FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Abstract, dissertation, book

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 |

«Bourn, Diana and Hafford-Letchfield, Trish (2011) The role of social work professional supervision in conditions of uncertainty. The International ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Middlesex University Research Repository

An open access repository of

Middlesex University research


Bourn, Diana and Hafford-Letchfield, Trish (2011) The role of social

work professional supervision in conditions of uncertainty. The

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management,

10 (9). pp. 41-56. ISSN 1447-9524

Accepted Version

Available from Middlesex University’s Research Repository at



Middlesex University Research Repository makes the University’s research available electronically.

Copyright and moral rights to this thesis/research project are retained by the author and/or other copyright owners. The work is supplied on the understanding that any use for commercial gain is strictly forbidden. A copy may be downloaded for personal, noncommercial, research or study without prior permission and without charge. Any use of the thesis/research project for private study or research must be properly acknowledged with reference to the work’s full bibliographic details.

This thesis/research project may not be reproduced in any format or medium, or extensive quotations taken from it, or its content changed in any way, without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s).

If you believe that any material held in the repository infringes copyright law, please contact

the Repository Team at Middlesex University via the following email address:

eprints@mdx.ac.uk The item will be removed from the repository while any claim is being investigated.

The role of social work professional supervision in conditions of uncertainty Authors: D.F. Bourn and P. Hafford-Letchfield Abstract In the UK, a number of serious case reviews within social work and social care highlighted systemic failures within care organisations, resulting in wholesale structural reforms aimed at improving services. These have combined with increased inspection and surveillance of professional practice alongside calls for more staff training and supervision. Less attention has been given to examining the cultural aspects of social care organisations that may have contributed to such failures and the potential roles that front line managers play in promoting or mediating organisational culture within their individual relationships with front line staff.

Professional supervision is cited within the social work literature as one of the most effective tools for facilitating and supporting individuals to contain and work with the anxiety that naturally arises within social work. Through its different functions, supervision provides an opportunity for managers to engage staff with the vision of the organisation andits standards.

This paper explores how some of these opportunities are actually utilised and reports on the findings of a small scale qualitative study which captured data of digital visual recordings of management supervision and the managers’ own reflective accounts about the effectiveness of their supervision skills. Closer analysis of this data gave a glimpse into the different roles that managers perform within the supervision context and this paper discusses some of the strategies the managers used to communicate or mediate aspects of organisational culture to individual staff and support them in their stressful jobs. Some tentative recommendations are made regarding the importance of prioritising particular functions of supervision and for managers in providing space for staff to reflect critically on the context in which they work.

These strategies may allow the tacit or taken-for-granted assumptions and beliefs in everyday practice to surface and also to increase the participation and engagement of staff in delivering quality services.

Key words Social work management, professional supervision, organisational culture, critical reflection, social care.

Introduction Reviews of serious cases and critical incidents in social work cite the importance of effective oversight of practice through skilful managerial and professional supervision (Stanley and Manthorpe, 2004; Laming, 2009). It was not until the report of Lord Laming’s Inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié (Laming 2003) that there was a focus on a closer scrutiny of those working at more senior levels within organisations with statutory responsibilities for safeguarding children and adults and of accountability at this level. Laming explicitly blamed the lack of awareness, coordination and communication between politicians and senior officers within strategic partnerships for the difficult conditions faced by practitioners when working with challenging situations. These contributory factors were thus recognised in the serious case reviews as well as the criticisms about the decision-making and practice of individuals responsible for failure to safeguard vulnerable children in the front line (Laming, 2009). More recent inquiries into safeguarding failures of specific children and adults in the UK also found that the quality of front-line practice across all agencies was often inconsistent and ineffectively monitored by line managers (Laming, 2009; Cantrill, 2009). Arrangements for scrutinising performance across an authority and its partnerships were similarly criticised for being insufficiently developed and not providing systematic support or appropriate challenge to managers and practitioners (OFSTED, Healthcare Commission and HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, 2008). A subsequent national social work taskforce (Department for Children Schools and Families, 2009) highlighted poor working conditions on the frontline of services, in which inadequate support for social workers, poor communication and even antagonistic relations between social workers and managers served to work against the capacity of managers to lead and manage services. Managers also experienced unmanageable workloads and expressed unmet needs for support and continuing professional development (Department of Children Schools and Families, 2009). These reports tell us something about the culture of some care organisations in which an atmosphere of uncertainty and blame can lead to defensive versus empowering practice (Cooper, 2005) so that professional supervision becomes more focused on the avoidance of making risky decisions in the context of professionals’ concerns about being pilloried in the media should ‘things go wrong’. The Government Task Force report into the current state of social work in 2009 (Department of Children Schools and Families 2009) stressed the need for improved management and organisational accountability and for clear and binding standards for employers regarding how frontline social work should be better resourced, managed and supported. The subsequent report of the Social Work Reform Board (Department of

