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Derby City Children's Social Care Procedures

1.1.19 Supervision Policy


In March 2021, the Early Help and Children's Social Care Supervision Template / Record linked from Appendix D: Early Help and Children's Social Care Supervision Template / Record was updated.

Derby City Council uses a Strengths Based Approach for all work with children and families.


  1. Background and Context
  2. Policy
  3. Purpose
  4. Supervision Procedure
  5. Induction and Training
  6. Making Supervision Work
  7. Supervision Agreement
  8. Recording, Audit and Retention
  9. Miscellaneous
  10. Appendix A: Information to Assist the Formulation of an Individual Supervision Agreement
  11. Appendix B: Reflective Supervision Guidance
  12. Appendix C: Supervision Monitoring Form
  13. Appendix D: Early Help and Children's Social Care Supervision Template / Record
  14. Appendix E: Case Work Supervision Agenda

1. Background and Context

Supervision has a vital role to play in supporting staff in a challenging social care environment. Supervision is a two-way process involving rights and responsibilities for both supervisors and for those they supervise.

"Supervision involves talking through the impact the work has on you personally, as well as exploring decision-making. It is vital for practitioners' well-being, professional development, and management oversight. Most importantly, supervision helps you to achieve the best possible outcomes for children." Yvette Stanley Ofsted, October 2018

The purpose of this policy and procedure is to outline what supervision is and how it is to be carried out throughout Derby's Children's Services. The document applies to all Early Help and Children's Social Care staff.

2. Policy

Derby Children's Services will provide high quality supervision, which supports and motivates staff and encourages reflective practice. We will monitor performance and targets set at appraisal, thereby linking with the Council aims and objectives and in doing so enhance the quality of staff performance in providing services to our children and families.

This policy and procedure sets out how staff will be supervised and also provides managers with the key standards required to supervise staff effectively. Managers or supervisors and supervisees are jointly responsible for ensuring that supervision meets the standards as outlined in this policy and procedure

3. Purpose

Supervision is the focal point of the relationship between supervisor and supervisee. The use of effective supervision is a means of improving decision-making, accountability, and supporting professional development. In order for staff to develop excellent practice they are to be encouraged to develop their critical reflective skills. Essentially the purpose of supervision is to:

  • Deepen and broaden workers' knowledge and critical analysis skills;
  • Enable confident, competent, creative and independent decision-making;
  • Help workers build clear plans that seek to enable positive change for children and families;
  • Develop a relationship that helps staff feel valued, supported and motivated;
  • Support the development of workers' emotional resilience and self-awareness;
  • Promote the development of a learning culture within the organisation;
  • Ensure agency accountability for the standard of practice across the department

Supervision should cover:

  • Quality of decision-making and interventions

    Reflecting on what work has been done, for example, what has worked well and why, plans for future interventions and/ or development in practice.
  • Line management and organisational accountability

    Reflecting on the quantity and quality of the work being done within the context of the wider organisation. This will include but not exhaustive, Appraisals, Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity, Human Resources; Managing Individual Capability; Code of Conduct; Whistleblowing
  • Caseload and workload management

    Reflecting on caseloads and capacity
  • Personal learning, career and development opportunities

    Reflecting on continuing professional development

4. Supervision Procedure

Types of Supervision

Personal Supervision and Case Supervision

On most occasions, personal supervision and case supervision will take place during the same session, but have separate elements and are recorded separately. At all times supervisors and supervisees hold individual and joint responsibility to ensure purposeful and effective supervision takes place.

At other times there will be 'Ad Hoc/Informal discussions' and decision making.

Ad Hoc Case/Informal Discussions within Case Supervision

Ad Hoc/Informal discussions or decisions are likely to be needed between planned case supervision sessions on a case by case basis, and may result from unexpected changes of circumstances or new incidents. Where as a result of this discussion, activity is planned or decisions made which diverts from the plan, these discussions and decisions should be recorded in LCS under Management Decision. It is the manager's responsibility to ensure accurate and timely recording of Ad Hoc/Informal Case Discussions or Decisions.

