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7.3.1 Staff Supervision


To be read in conjunction with:

Performance Management Policies and Procedure

Staff Training and Development Policy

Appraisal Policy

Staff Support and Supervision Record Form


This chapter was reviewed locally and updated in May 2014.


  1. Policy Statement
  2. Definitions
  3. Staff Development
  4. Appraisal
  5. Purpose and Function of Supervision
  6. What Supervision must Demonstrate
  7. Standards
  8. Quality Assurance
  9. Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors
  10. Supervision Responsibilities
  11. Frequency of Supervision
  12. Non-compliance with Procedure

1. Policy Statement

The Children's Centre aims to provide high quality services, which are responsive to the changing needs of service users. We recognise that those services can only be delivered by staff who:

  • Know what is expected of them;
  • Have the skills and knowledge needed to do their job;
  • Are supported and managed effectively.

Supervision is regarded as the basic process through which staff are managed and supported, and it is viewed as a right of all employees and a responsibility of all managers/supervisors. This policy establishes a framework to ensure that the support and developmental needs of staff are met and to maintain practice standards, in order that services may be delivered effectively and efficiently.

2. Definitions

Supervision is defined as any communication between two or more staff, one of whom is a line manager, where the primary purpose is to enhance staff performance and effectiveness in carrying out the requirements of their post and meeting the objectives of the organisation. It is an accountable process.

Supervision however must be linked to staff development and appraisal/performance management processes if the aim of a competent and confident team is to be achieved.

3. Staff Development

To become competent, practitioners need access to opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge and values appropriate to their tasks. Those tasks must be clearly identified and linked to the goals of the service and organisation if staff development planning is to be truly effective.

Managers/supervisors are the key people in this process, for it is they who, in supervision identify what development is needed to achieve goals and also who evaluate its effectiveness.

Personal development/learning planning is an important activity for staff and managers and should take place formally at least once a year, within the context of supervision, with a formal review of the plan also taking place once a year.

4. Appraisal

Appraisal is the formal expression/recording of information and views, which are shared regularly in supervision. It provides the opportunity for both participants to identify what has been achieved in the previous year, to identify any problems for either party and to plan for the future with key objectives & tasks. It therefore becomes part of a continuous cycle of:-setting objectives, planning & taking action, reviewing progress and then setting new objectives or revising old.

Appraisal allows a focus on these areas, ensuring that both participants come prepared, and should involve a minimum of paperwork and form filling. Regular supervision offers feedback and discussion opportunities.

Effective appraisal can take place only in the context of service planning i.e. managers/supervisors need to be clear about service/departmental/Centre/team goals and need to identify the management and professional competencies required to achieve these.

5. Purpose and Function of Supervision

Supervision has two main purposes:

  • To establish and monitor the worker's accountability to the organisation;
  • To promote the professional and personal development of the worker.

In addition there are three main functions for managers/supervisors:

  • The managing/administrative accountability function,
    i.e. Activities dealing with the planning, distribution, monitoring & evaluation of work tasks;
  • Learning/development function:
    i.e. Activities dealing with the needs of workers for knowledge & skills to achieve tasks;
  • Supportive/enabling function:
    i.e. recognising the stress factors involved & ensuring that the worker is supported and enabled to achieve the task and recognition of achievements and giving feedback.

6. What Supervision must Demonstrate

Supervision must demonstrate the following:


  • That the operations of the team(s) are consistent with the objectives of the Centre;
  • That workers are clear about their roles and responsibilities;
  • That an appropriate climate/culture exists in which to promote good practice;
  • That it assists professional development;
  • That it makes every effort to reduce problems likely to affect worker's abilities to deliver services.

7. Standards

  • Supervision is a private but not confidential process. Supervision records are the property of the organisation, although, personal information not relevant to work issues should not be recorded in formal supervision records;
  • Supervision records must be maintained;
  • A supervision contract should exist, signed and reviewed annually by both parties;
  • Supervision should be planned, regular and systematic;
  • Supervision should be prioritised and uninterrupted;
  • Supervision content should be negotiated between both participants;
  • Supervision should be fair, equal and promote anti-oppressive practice.

8. Quality Assurance

To be effective, this policy requires monitoring. This should recognise the routine responsibilities of managers/supervisors but include additional safeguards to ensure that this important aspect of professional practice is regularly surveyed.

9. Responsibilities of Managers and Supervisors

Managers/supervisors are responsible for carrying out supervision and maintaining a file of supervision records. This will be monitored by line managers who will be responsible for ensuring that staff receives regular supervision in line with the standards for their service area.

10. Supervision Responsibilities

Both parties to the process have responsibilities.

Staff Receiving Supervision

Should expect:

  • Effective and professional supervision;
  • To be treated with dignity and respect;
  • To be helped to recognise & work towards potential;
  • A respect for confidentiality (within the guidelines);
  • Supervisors who actively listen and promote reflection.

Should be responsible for:

  • Preparing for supervision by contributing to an agenda;
  • Providing feedback on plans and progress;
  • Identifying their own planning and development needs;
  • Contributing to the development of a 'personal development plan';
  • Developing a reflective approach to learning.

Staff Providing Supervision


  • Agree a Contract for supervision, including development;
  • Access any case files or records written by staff;
  • Allocate work and monitor performance;
  • Challenge attitudes and practice.

And be responsible for:

  • Clarifying standards, expectations, roles and responsibilities;
  • Listening and being supportive;
  • Providing a learning environment;
  • Ensuring performance standards;
  • Providing constructive feedback;
  • Maintaining supervision records.

11. Frequency of Supervision

Staff should be given 10 monthly supervisions, 1 annual appraisal and 1 appraisal review.

12. Non-compliance with Procedure

If it becomes apparent at any point during the year that the member of staff is not receiving supervision to the standard required or within these procedures staff should:

  • In the first instance arrange a one to one meeting with their line manager to discuss and resolve, where possible, the difficulties which they feel have arisen.

If difficulties still arise or they are unable to find solutions in the first instance staff should:

  • Request that a 3-way meeting between the line manager, their line manager and staff member is arranged. The difficulties should be discussed and outcomes agreed. It is the responsibility of the manager’s line manager to ensure that these difficulties are satisfactorily resolved.

The manager’s line manager will be required to inspect a sample of supervision files periodically and this may include checking the staff members file to ensure that quality standards are being met. In order to achieve independent review of supervision records, it may be appropriate for managers to review supervision records for staff not within their immediate line management responsibility.