Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual

2.5 Supervision Policy and Procedure


A comprehensive supervision policy, procedure and practice guidance to assist with the supervision of all Social Care staff working in the Children and Young Person’s Services. This document enables the Department to meet recommendations arising from the Laming Report and the requirements set out in the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency for Social Workers in England and the National Care Standards.

While the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) ceased to function in 2012 the materials produced by the CWDC remain relevant to the supervisory function.


Appendix 4: Case Discussion was revised in May 2017 to reflect the change from Carefirst to Liquid Logic.


1. Policy
  1.1 Introduction
  1.2 What is Supervision?
  1.3 What is its Purpose?
  1.4 How often should Supervision take Place?
  1.5 What should Supervision Cover?
  1.6 Workload Management
  1.7 Training and Professional Development
  1.8 Welfare/Support Issues
  1.9 Confidentiality
  1.10 Recording Supervision
2. Procedure
3. Supervision File Retention
  Appendix 1: Saving into the Electronic Supervision Folder
  Appendix 2a: Supervision Contract
  Appendix 2b: Management Supervision Contract
  Appendix 3a: Supervision Record
  Appendix 3b: Supervision Record - Manager
  Appendix 4: Case Discussion
  Appendix 5: Training Record
  Appendix 6: Supervision File Audit Check List
  Appendix 7: Signs of Safety Assessment and Planning Form - Case Discussion

1. Policy

  Policy Practice



Children’s Social Care operates a comprehensive supervision policy for all staff.

This enables the Safeguarding Directorate to meet recommendations arising from the Victoria Climbié Inquiry and requirements set out in the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics and the Code of Practice for Social Care Workers. It also enables the Directorate to meet the Investors in People Standard.

Supervision is an ongoing process in which Children’s Social Care staff receive guidance, support and challenge in a formal setting. It provides the opportunity for workers to think, explore and confront issues that are pertinent to their ability to perform their role to the expected standard. It is also a mutually beneficial exchange and allows all parties to explore what, why and how work is undertaken and managed within the overarching framework of Council priorities and also s.1 Children Act 1989 where we must all work in the best interests of the child.

The purpose of supervision is to ensure our service meets its statutory requirements focusing on developing and motivating staff for the benefit of the individual, the organisation as a whole and the families we work with. Moreover it balances staff care with how the Directorate performs to its local and national performance indicators.

In addition to this policy, workers and managers must read the Quality Assurance Strategy. This Strategy is integral to supporting the effective management of colleagues working to a high standard within children’s social care.

The Victoria Climbié Inquiry recommends that councils ensure the work of staff working directly with children is regularly supervised. This must include reading, reviewing and signing the case file at regular intervals. (rec 45).

The Investors in People Standard provides a framework for improving organisational performance and effectiveness, through a planned approach to setting and communicating organisational objectives and developing people to meet these objectives.

The National Care Standards provide baseline minimum standards covering the frequency of supervision for specific groups of staff working closely with vulnerable service users, in addition to guidance on the broad areas to be covered by managers during supervision meetings.

The Health and Care Profession’s Code of Conduct requires employers of social care workers to effectively manage and supervise staff to support effective practice and good conduct and support staff to address any issues in their performance.

Good supervision should result in well-trained and motivated staff who are clear about their role within the organisation and the tasks they need to achieve.


What is Supervision?

  • Formal supervision is a mandatory process. It is a meeting between line managers and employees on a regular process that is planned and recorded. Supervision is essential to ensure that the quality of work undertaken is of a high standard, which meets the needs of the children, young people and their families;
  • Live observations and Team meetings can also be used in addition to supervision to enable collective work planning and problem solving;
  • All managers should formally supervise all colleagues for whom they are responsible. This includes any temporary, casual or agency staff;
  • There is an expectation that in addition to formal supervision, the line managers will provide day to day support and supervision and any key decision arising from this process should be recorded;
  • A supervision contract should be drawn up jointly at the beginning of every new supervisory relationship. This should be reviewed as required and at least annually.

Team Meetings can be used to complement 1:1 supervision but must not be considered sufficient in their own right.

P/SUP/1 - This should be reviewed as required and at least annually


What is its Purpose?