Group Supervision

Group supervision may be considered to encourage practitioners to reflect on practice and how attitudes, approaches and skills affect the relationships they have with both service users and colleagues. This may involve working through the values and principles and giving examples of how these principles have been applied in practice.

Peer Group Supervision

Peer Group Supervision is an effective form of leaderless peer group discussions. Team members confer with one another by reciprocating key topics of their professional everyday lives, in order to provide solutions for difficult situations with colleagues. The participants learn better ways to manage professional problems and offers new ideas and support. This results in the group members' increased professionalism within their work environments.

Personal Supervision

Personal supervision is the opportunity for supervisors/managers and staff members to:

  • Spend dedicated time ensuring that the member of staff understands the role to which they are appointed to;
  • Give time and space to ensure that the supervisor can hear of any issues both personal and professional which are affecting the member of staff within the post held, and ensures support is in place. For example this would include agreeing leave arrangements or hearing about health and wellbeing difficulties, or problems in the workplace;
  • Give and receive constructive feedback this incudes focusing on individual strengths;
  • Give and receive clear direction around tasks and work planning, and for the employer and organisation to provide support including ensuring that lieu time arrangements are agreed;
  • Jointly review training and development needs and agree how these needs will be met. The training and developments 'needs' are to be explicit to ensure excellent practice standards for the child and family and to ensure the qualified social workers, will meet the NAAS;
  • Provide a forum in which performance concerns are identified and plans formulated to improve performance and monitor such plans;
  • Provide a basis for the collection of evidence for the annual appraisal of staff for both parties, with particular reference to training, learning and development needs, please refer to the appraisal policy and procedure;
  • Provides an opportunity to review workers current case load and ensures that this is within the individuals' professional competency and capacity. This should be balanced against the demands of the case load at that point. Case load management is a fluid dynamic process.

Newly Qualified Social Workers only

During the Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE), the supervision for newly qualified social workers will be tailored to their needs, but there will be increased supervision alongside protected time dedicated to learning and development. Newly Qualified Social Workers will also have a reduced case load.

For any professional role across Early Help and Children's Social Care, there will be an expectation that managers will shape discussion around practice relating to that specific professional role.

5. Induction and Training

Full induction procedures for Derby City Council / Children's Workforce are contained within the Children's Workforce Induction Pack. All newly appointed Local Authority employees of the Children's Workforce will be given a copy of the Supervision Policy and related paperwork. Employees are required attend a half day introductory supervisors training course run by the Workforce Development Team within their first 6 months in post.

Supervisors will follow this training up by completing the 2 day supervision training course run by the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Partnership in a period of time agreed with their supervisor and informed by their appraisal.

6. Making Supervision Work

Supervision standards include as a minimum:

  • Supervisors to undertake supervision training to ensure they are confident and competent in the delivery of supervision and the application of the supervision procedure;
  • Supervisees to be clear about their role in the supervision sessions and the application of the supervision procedure;
  • Planned and regular supervision will be provided according to the agreed timescales;
  • Sufficient time will be allowed to enable a quality supervision to take place;
  • All supervision will be recorded;
  • The 'Supervision Agreement' will be completed, agreed, and signed at the start of the supervision relationship (this would be part of the induction process between both parties;
  • Practitioners are required to prepare for supervision by identifying areas for discussions in advance and bringing any necessary documentation to the meeting Names or personal details of clients will not be recorded within personal supervision notes; for case supervision any names or personal details of clients will be recorded directly on to LCS/EHM on the child's file;
  • Any conduct or practice development actions should be recorded together with proposed activities to support the supervisee to meet the required practice or professional standard.

