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Derby CityChildren's Social Care Procedures

1.1.12 Supervision Policy

AMENDMENT

This chapter was reviewed in May 2016. Section 9, Recording, Audit and Retention was updated to require that where case specific information which is discussed during supervision needs to be inputted by the supervisor on Liquid Logic, then ideally this should take place during the supervision session itself or, if this is not possible, within 24 hours of the meeting.

Contents

  1. Background
  2. Context
  3. Policy
  4. Purpose
  5. Case Supervision Minimum Requirements - Child in Need, Children Subject to Child Protection Plan and Looked After Children
  6. Induction and Training
  7. Making Supervision Work
  8. Supervision Agreement
  9. Recording, Audit and Retention
  10. Miscellaneous
  11. Appendix A: Information to Assist the Formulation of an Individual Supervision Agreement
  12. Appendix B: Reflective Supervision Guidance
  13. Appendix C: Supervision Monitoring Form
  14. Appendix D: Supervision Record
  15. Appendix E: Case Work Supervision Agenda

1. Background

The Service's policy on the supervision of staff outlines the general expectations for the supervision of all staff working within Children's Services. It is acknowledged that this policy provides the minimum standards and there will be profession/practice specific elements relating to individual practitioner/manager supervision across Children's Services.

This policy defines supervision and provides an outline of its purpose and function. Also set out is a framework for determining the frequency, content and recording within formal supervision arrangements.

Supervision forms an integral part of the overall performance management process. This culminates in a regular MIP (Managing Individual Performance) at which individuals will evaluate, together with their line managers, their performance, achievement of goals and objectives to date as well as setting goals for the coming year.

2. Context

  • Care Standards Act 2000;
  • Health and Care Professions Council Code of Practice for Social Worker and employers;
  • OFSTED standards for the assessment of children's services, including 'Registered Services', Contact, Referral and Assessment Services and Assessment of Children's Services.

This supervision policy applies to all workers involved in work with children, young people and their families, careers and communities. This includes direct work and the line management of such work. The policy may also be of used for those staff with less direct involvement with the above groups.

3. Policy

All staff as identified in Section 2, Context above are required to receive supervision which complies with this procedure. All supervision arrangements must comply with Derby Council's Equality and Diversity policy. The supervision standards, policy and procedure may be taken into account in conjunction with other Departmental policies in cases of a disciplinary, capability or grievance nature. These policies include:

  • Human resources;
  • Equality and diversity policy;
  • Managing individual capability;
  • Code of conduct;
  • Whistleblowing policy.

Supervisors and supervisees have a joint responsibility to constructively contribute to the supervisory process and must be familiar with this policy and procedure.

Supervision is always the responsibility of the line manager. However circumstances may dictate occasionally where the line manager may need to delegate this responsibility to another person who is perceived to be accountable in their absence.

4. Purpose

Supervision is the focal point of the relationship between supervisor and supervisee. There are four aspects to supervision which are comprised of the following elements. It is acknowledged that time dedicated to these areas will vary between sessions and supervisees as the focus of the discussion may well revolve around current issues and concerns. However these elements must be included within the supervision session. The four elements together provide benefits to the manager and organisation, the supervisee and service users.

Managerial

The line manager will use supervision to enable these functions to be carried out:

  1. Ensure that policies and procedures are carried out;
  2. Ensure that there is clarity in terms of accountabilities and goals;
  3. Regulation and monitoring of workload;
  4. Agree and record objectives and timescales for specific tasks (see Section 8, Recording, Audit and Retention);
  5. Assess and review decisions, risk management and evidence based reflective practice;
  6. Provide a forum for two-way flow of information between front line practitioners and managers at all levels.

The supervisor will use the checklist attached in Appendix E: Case Work Supervision Agenda as a tool to ensure supervisees are meeting the above requirements.

Learning /Developmental

The line manager and supervisee will need to consider any gaps in knowledge or professional aspects of the work and how it may be developed by:

  1. Review of progress to date as discussed within the MIP;
  2. Training which can include 'on the job' training in terms of mentoring, peer supervision, informal discussion, demonstration and formal training which is directly related to the job which may be core training or special isms;
  3. Discussing performance and providing feedback;
  4. Ensuring staff read appropriate and relevant professional journals and documents.

