Supervision

The way you manageYour workforce is your most valuable resource – and supervision plays a key role in supporting them to deliver high-quality care and support.

Our ‘Effective supervision: a practical guide for adult social care managers and supervisors’ will help you to plan and deliver effective supervisions.

It includes information about:

  • what supervision is and why it’s important

  • the supervisor role and attributes of a successful supervisor

  • how to develop supervisors

  • practical tips and recommendations to help you to plan and deliver supervision sessions.

Download the free guide.

Updated workbook edition: coming soon

We're currently reviewing and updating the workbook edition of this guide which includes additional activities, checklists, reflection points and templates to help you to put your learning into practice in the context of your role, your team, your organisation and the people that you support. 

Our bookshop is currently closed however, keep an eye out on this webpage. 

Bite-Size resources to help you supervise

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many care providers swap to delivering virtual supervisions and delegating the supervisor role to other staff to free up time for frontline managers.  These practical new resources can help you to continue to deliver supervisions at this important time.

 

 

Supervision is a process that involves a manager meeting regularly and interacting with staff to review their work and provide support.

It might include, for example, reviewing their workload, setting the expected standards, monitoring and reviewing performance, identifying learning and development opportunities and keeping them informed with wider organisational news.

Supervision is usually carried out by one person who has some related knowledge and skills, and who takes responsibility and accountability for supporting the wellbeing and performance of the person being supervised i.e. the supervisee.

Effective supervision supports good working relationships, helps you to address any issues and celebrate achievements, gives you the opportunity to discuss learning and development – and, if you’re a regulated provider, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) expects you to offer staff regular supervisions to ensure that they’re competent and confident to do their role.

Read more about what supervision is and why it’s important in our free online guide

There are three key functions of supervision. You can use this information to think about what to include in supervision sessions and plan what supervision looks like in your organisation. 

Supportive

Supervision involves supervisors providing support for staff members with different aspects of their role. The supportive function can help to address any emerging issues that may impact staff performance and/or wellbeing.

For supervisors, this function might include:

  •  supporting staff with any challenges in their role
  •  monitoring and supporting staff health and wellbeing, and ensuring that the organisation has the right support in place to address any issues
  •  dealing with any issues that need further investigation, for example performance concerns or safeguarding investigations
  •  keeping staff informed about the wider organisation and any changes or developments.

Line management

Supervisions can help managers to promote and maintain good standards of work and ensure that staff follow relevant policies and procedures.

For supervisors, this function might include:

  • managing team resources – you can use supervision to ensure that staff understand their role and responsibilities
  • delegating workload – you can use supervision to provide meaningful communication between managers and staff at all levels
  • performance appraisals – you can use supervision to set targets and objectives, and discuss performance and quality
  • duty of care – you can use supervision to ensure that staff understand the standards that are expected of them and follow policies and procedures.

Educational and/or developmental

Supervisions can help staff to develop critical thinking and analysis skills, explore their own learning and development needs and identify opportunities to address those needs.

For supervisors, this function might include:

  • assessing staff skills and knowledge, and identifying any gaps and/or learning and development needs
  • helping staff to identify their preferred learning styles and barriers to learning
  • giving and receiving constructive feedback
  • supporting staff to reflect on their learning opportunities and ensuring that they know how to apply the learning in practice.

Read more about the function of supervision in our free online guide. 

A good supervisor can make a big difference to staff and your organisation.

The role involves overseeing and managing a team or individual to ensure that they’re performing effectively and are satisfied in their role.

The supervisor role involves:

  •  providing support
  •  line management
  •  supporting staff to learn and develop.

The specific responsibilities of the role can vary based on your organisation, but might include:

  •  managing workflow
  •  training new hires
  •  evaluating performance
  •  providing feedback
  •  identifying learning and development opportunities
  •  helping supervisees to resolve any issues.

Good supervisors have the right values, skills and knowledge to do the role, and should have a good understanding of the work that supervisees do, and of the setting that they work in.

Values

Good supervisors have the right values, attitudes and behaviours, and role model them in their everyday work.

In adult social care, the 6Cs, as outlined in the ‘Compassion in Practice’ strategy (2012), have been identified as the values that underpin high-quality social care provision.

  •   Care
  •   Compassion
  •   Competence
  •   Communication
  •   Courage
  •   Commitment

It’s important that supervisors have these values, because if care staff are expected to demonstrate them in their practice, supervisors must lead by example and do the same.

Skills

Good supervisors also have the required skills, including:

  •   organisational and time management skills
  •   communication skills, including good listening skills
  •   an ability to remain calm under pressure
  •   leadership skills
  •   problem-solving skills
  •   conflict resolution skills
  •   professionalism and a positive attitude.

Knowledge and experience

Supervisors are often experts in their field. It’s not always necessary for the supervisor to have direct experience of all of the work that they’re supervising. However, when supervising practical tasks such as moving and handling and administering medication, the supervisor must be competent to ensure safe practice.

Read more about the role of the supervisor in our free online guide. 

Providing learning opportunities for supervisors ensures that they have the right values, skills and knowledge to do the role effectively.

In regulated adult social care services, the CQC expects people to be suitably trained and experienced to carry out their role, including those in supervisory roles. People shouldn’t take on the supervisor responsibilities without proper training and an assessment to ensure that they’re competent.

However, lots of supervisors, particularly in smaller care settings, might find themselves with the responsibility of supervision without much, if any, formal training.

Supervisors in adult social care aren’t required to hold a formal qualification, but training and on-the-job learning is a great way to ensure that they’re confident and competent to do the role.

Our free online guide includes advice about learning and development opportunities for supervisors, including:

  •   qualifications
  •   short courses
  •   Lead to Succeed learning programme
  •   shadowing opportunities and succession planning.

Download the guide to find out more. 

Effective supervision requires planning and must be supported by the culture of your workplace and it’s policies and procedures.

The printed workbook edition of this guide gives you access to useful tips and recommendations to help you to plan and carry out effective supervision, including:

  •   the practicalities of supervision, including frequency, length and location
  •   developing a supervision policy
  •   using a supervision agreement
  •   preparing for a supervision session
  •   setting the supervision agenda
  •   recording supervision sessions
  •   reflecting on the supervision process.

It includes useful templates that you can download and use in your role, including an  outline supervision policy, a template supervision agreement, a supervision recording template and reflection checklist.

Buy your copy from our online bookshop