  • The purpose of supervision is to ensure each member of staff understands their role and responsibilities and how their role fits with other team members, the Children and Young People’s Directorate aims, Children and Young People’s Plan and Council’s overall strategic aims and objectives;
  • It is a means of ensuring practice and standards are consistent and that workers are supported in achieving and maintaining these goals;
  • Supervision is an important way of developing the skills and experience of members of staff, linking in with the Corporate Learning and Development Process through the completion of a Performance Development Appraisals and Reviews annually;
  • Supervision is an effective mechanism for early identification of any problems in delivering services and their successful resolution. It can also assist in improving outcomes for service users and carers by ensuring that staff adhere to professional codes of conduct and local policies and procedures;
  • Supervision provides the supervisor with the opportunity to formally oversee, manage and plan direction for the practice of the staff they supervise to provided good quality services to children and families;
  • Supervision supports critical reflective practice. Nottingham City's supervision training is based on the model of reflective supervision developed by Tony Morrison, and the case discussion template follows the Signs of Safety Framework. Both the model and framework supports the supervisor to map out the case with the practitioner and provides the opportunity for rigorous exploration and critical reflection exploring alternative ideas and solutions whilst keeping the child at the heart of the discussions.

Performance Development Reviews are completed annually and reviewed six months after the review is completed in order to assess progress. Collectively Performance Development Reviews inform the training strategy which must underpin the aims and objectives of the Department.

For field workers in children’s services this aspect of supervision must include reading, reviewing, auditing and signing the case file at regular intervals.


How often should Supervision take Place?

  • The frequency and duration of supervision should be specified in the supervision contract;
  • For all staff, the minimum standards will be as follows: monthly supervision and of a minimum duration of 90 minutes;
  • Beyond these minimum standards the frequency and duration will vary according to the type of job performed. Some staff work closely with their supervisors and receive ongoing supervision and support. Others work in relative isolation and/or are dealing with issues requiring more frequent supervision;
  • New staff will require more frequent supervision for at least the first six months of their employment;
  • Supervision can be more frequent if either supervisor or supervisee feels this is necessary to achieve performance objectives or targets;
  • Newly qualified staff will require more frequent supervision in line with the CWDC guidance;
  • Both supervisor and supervisee should plan supervision and treat it as a priority. Supervisors are responsible for rescheduling any cancelled sessions at the earliest opportunity.

New staff should receive supervision at least fortnightly during the first 6 months of their employment.

Pilot of CWDC programme for newly qualified workers stipulates a higher level of supervision undertaken by area line manager and mentor. Supervision of newly qualified staff will need to be in line with the CWDC guidance September 2008 p.10 which is, fortnightly for 3 months, 90 minutes - then monthly.

It is essential all workers are aware who their supervisor is and who to report to should any difficulties arise. The supervisor should also be able to discuss and understand supervisee workload.


What should Supervision Cover?

Supervision should cover the following areas:

For worker supervision:

1. Workload Management and file audit (if applicable) to include:

  1. Activities undertaken;
  2. Case Consultation and discussion (where applicable);
  3. Case file audit discussion (where applicable);
  4. Caseload management - Arranging supportive measures if required such as arranging a co-worker, attending interviews, meetings, conferences, court with social worker, debriefing, arranging further training and mentoring as required.

2. Professional Development to include:

  1. Training requirements (and formal completion of Personal Performance Plans);
  2. Induction requirements (as appropriate);
  3. Longer term development plans;
  4. Review of training progress against any post-registration requirements;
  5. To update and review HCPC and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) registrations and any regulations required around driving licences and insurance.

3. Welfare/Support Issues

  1. Consideration of practice issues arising from management of their team or area;
  2. Consideration of personnel issues arising from management of their team or area;
  3. Stress-related issues and supportive measures should be discussed, such as, arranging a co-worker, attending interviews, meetings, conferences, court with the social worker, debriefing sessions, arranging further training and mentoring as required;
  4. Absence(s) from work;
  5. Health and Safety;
  6. Any issues relating to the supervisory relationship requiring discussion;
  7. Equal Opportunities - to discuss any issues of oppression that the supervisee wishes to raise: from personal experience to institutional and structural matters.

For management supervision:

1. Management Issues to include:

  1. Consideration of practice issues arising from management of their team or area;
  2. Consideration of personnel issues arising from management of their team or area;
  3. Consideration of strategic issues arising from management of their team or area;
  4. Consideration of budget issues arising from management of their team or area;
  5. Consideration of complaints/compliments;
  6. Consideration of factors relating to Performance Management.