Supportive

The line manager may be required to support the supervisee with professional or personal issues in order to:

  1. Ensure that personal or professional issues which may be currently impacting upon performance are reacted to and responded to with care;
  2. To facilitate and enable staff to reflect upon their contribution both with service users and as a team member in terms of their input to the organisation and team.

Health and Safety

This element gives the supervisor and supervisee the opportunity to discuss any health or safety concerns of a personal or general nature in order to enable:

  1. Staff to discuss any current stressful situations, either at work or home;
  2. Staff to manage any stress impact concerning any stressful work or complaints;
  3. Consideration of risks in the workplace;
  4. Management of personal safety and aggressive incidents.

If any member of staff feels that their concerns about feeling 'at risk' are not being dealt with effectively by their supervisor, they can further their concerns through line management or through the whistleblowing policy.

In addition to the above, for those involved in the provision of social care services to children and young people and their families supervision should include consideration and discussion of the following:

  1. Ensure that the child or adult service user's views, concerns and understanding of their situation have been clearly listened to, and are included in work throughout a case, i.e. assessment, planning, intervention and review;
  2. Reflection on their work and interaction with services users particularly with regard to evidence based practice;
  3. An evaluation of performance, particularly with relation to professional boundaries and codes of conduct and how these must be maintained;
  4. Review of goals and objectives for the work undertaken.

5. Case Supervision Minimum Requirements - Child in Need, Children Subject to Child Protection Plan and Looked After Children

Newly opened cases, newly accommodated children and children who have newly been given a child protection plan, are subject to review after three months (4 weeks and then 12 weeks for LAC) and there is an expectation that these children are discussed formally in supervision at least twice before the first review (CIN and CPP) and the second review (CIC).

For the above groups, there is an expectation that their welfare and circumstance will be discussed in formal supervision between the supervisee and their supervisor at least twice in every review period thereafter. That will normally be twice in a six month period to include the child's current situation, progress against review recommendations and any proposed changes in the plan.

For Early Help cases, there must be a case discussion before the first Team around the Family (TAF) meeting and then case discussion twice in every TAF review period (every three months) thereafter. Obviously, these are minimum requirements and where situations are complex and children are seen to be at high risk or workers are anxious about them, then this minimum requirement should be exceeded.

There is a need for supervisors and supervisees to focus on the quality rather than the quantity of case discussions that take place in each supervision session and therefore, it is recommended that no more than half the caseload is discussed. This number is recommended in order to facilitate greater opportunity for a more reflective discussion around cases. However, it is recognised that there may be times when this has to be exceeded for various reasons, i.e. case load, escalating risk, new in service staff etc.

There is also an expectation that these cases will be checked by the supervisor for compliance with legal regulations/policy requirements, i.e. statutory visits, assessments, plans and reviews and case recording. There will also be an expectation that the supervisor checks as to whether cases are currently being managed at the appropriate level and whether the case needs to be either closed or stepped up/down based on the circumstances of the case at that point in time. 

Cases selected for case discussion between the supervisee and supervisor must rotate to ensure that the above case supervision requirements are met. 

For any professional role across Children's Services, there will be an expectation that managers will ensure discussion around practice relating to that specific professional role, i.e. Connexions Personal Adviser, Social Worker, Family Visitor and Education Welfare Officer.

The importance of informal supervision is recognised, however, discussions around case issues must be given the appropriate time and space to allow for a reflection on the issues raised and a fully considered response from a manager. Where a decision/advice/guidance is provided by a manager, this must be recorded on the Liquid Logic database. The manager must record this information on the system.

6. Induction and Training

Full induction procedures for Derby City Council / Children's Workforce are contained within the Children's Workforce Induction Pack, which will be available from December 2015. All newly appointed Local Authority employees of the Children's Workforce must be given a copy of the Supervision Policy and related paperwork. Employees are required to ensure that they familiarise themselves with these procedures and all new in post supervisors must attend a half day introductory supervisors training course run by the Workforce Development Team within their first 6 months in post. This course will be available from October 2015.

It will be expected that supervisors will follow this training up by completing the 2 day supervision training course run by the DSCB in a period of time agreed with their supervisor and informed by their MIP targets.

