Consultation launched on knowledge and skills statement for adults’ social work ‘supervisors’

Department of Health also seeks views on whether national accreditation system for child and family social work should be applied to adults’ services

Couple and social worker completing paperwork
Photo: John Birdsall/Rex (posed by models)

The Department of Health is seeking views on a knowledge and skills statement for a new ‘practice supervisor’ status in adults’ social work.

The status, which has already been consulted on for children’s social work will apply to senior social workers with responsibility for supervising frontline staff in adults’ services.

The statement sets out what adults’ practice supervisors should know and be able to do to ensure social workers are provided with effective professional supervision.

This includes being able to support a practitioner through a professional learning and development programme, confidently assess social work practice, and adopt a strengths-based approach to supervision by coaching and mentoring social workers.

‘Empowering best practice’

The consultation document states that practice supervision can be performed by social workers operating at the levels of ‘experienced social worker’ and ‘advanced level or social work manager’ within the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF). The PCF was originally developed by the Social Work Reform board and is now managed by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW).

The knowledge and skills (KSS) statement has therefore been informed by the PCF and the capability statements which apply to all nine domains at these two levels, as well as the Department for Education’s KSS for practice supervisors in children’s services.

It includes nine individual statements covering:

  • social work values and ethics
  • relationship-based practice supervision
  • critical analysis and decision making
  • power and authority
  • performance management and improvement
  • developing excellent social workers and
  • promoting good social work practice and development.

Lyn Romeo, chief social worker for adults’, said in her blog that social work supervisors were vital to enabling and empowering best practice” and creating spaces in which social workers can learn, improve their practice, and grow in confidence.

She added that the KSS statement “raises the bar for social work supervision and consolidates excellent practice at the heart of adult social care”.

‘Assessment and accreditation’

The consultation also asks practitioners to submit their views on how the practice supervisor status should be assessed, particularly whether a similar system to that used in the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) could be used.

The document outlines a series of proposals, including that assessment and accreditation would be jointly managed between employers and universities, and should be closely aligned to the employer’s appraisal and performance management system.

It proposes that principal social workers should have overall responsibility for supporting and appointing the assessors of practice supervisors.

The consultation closes at 5pm on 26 January 2018. Submit your response.

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