2. Workload Management discussion to include:

  1. Review of Team Plans;
  2. Review of relevant Action Plans;
  3. Project work undertaken;
  4. Additional activities undertaken.

3. Professional Development Discussion to include:

  1. Induction requirements (as appropriate);
  2. Training requirements and formal completion of Performance Development Reviews;
  3. Career development;
  4. To update and review HCPC and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) registrations and any regulations required around driving licences and insurance.

4. Welfare/Support Issues to include:

  1. Factors affecting performance;
  2. Health & Safety;
  3. Stress-related issues;
  4. Absence from work;
  5. Personal Issues (as appropriate);
  6. Equal Opportunities.

5. Other Issues to include:

  1. Leave arrangements, any specific support measures required.

Different weightings will be given to different parts of this agenda dependent on the supervisee and circumstances applying at the time.

1. Case File audit requirements (if applicable):

In line with Quality Assurance Strategy, a minimum of two case files will be audited per month/per team. These will be audited on a rota basis to ensure case files are audited from each worker in the team on a rolling basis. Within the supervision process, the outcome of the audits will be discussed in general, in order to look at lessons learned and facilitate learning. If they are the supervisee’s files, the outcome of the audit will be more specific and more comprehensive.

In addition to these considerations Team Managers (RCM) of the Children’s Homes have a duty to ensure the requirements of the Care Standards Act 2000 are met during supervision. These are:

  • Responses to and methods of working with children;
  • Work with any child for whom the staff member is key worker;
  • Staff members role including their accountability in fulfilling the home’s Statement of Purpose;
  • Staff members work in fulfilling the placement plan;
  • Degree of personal involvement, feelings, concerns and stress;
  • Staff training and Development;
  • Feedback on performance;
  • Guidance on current and new tasks including maintaining standards;
  • Personal issues which may impinge on the member of staffs ability to carry out their duties effectively.


Workload Management

An examination of the key tasks being carried out by the member of staff. It is expected that all Child Protection cases, CIC & CIN cases where there are safeguarding concerns, cases where plans need to be driven and complex care proceedings should be discussed at a minimum of once per month, the last visit should be recorded along with the action agreed.

All other open cases should be discussed bi-monthly, as a minimum and would include CIC cases where the child is settled in placement and CIN cases where the plan is to step down the case. The last visit and action agreed should be recorded. NB This is a guide, practitioners and managers need to use their own discretion when determining the frequency at which a case should be discussed.

Please note, This policy will be reviewed in mid 2012. The review will take into consideration the capacity levels of the teams in order to make further decisions regarding increasing the frequency of case discussions of CIN cases.

Supervision should ensure that Departmental policies and procedures are being followed and standards being met, including wider legislation. Workload management will involve:

  • Reviewing work undertaken (including case discussions) with a focus on outcomes;
  • Agreeing tasks, priorities and timescales for future work;
  • Problem solving, analysis of risk and identifying safety factors and strengths; Scaling the child’s level of safety;
  • Communication of policies and procedures to ensure that key research and findings from inspections, national and local reviews are implemented on a local level in order to improve service delivery;
  • Communication of Team/Directorate/Council objectives;
  • File Audits (in line with the Quality Assurance Strategy);
  • Enabling employees to highlight or bring to attention any inadequate resources or operational difficulties which may impede the delivery of services; and
  • Support Social Care Workers to meet the requirements of the Skills for Care Code of Practice originally published by the GSCC).


Training and Professional Development

Professional development is central to supervision. Areas for professional development are identified annually through the Performance Development Review process. Supervision should support this process through:

  • Identifying contributions/achievements;
  • Identifying strengths and areas for further development;
  • Identifying training and development needs and opportunities;
  • Identifying other issues and problems and to assist supervisees in finding strategies to ensure they remain effective in their jobs;
  • (For registered Social Workers) Reviewing training progress any post-registration requirements


Welfare/Support Issues

Employees will be given support via the supervision process, which provides an opportunity to find out how a member of staff is experiencing their work, their role within a team and their performance. It is an opportunity to value people, to provide them with constructive feedback on their performance and acknowledge good practice.

