6 months either with the Team Manager or the Assistant Team Manager or to whomever the TM delegates this responsibility, one of which will be their Performance Review.

19. Supervision of Admin Staff

Admin staff should have supervision as a minimum of bi monthly with the team manager and the agenda for this supervision should be adapted to meet service needs.

20. Supervision Agreement

Click here to access the Supervision Agreement.

21. Record of Supervision

Click here to access the Record of Supervision.