Education, 2010) asserts the need for a national framework for standards which includes:

The combination of effective supervision arrangements, together with a suitable working environment, manageable workloads, supportive management systems and access to continuous learning, will help to ensure that social workers are able to provide good and responsive services for children, adults and families. By creating these conditions, employers will help to provide a setting in which social workers

–  –  –

The above statement indicates that social work supervision should not be treated as an isolated activity by incorporating it into the organisation’s social work accountability framework but also as an important mechanism in the process.

Professional supervision is also seen as a key tool within the UK registration and regulatory framework for social work education and within the national leadership and management strategy (General Social Care Council 2007; Skills for Care, 2008; Hartle et al, 2009). The code of practice for social care in England (General Social care Council, 2002), for example, names supervision as a process by which both employers and employees adhere to the standards of practice and conduct expected in social care and as crucial in regulating the workforce and helping to improve levels of professionalism and public protection. These standards and codes are frequently embedded in organisations’ policies and procedures.

Evidence is relatively scant, however, on how managers actually facilitate and promote effective supervision in their day-to-day work. There is insufficient empirical knowledge in the field about the manager’s pivotal but challenging role in improving relationships within and between the organisation and its members and the part that supervision plays in providing a seamless, responsive and accountable services, suggesting that further work is needed on the identification and acquisition of skills, knowledge, confidence and competence in the concrete tools that managers use to provide effective supervision. There is also a need for the purposive fostering of enabling organisational cultures and environments in which professional supervision is situated, given the increasing complexity of services and challenges of the work. The literature provides numerous critiques of the impact of managerialism and marketisation of care services (Clarke and Newman, 1997; Harris, 2002;

Tsui and Cheung, 2004), which have resulted from tensions in introducing traditional leadership and management theory into environments where uncertainty, turbulence and issues of inequality and power are at the core of most of its business (Lawler and Bilson, 2009). All of these issues point towards the need for continuous assessment and development of management skills and the opportunity for managers to get support themselves in providing good quality supervision. Management supervision is one of the ways that managers can gain insight into the everyday work of social work staff, maximise the potential of different stakeholders, manage the process of delegation and monitor and evaluate performance on behalf of the organisation.

This paper reports the preliminary findings from a small-scale qualitative study that looked at what actually happens in social work supervision and the different roles that managers play in the supervision context. It has a particular focus on exploring and evaluating the knowledge and skills used by managers during the process of supervision. Whilst a small study, the findings contribute to research findings about effective supervisory practice through the insights gained into how managers mediate some of the aforementioned different tensions between professions and organisations within care work. It also offers some insight into the strategies used by managers to enhance relationships at the frontline and provides some pointers to the skills required by managers who often have to trade between the needs of supervisees and the organisation in order to support and develop effective and quality practice.

Professional supervision Professional social work supervision is ‘a process by which one worker is given responsibility by the organisation to work with another worker(s) in order to meet certain organisational, professional and personal objectives, which together promote the best outcomes for service users’ (Morrison 2005 p32). The stakeholders of supervision include service users, professionals, managers, the organisation and its key partners, such as in health, education and housing, as well as central government, the latter having an interest in public welfare agencies achieving policy objectives. As a pivotal activity in delivering social work services, supervision is central to achieving quality assurance but has a particular role in developing a skilled and professional workforce (Hafford-Letchfield et al, 2008).

Professional supervision provides a bridge between first-line managers and practitioners.

Recognising the different roles and needs that supervision may be asked to meet also requires the use of contracts and structures for individual supervision and in establishing the supervisory relationship on a more clear and secure footing.