Support will involve:

  • Constructive feedback on performance;
  • Discussion of personal issues in so far as they have an impact on the supervisee’s work performance. If the supervisee’s performance at work is affected by personal issues or vice versa, the supervisee should be offered the services of Human Resources Team and/or referral to Occupational Health;
  • Discussion on any stress-related issues;
  • Completion of Health and Safety checklists, e.g. for maternity, lone working and work station risk assessments;
  • The sharing of concerns and identifying back-up and support in difficult situations;
  • Guidance on the use of appropriate staff care processes and mechanisms. Although the Supervisor may advise employees, the supervisor should not engage in personal counselling of employees, but refer them to appropriate services, e.g. BUPA Employee Assistance programme on 0800 269 616 (This service replaces the Counsel Line provision);
  • Supporting, maintaining and valuing competent performance and confirming when standards have been met;
  • To enable supervisees to seek assistance if they do not feel able or do not feel adequately prepared to carry out any aspect of their work or if they are unsure of how to proceed in any work matter;
  • Equal Opportunities - discussion about any issues of oppression that the supervisee wishes to raise, from personal experience to institutional and structural matters.



Although private, supervision is a management process. Issues raised within supervision may need to be shared with other managers and staff when they concern issues of policy development, poor performance, discipline, adult or child protection and risk management. Other issues may be shared with the agreement of both the supervisor and supervisee. Supervisor and supervisee should be aware of their responsibilities in relation to the protection and use of client information as recommended in the Caldicott principles. If there is any uncertainty about what should/should not be shared the supervisor’s line manager should be consulted for advice.

There will be a shared folder for Team Managers in which to share supervision records. Senior Practitioner’s will also have a shared folder for Family Support Workers and other staffing supervision records which managers will be able to access.

There has to be a legitimate need to look at information stored in the electronic supervision files.

Where more sensitive issues are recorded they should be password protected by relevant managers, but even these matters may need to be shared in certain circumstances. Supervisees should make their supervisor aware of any matter they feel is more sensitive.

Senior Managers also require to have access to electronic supervision files in order to carry out file audits.

Caldicott Principles refer to good practice guidelines issued as a result of the Data Protection Act 1998


Recording Supervision

The supervisor should make a supervision record (P/SUP/3a), with a copy provided to the supervisee on the standard forms provided in Appendix 3a: Supervision Record and Appendix 3b: Supervision Record - Manager. Copies should be signed by both supervisor and supervisee to demonstrate agreement that notes are correct.

Both the supervisor and supervisee should store records securely.

Any decisions made about individual service users and carers during supervision and/or any advice given should also be recorded in the service user’s or carer’s case file and signed and dated by the manager on the Case Consultation Record. (See Appendix 4: Case Discussion).

From 9th January 2012, all supervision recording related to the Policy has been stored electronically in a dedicated and restricted supervision folder.

The format of the folder will replicate the current paper files and include:

  • Absence Monitoring;
  • Annual Leave;
  • Front Sheet;
  • Management Information;
  • Personal Information;
  • Supervision Notes;
  • Third Party Information, Service Users & Other Employees;
  • Training, Development and PDR.

All the relevant documents should be scanned and saved to the appropriate section of the electronic file.

The supervision form (P/SUP/3a) should be handwritten and signed by both the Supervisor and the Supervisee and then scanned and saved in the appropriate section.

For supervision records that are typed; at the subsequent supervision both the Supervisor and Supervisee should sign and the document should then be scanned and saved into the appropriate section.

Additional standards for Managers supervising Social Workers/Family Support Workers

  • The manager will read, review and authorise as appropriate, Social Worker's/Family Support Worker's case recordings/assessments;
  • The manager will record any advice, consultations they give or decisions they make on the case file on the electronic system;
  • If a complaint is received from another agency about the Social Worker/Family Support Worker’s management of a case, their Line Manager will read and review the case file and will respond in accordance with the Departments complaints procedures.

Additional standards for Social Workers/Family Support Workers:

  • The social worker/Family Support worker will inform the manager of ongoing case issues and seek guidance when necessary.

Any other issues:

This should include issues such as third party discussions, joint supervisions with Family Support Worker or students and or special requirements and or adjustments for supervisee.

In Children’s Services case discussions/consultations taking place either within or outside supervision meetings should be recorded separately on the Case Consultation Record (Appendix 4: Case Discussion). If the discussion /consultation takes place within supervision a copy of the case consultation record should placed with the supervision record as well as with the case file. This provides a record on the file of management oversight, supervision and decision-making.