Case Supervision

Case supervision is undertaken on those cases where the supervisee has been allocated a referral and/or piece of work to be completed. The supervisee may be the Social Worker, Lead Professional or be providing a service as part of the plan and/or Team Around the Family. Case supervision provides the supervisor and through this the organisation with oversight of casework.

Where one or more members of staff are jointly working with a family, joint supervision may be beneficial.

Case Supervision will be recorded using the Supervision Recording Form on LCS/EHM. The supervisor will ensure that if the Record has not been completed during the supervision session, the completed Record is placed on LCS/EHM within 72 hours or sooner.

Frequency of Case Supervision

In all cases it is the responsibility of the supervisee to bring to the attention of the supervisor any significant changes in circumstances where frequency of supervisions may need to be increased or an 'ad hoc discussion or decision' may be required.

In all cases it is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that a worker's full case load has the appropriate level of supervision and that every case is supervised and case supervision recorded on LCS/EHM minimum of twice in any review period.

All full time established staff will have access to monthly supervision. 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 or 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.

Further management oversight will be achieved through case conferences, support panels and case file audits. All staff are responsible for highlighting changes in circumstances or other concerns which increase risk through ad hoc/informal case discussions with their line manager and in these circumstances should not wait for case supervision. Discussions and decisions held with supervisors between planned case supervision meetings should be recorded in LCS/EHM.

Nature of the Supervisory Relationship

The supervisor is responsible for oversight of the supervisee's work. The supervisor must be 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.

Supervision usually takes place 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 persistent lateness, cancellations or interruptions should be recorded within the supervision notes. If these which cannot be resolved between the supervisor and supervisee then the supervisor's line manager should be consulted in order to resolve the situation.


All LCS/EHM records, including 'case supervision' notes and 'case discussion and decision notes' are the child's record, and care should be taken to ensure that written records are clear, and written with the knowledge that service users may wish to access records. The LCS/EHM record is a history of a child's journey.

The principle of confidentiality within case supervision does not exclude the supervisor or supervisee from their responsibilities under Derby City Code of Conduct policy and procedure. Should evidence of misconduct, unsafe or illegal practice arise, the supervisee is encouraged to report them to a senior manager, but if this does not occur, the supervisor should do so.

Annual Appraisal / Great Performance Conversation

Managers and staff are accountable for continuously improving the quality of their services and safeguarding high standards of care. Appraisals give individuals and their manager an opportunity to review performance what we do (our objectives) and how we do it (our behaviours). Our objectives and development plan help us to focus on what we need to achieve personally as part of our teams, as part of our services and ultimately as an important part of Derby City Council.

All staff will be involved in the formal appraisal process, which encourages continuous professional development and the annual appraisal is integral to achieve this. The appraisal will be informed by the outcomes of supervision activities and will focus on:

  • Maintaining high quality service delivery and excellent practice;
  • Staff Support and Learning;
  • Ensuring compliance with corporate policies, procedures and statutory responsibilities.

7. 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.

8. Recording, Audit and Retention

Supervision sessions will always be recorded using the agreed format. The records will be maintained in a paper or electronic file.

The recording of case specific information in the supervision of front line staff must be inputted on LCS (- 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 72 hours of the meeting. The supervision note should include the PIN numbers of the cases discussed, but not the case detail, so that managers can evidence they have discussed each case within the review period.

Detail relating to personnel, personal or sensitive issues should be recorded on personnel records/files. The supervision record on LCS will be used to record reflective practice relating 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. All supervision records should be kept in a secure electronic folder on the service network drive, not on personal network drives.

9. 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 which outline the value the secondee can add to helping 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 LCS, 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.


Signed and agreed:_______________________________ Date:

Supervisor: _______________________________


Signed and agreed:_______________________________ Date:

Supervisee: _______________________________


Appendix B: Reflective Supervision Guidance

Appendix C: Supervision Monitoring Form

Appendix D: Early Help and Children's Social Care Supervision Template / Record

Appendix E: Case Work Supervision Agenda