Good quality supervision incorporates learning and support functions; the giving and receiving of critical constructive feedback can create an atmosphere of learning, selfimprovement and strong sense of security while contributing to organisational objectives (Hafford-Letchfield et al, 2008). According to Rogers (2002), the facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities that exist within the relationship. Kadushin (2002) highlights the need for supervising managers to have a good working professional knowledge of the field, skills in coordinating work, setting limits and manageable goals, monitoring progress for front-line workers and creating a climate of belief and trust.

The organisational base of social work supervision is a dominant feature and affects functions, scope, and processes (Bogo and McKnight 2005). Supervision is traditionally seen as having three functions: administrative/ managerial (to achieve competent accountable performance); welfare and personal (to support the professional in work which may be complex and emotionally challenging); and professional development (to ensure staff have the necessary knowledge, skills, values and ethics (Kadushin 2002). The fourth role relates to mediation (between the individual worker and the organisation, and between other professions). Supervision is thus central to effective management, good use of resources and to effective, user-centred professional practice.

Despite these intentions towards good supervisory practice, research describes managers themselves as not only the most stressed workers within social service departments but also the ones who consider themselves to be least well-prepared and supported to do their current job (Balloch et al, 1995; Department for Children, Schools and Families, 2009). There is however limited empirical research into the nature and effectiveness of supervisory practice in social work (Bruce and Austin 2001). Milne (2008) reviewed the empirical research publications and, using the best evidence synthesis method, identified only 24 peer-reviewed articles on the impact of supervision. Yoo (2005) found only 34 research reports between 1950 and 2002, and Bogo and McKnight (2005) found 22 studies, mostly small-scale, between1994 and 2004, half of which were published outside the USA. There has been no large scale systematic study of supervisory practice, particularly in relation to management in social work.

Pages:   || 2 | 3 | 4 |

Similar works:

«A Multicultural Unit: “Let’s Go to Mexico” Lesson Guide for the Elementary Grades Table of Contents Day 1 Packing our Suitcases Lesson 1: Boarding the Airplane Lesson 2: Learning the Geography of Mexico Lesson 3: Making Polvorones, Mexican Wedding Cookies: An Airplane Snack Lesson 4: Day 2 Counting in Spanish Lesson 5: Enjoying Chocolate, a Mexican Beverage and Song Lesson 6: Introducing the Marketplace Lesson 7: Day 3 Visiting a Mexican Marketplace Lesson 8: Constructing a Mexican Home...»

«Tätigkeitsbericht 2010 der Bundesärztekammer Tätigkeitsbericht 2010 der Bundesärztekammer Tätigkeitsbericht 2010 der Bundesärztekammer dem 114. Deutschen Ärztetag in Kiel vorgelegt von Vorstand und Geschäftsführung Bundesärztekammer Deutscher Ärztetag Mit den in diesem Werk verwandten Personenund Berufsbezeichnungen sind – auch wenn sie nur in einer Form auftreten – gleichwertig beide Geschlechter gemeint. Die bis 2006 im Tätigkeitsbericht der Bundesärztekammer...»

«CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE COMPANY PRESENTS: William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the English town of Stratford-upon-Avon. The son of John Shakespeare, a successful glove maker and public official, and Mary Arden, the daughter of a gentleman, William was the oldest surviving sibling of eight children. Throughout Shakespeare’s childhood, companies of touring actors visited Stratford. Although there is no evidence to prove that Shakespeare ever saw these actors perform, most scholars agree...»

«PersPektive 2020/2030 26 Maßnahmenbündel für eine zukunftssichernde klimapolitik in der steiermark Ausgabe 2010 Ident-Nr. A-10075 Klimakompensierte Produktion Klimakompensierte Produktion Ident-Nr. A-10075 www.climate-austria.at www.climate-austria.at Klimakompensierte Produktion Klimakompensierte Produktion www.climate-austria.at www.climate-austria.at Kennzeichnung Förderung für vorbildliche nachhaltiger Waldwirtschaft Waldwirtschaft HCA-COC-10029 PEFC/06-39-22 Gedruckt nach der...»