7. Making Supervision Work

Frequency

All full time established staff must have supervision at least monthly. Where a supervisor has a larger number of direct reports, i.e. over eight, then this monthly time frame can extend to 6 weekly with the authorisation of their line manager. There may be exceptions to this, i.e. where possible it is recommended that staff new to the role have more frequent supervision e.g. weekly for at least the first month. All Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) staff must have fortnightly supervision for the duration of the ASYE period if there are difficulties regarding competence or capability or other difficulties then more frequent supervision may be required depending on accountabilities or the tasks supervisees are dealing with.

The frequency of supervision should be determined and recorded as an agreement between the supervisor and supervisee. Where supervision is cancelled (for whatever reason) by either party, this must be re-arranged within the next month. Both parties should pursue this but it is ultimately the supervisor's responsibility to arrange/re-arrange supervision. In circumstances where supervision has to be re-arranged, the supervisor must complete the supervision cancellation audit sheet (located in appendix C). This will help supervisors track that the expected frequency of supervision is being both offered and taken up. 

Time

When arranging supervision, consideration must be given to the suitability of the time of day for arranging this and how competing demands can impact on either the supervisor or supervisee's ability to deliver/receive high quality supervision.

Setting

The environment must be non-threatening and:

  1. Appropriate to both parties;
  2. Accessible to staff with any disability;
  3. Quiet and undisturbed in terms of confidentiality;
  4. Without distractions;
  5. Comply with insurance and health and safety requirements.

Duration

The recommendation is for supervision sessions to have an allocated time set aside of 2 hours per session, however, it is recognised that this may need to vary according to the needs of individuals. Sufficient time must be set aside for preparation in order that all supervision elements are covered adequately.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality must be discussed during the initial induction period and during the signing of the Supervision Agreement between supervisor and supervisee so that both are clear when this may be breached.

The following will also apply and must be made explicit:

  1. Should the supervisee disclose personal matters that have a bearing on their work they may request that no details are recorded or shared with other members of the department. The decision on whether to record and share the information and the amount of detail necessary will be determined by the supervisor, as far as possible with the agreement of the supervisee. However, the overwhelming consideration will be the welfare of children and the need to provide them with a professional and safe service;
  2. Written records of supervision sessions must be subject to bi-annual audits by the supervisor's line manager in order to ensure compliance with Service procedures;
  3. The supervisor as part of their own supervision will sometimes find it necessary to disclose material discussed in supervision with their line manager. This must have been discussed in principle when signing the supervision agreement;
  4. Regulators in the course of their work may need to audit individual supervision files. Supervision files may therefore be read during inspections etc.

Nature of the Supervisory Relationship

The supervisor is responsible for the supervisee's work. The supervisor must therefore be kept aware and informed of the supervisee's workload and other issues that may affect performance e.g. any personal issues, stress management, time management issues etc. Supervision is also the appropriate forum to ensure that staff have the support that they need to deal with issues relating to any complaints, discrimination or racism from service users, customers or colleagues.

Responsibility for preparing the supervision agenda is a two way responsibility. Supervisees and supervisors must take the time prior to supervision sessions to arrange specific items they wish to discuss within the session. Supervisee's must take a proactive part in supervision by considering cases to be discussed, training and development needs and any policy, practice issues that are pertinent. 

Supervision takes place usually on a one to one basis but can take place in groups for peer supervision. Peer supervision may provide additional benefits for staff in terms of support and provide a forum for open debate but it is not a substitute for an accountable and on-going supervisory relationship.

Any difficulties regarding chronic lateness, cancellations or interruptions should be recorded within the supervision notes. If there are problems which cannot be resolved between the supervisor and supervisee then the supervisor's line manager must be involved and consulted in order to resolve the problem. Any subsequent resolution must be by agreement and may involve a third party.

MIP

Supervision is an integral part of the MIP process and goals set in any appraisal year must be formally reviewed on at least a 6 monthly basis and discussed and reviewed in supervision on a regular basis. This must include identification of developmental needs and the requisite support in order to meet these, i.e. registering with Research in Practice, providing opportunities for shadowing and coaching etc.

Staff development discussions and actions should also be informed by feedback from case audits that will help to highlight areas where professional development is needed.

8. Supervision Agreement

A formal Supervision Agreement should be made during the induction process, within the first week of employment of any new employee (see Appendix A: Information to Assist the Formulation of an Individual Supervision Agreement). This Supervision Agreement will be reviewed when there is a change of supervisor.

