Supervision in Social Work
Professional supervision in social work is vital to securing positive outcomes for vulnerable people. It’s no secret that social work can be as challenging as it is rewarding. That’s why effective supervision is invaluable – it’s there to help social workers do their job well.
The British Association for Social Workers (BASW) describes supervision as “a process by which an organisation provides support and guidance to social workers.”
The aim is to improve the quality of practice and ensure continuing professional development (CPD). Social Work England considers supervision in social work to be an essential aspect of maintaining professional registration and says it should be used to “critically reflect on and identify learning needs”.
Supervision can take several different forms but essentially, it’s about talking through the decisions you make and learning through your experiences. The aim is to help you achieve the best possible outcomes for those you support.
Why is supervision in social work so important?
There’s been a great deal of research that shows that social workers are far more effective if they receive useful supervision.
If delivered well, supervision can have a positive impact on a social worker’s wellbeing. After all, it gives you the chance to reflect on how you are feeling in your role and the changes you may want to make.
Supervision can be provided on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment. Usually this takes place in a safe space for social workers to review their practice and develop their skills and knowledge.
Is there a supervision framework?
The Local Government Association, the voice for local government, has published a Supervision Framework for employers of social workers. It identifies for core elements of effective supervision in social work that employers should follow. These are:
Quality of decision making and intervention. This is where shared professional decision making is encouraged. It involves reflecting on what work has already been done and what improvements could be made.
Line Management and organisational accountability. This is where supervision allows for mutual responsibility between the employer and employee and forms part of the employee appraisal process.
Caseload management. Here, caseload and workload are reviewed as part of supervision. This is to look at the extent to which time available to work directly with service users is having an impact on practice.
Identification of further CPD needs. Here, supervision monitors and promotes continuing professional development to support best practice and professional registration
What does good supervision in social work look like?
For Ofsted, supervision in social work is something that inspectors’ look at when assessing social services. They’ll want to see whether effective supervision has helped in the cases they review, and they’ll look for evidence of its impact.
One of the key elements of good supervision is where a social worker is challenged to truly reflect on their practice and make changes to their case management. It should make them feel secure and supported in their role, whilst increasing confidence and critical thinking.
In short, supervision should help you feel content in your role so that you can do what you came into social work to do; make a difference to the lives of others.
If you’re looking for a role where strong supervision is a core part of the role, we’ve got plenty of suitable social work vacancies. Simply register today.