A Few Words on the Importance of Effective Supervision

A few words on the importance of effective supervision

A couple of weeks ago I delivered my course on Effective Supervision. To be honest, despite having delivered this session dozens of times in the past to project managers and social workers at Bristol City Council, it’s been many years since I’ve actually been called to deliver it, as there hasn’t been much demand.

This is a shame. Not only because it really is a brilliant, practical course that develops skills as well as understanding of the subject (if I do say so myself).

But also because offering effective supervision in your setting also means that children will be better safeguarded.

Effective Supervision for staff is named as a key factor in effective safeguarding and it is cited in many Serious Case Reviews.

In the 2001 National Inquiry into the Death of Victoria Climbie, Lord Laming wrote ‘Supervision is the cornerstone of good practice.’

In her thorough national review of safeguarding services in 2010, Munro wrote ‘effective supervision can improve outcomes for children, young people and their families.’

Working Together to Safeguard Children (2015) says ‘Effective professional supervision can play a critical role in ensuring a clear focus on a child’s welfare. Supervision should support professionals to reflect critically on the impact of their decisions on the child and their family’.

Supervision for staff also cited in the Early Years Foundation stage as an important part of safeguarding practice. Increasingly more and more agencies like schools are being asked to take on increased safeguarding responsibilities. Effective multi agency working necessitates the need for effective supervision across the children’s workforce. The speed and stress of change in the sector as a whole and increased expectations from staff and employer liability for stress are other key drivers.

Quite simply, effective supervision of safeguarding staff ‘ensures safe and effective practice when working with children and families and supports practitioners to make sound and effective judgements.’ (Bristol Safeguarding Children Board). Staff are supported from the emotional demands of safeguarding, practice is monitored to ensure it adheres to guidance and is evidence based, and training needs are reviewed and planned. Effective supervision means that staff feel ‘held’ and that they are part of a team that cares about their welfare and their work.

Despite all this, I find the delivery of supervision in settings is patchy at best. In the past as a former teacher in a school I had no idea what it was in the first place – ensuring there was no fighting in the playground? So no wonder there is a lot of confusion.