Appendix 1: Saving into the Electronic Supervision Folder shows the process of saving into the electronic supervision folder and the sections.

2. Procedure

  Policy Practice

For Children’s Social Care staff a supervision contract (see Appendix 2a: Supervision Contract and Appendix 2b: Management Supervision Contract) will be drawn up for all workers by their supervisor at the start of any new supervisory relationship.

The supervision contract must cover:

  • Format of supervision;
  • Frequency of supervision and dates of future supervision sessions;
  • Agreed key tasks of the supervisee that will provide the focus for supervision;
  • Date for review of supervision contract. This will normally be after 12 months unless either the supervisor or the supervisee feels an earlier review is needed;
  • Supervision standards including roles and responsibilities of both supervisee and supervisor;
  • The process for dealing with any disagreements or if the supervisee does not feel that their supervision is meeting the policy requirements.

If issues arise that cannot be resolved between the parties, in the first instance, both parties should submit a written statement detailing the issues to the supervisor’s Line Manager. If there is no resolution, the Department’s Disciplinary or Grievance Procedure could be invoked.

The contract should be signed and dated by both parties.

Examples of supervision contracts for staff and managers are provided in Appendix 2a: Supervision Contract and Appendix 2b: Management Supervision Contract.

The purpose of the Supervision Contract is to provide a framework for supervision to help ensure it happens in practice. The supervision contract should embrace the whole supervisory relationship as well as agreeing the practical arrangements for holding regular supervision meetings.

All workers will have an individual electronic supervision file. This will contain:

Copy of this checklist to be added to the supervision file by the Supervisor’s line manager following the auditing of supervision records.
A well-planned induction programme that is appropriate to the needs and experience of the individual member of staff will also provide a useful introduction to the supervision process. Staff should be provided with a copy of the supervision policy, procedures and practice as part of their induction.
2.3 The supervisor will provide the supervisee with a copy of the Supervision Policy, Procedures and Practice documentation as part of their induction.  
2.4 The supervisor will provide the supervisee with a schedule of supervision sessions covering the 12-month period. These should be specified in the supervision contract. The supervisor is responsible for rescheduling these sessions if they are cancelled for any reason.  
2.5 For Children’s Social Care staff, all supervision sessions must be recorded in writing on the standard forms.  
2.6 Supervisees must be provided with a copy of the supervision record. Both supervisor and supervisee must sign the Supervision Record to confirm it is an accurate reflection of what has been discussed and agreed. Supervision records must be kept in the dedicated and restricted electronic files.  

3. Supervision File Retention

  Policy Practice
3.1 The supervision process comprises of two strands. Case Consultation and the general overview of employee performance and professional development and any other areas, which impact on the employee’s ability to complete tasks.  


Case Consultation Documents

The case consultation discussion document should be separated from the main supervision document and placed on the relevant child’s case file. Any child specific information should not be stored on the personal section in the supervision file but stored in the section ‘3rd Party information referring to the Service User and other employees’.
3.3 These documents will then be subject to the retention guidance relating to child protection, child in need and looked after children.  


General Supervision Documentation

Supervision records have traditionally been kept in green paper files, but from 02.07.12 they will be stored in a uniform electronic format. The new electronic framework is outline at Appendix 1: Saving into the Electronic Supervision Folder and should be followed from 02.07.12 in all cases.

Previous green supervision files will be retained or if stored off site, at: Box It. It is the current manager’s responsibility to record the box reference and number of files in each new electronic file.

Future supervision audits will recall previous files as well as consider the current electronic file.

The Supervision record will be stored for the duration of the employees’ period of employment and will be accessible to both the supervisor and supervisee as a reference tool.

3.5 Upon the employee leaving Nottingham City Council their supervision records will be retained electronically for a period of five years, following which, they will be removed and deleted from all systems.  


Appendix 1: Saving into the Electronic Supervision Folder

Appendix 2a: Supervision Contract

Appendix 2b: Management Supervision Contract

Appendix 3a: Supervision Record

Appendix 3b: Supervision Record - Manager

Appendix 4: Case Discussion

Appendix 5: Training Record

Appendix 6: Supervision File Audit Check List

Appendix 7: Signs of Safety Assessment and Planning Form - Case Discussion