«Introduction to Leisure Services: Career Perspectives Richard Kraus Elizabeth Barber Ira Shapiro Temple University Sagamore Publishing Inc. Champaign, Illinois © 2001 Richard Kraus, Elizabeth Barber and Ira Shapiro All Rights Reserved. Production Manager: Janet Wahlfeldt Book Layout: Jennifer Polson Cover Design: Charles Peters Front Cover Photo by PhotoDisc ISBN: 1-57167-482-9 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 00-107471 SAGAMORE PUBLISHING 804 North Neil Street Champaign, Illinois...»

«AQUAD 7 DAS PROGRAMM ZUR ANALYSE QUALITATIVER DATEN Günter L. Huber Leo Gürtler Softwarevertrieb Günter Huber Copyright Alle Rechte vorbehalten. Ohne ausdrückliche, schriftliche Zustimmung der Autoren ist es nicht gestattet, das Manual oder Teile davon in irgend einer Form durch Druck, Fotokopie, Mikrofilm oder Einspeicherung und Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen zu vervielfältigen oder zu verbreiten. Das selbe gilt für die Rechte der öffentlichen Wiedergabe und der Übersetzung in...»

«Научный журнал КубГАУ, №104(10), 2014 года 1 УДК 575:75 UDC575:75 ПРОИЗВЕДЕНИЯ ЖИВОПИСИ В PAINTINGS IN TEACHING THE DISCIPLINE ПРЕПОДАВАНИИ ДИСЦИПЛИНЫ OF GENETIC MONITORING «ГЕНЕТИЧЕСКИЙ МОНИТОРИНГ» Цаценко Людмила Владимировна Tsatsenko Luidmila Vladimirovna д.б.н., профессор, кафедра генетики, селекции и Dr.Sci.Biol., professor,...»

«Ellis Island Tie In Edition It products examining to read this live course with notification Lupin foreclosure basis, control people, person neighborhood, and harmful you need Ellis Island: Tie-in Edition used Ellis Island: Tie-in Edition that your information and in drink. At you are two otherwise he clearly do some many life of the free amount credit. In a visit is, all the inquiry would do to be many members. Although Service tracks a visit so Convenience, and is, them could be categorized...»

«DISCUSSION PAPER SERIES IZA DP No. 1203 Distrust – The Hidden Cost of Control Armin Falk Michael Kosfeld July 2004 Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit Institute for the Study of Labor Distrust – The Hidden Cost of Control Armin Falk IZA Bonn, University of Bonn Michael Kosfeld University of Zurich Discussion Paper No. 1203 July 2004 IZA P.O. Box 7240 53072 Bonn Germany Phone: +49-228-3894-0 Fax: +49-228-3894-180 Email: iza@iza.org Any opinions expressed here are those of the author(s)...»

«Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro Centro de Educação e Humanidades Instituto de Letras Paulo Lúcio Scheffer Lima Till death do us part: love and the representation of the individual in four tragedies by William Shakespeare Rio de Janeiro Livros Grátis http://www.livrosgratis.com.br Milhares de livros grátis para download. Paulo Lúcio Scheffer Lima Till death do us part: love and the representation of the individual in four tragedies by William Shakespeare Dissertação apresentada...»

«Romantic European Nostalgia: Japanese 'Gosurori' Fashion Noriko Onohara Abstract This paper will introduce and detail a current Japanese fashion style called Gosurori (Gosufrom Gothic and -rori from Lolita), and it will be distinguished from a more general and seemingly similar, though quite different, fashion trend called cosupurei (or cosplay, costume play). Gosurori fashion seems to be a chaotic style, with dark Gothic clothing, accessories, and makeup mixed together with the cute looks of a...»

«PB00-910401 ‘I NTSB/AAR-00/01 DCA97MA058 NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD WASHINGTON, D.C. 20594 AIRCRAFT ACCIDENT REPORT CONTROLLED FLIGHT INTO TERRAIN KOREAN AIR FLIGHT 801 BOEING 747-300, HL7468 NIMITZ HILL, GUAM AUGUST 6, 1997 6952B National Transportation Safety Board. 2000. Controlled Flight Into Terrain, Korean Air Flight 801, Boeing 747-300, HL7468, Nimitz Hill, Guam, August 6, 1997. Aircraft Accident Report NTSB/AAR-00/01. Washington, DC. Abstract: This report explains the...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.abstract.xlibx.info - Free e-library - Abstract, dissertation, book

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.