Monthly supervision not a reality for some Welsh graduates

A significant minority of newly-qualified social workers in Wales are receiving supervision less than once a month, a survey has found.

A survey for the Care Council for Wales found that 22.8% received professional supervision less than once a month and 24.1% received line-management supervision less than once a month. In three-quarters of cases, professional and line management supervision were delivered in the same session.

The Swansea University survey of 64 graduates who qualified in 2007 or early 2008 found two had never had line-management supervision and three had never had professional supervision. The poll was carried out last summer when 90% of the sample were employed in a social work role.

The report, published this week, is the first of three annual surveys of graduates designed to inform future workforce planning.

Supervision: mixed views

The poll found the average caseload was 22.5 per social worker, but it ranged from nine to 50.

More than 40% had not been given an induction in their first year of practice, though almost half of this group had already undertaken such a programme.

Two-thirds were at least satisfied with the frequency of supervision, although a third were either dissatisfied or had mixed views.

Job satisfaction

Although three-quarters said they were pleased with their current job, a quarter reported a “strong desire” to leave due to poor morale and high workloads. 

Nearly a third of graduates – 80% of whom were female, with an average age of 35 years – were frustrated by the amount of administration and paperwork they had to do.

However, more than 80% found achieving positive outcomes for service users rewarding, with the most enjoyable aspects of the job being working with service users, team work, and advocacy.

Over 70% of those in social work jobs felt at least mostly satisfied with the way the degree had prepared them for practice, while a majority felt that their practice learning placements had provided essential practical experience.

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