9. Recording, Audit and Retention

Supervision sessions will always be recorded using the agreed format. The records will be maintained in a file which is divided into three sections:

  1. Supervision notes;
  2. Training & development which should have a list of courses attended and dates;
  3. Annual leave, sickness and other absences record.

The file should contain a front sheet which includes the following information:

  1. Employee number;
  2. DBS check and date;
  3. HCPC registration check and date;
  4. Car insurance and MOT;
  5. Probation Meeting dates.

The recording of case specific information in the supervision of front line staff must be inputted on Liquid Logic (- the electronic recording system for children and families) by the supervisor. Ideally this will take place during the supervision session or, if this is not possible, within 24 hours of the meeting. Bearing in mind this is the child's record, detail relating to personnel, personal or sensitive issues should be recorded on personnel records/files and retained as detailed within this section. In addition, the supervision record on Liquid Logic will be used to record reflective practice or analysis of theory or method where this discussion relates directly to on-going work on that case.

The supervisor's line manager will ensure that a system is in place to monitor that supervision takes place at appropriate intervals.

The Supervision record is the property of Derby City Council and will be retained by the Council. Supervision records of staff working directly with children and young people are covered by the Derby Retention of Records Policy and therefore should be kept for 25 years. It is the responsibility of the Supervisor to ensure that such records are archived appropriately.

10. Miscellaneous

Supervision through Internal Secondments

Staff who are seconded will, in terms of supervision, become the responsibility of the line manager of the seconded post. Objectives must be set  that outline the value the secondee can add  to the organisation achieving its desired outcomes.

Agency Staff

All agency staff utilised by Children's Services will be subject to the same standards and expectations as directly employed staff.

Appendix A: Information to Assist the Formulation of an Individual Supervision Agreement

Name of Supervisor:
Post held:
Name of Supervisee:
Post held:

  1. Supervision should take place monthly unless otherwise agreed. It can be more frequent when the supervisee is new in post or requires more regular sessions;
  2. Dates for supervision will be booked in advance and will be given priority by both the Supervisor and Supervisee. Reasons for cancellation should be recorded in subsequent Supervision Record;
  3. Sufficient time will be set aside for each supervision session. The recommendation is for supervision sessions to have an allocated  time set aside of 2 hours per month, however, it is recognised that this may need to vary according to the needs of individuals;
  4. Supervision will take place in a suitable location that is private, comfortable and free from distractions and interruptions;
  5. The agenda for each supervision session will be agreed at the start of each session with items for discussion contributed by both the Supervisor and the Supervisee;
  6. Each supervision session  will include a  review and update of relevant and pertinent on-going decisions and actions agreed at the previous session  as recorded on the Supervision Record;
  7. Each supervision session will be recorded by the Supervisor. The supervision notes can be handwritten and then scanned and sent electronically to the supervisee, or typed by the supervisor during the session and subsequently sent electronically to the supervisee. The Record will provide an accurate reflection of the issues discussed and agreed actions, with timescales. The Supervisor and Supervisee should both sign the Record as a true statement. Any disagreement of the content will be discussed as soon as possible. If it is not possible to resolve the dissension then a note of the differing views should be added to the Supervision Record;
  8. Where specific cases are discussed, the issues, decisions and actions agreed must be recorded within Liquid Logic, with a signpost note added to the supervision Record to indicate which cases have been discussed within that session;
  9. Supervision Records are confidential but may be made available to Senior Managers if required;
  10. Performance issues that are addressed within a supervision session may be referred to if the Supervisor is preparing an employment reference;
  11. If there are specific performance concerns, the Supervisor will be clear about these. Objectives and targets will be set and agreed to enable the Supervisee to meet the required standard within acceptable timescales;
  12. Training and development needs will be identified and reviewed during supervision sessions;
  13. The content of supervision sessions will contribute to the Supervisee's Annual Appraisal through MIP;
  14. The content of supervision sessions will contribute to the process whereby staff members move through a qualification bar.

 

Signed and agreed:_______________________________ Date:

Supervisor: _______________________________

 

Signed and agreed:_______________________________ Date:

Supervisee: _______________________________

Appendices

Appendix B: Reflective Supervision Guidance

Appendix C: Supervision Monitoring Form

Appendix D: Supervision Record

Appendix E: Case Work Supervision Agenda