Not a luxury: new podcasts on support and supervision

The latest podcasts from Jo Fox and me are on emotional containment and supervision.

The National Audit Office reported this month that “nationally the quality of help and protection for children is unsatisfactory and inconsistent, suggesting systemic rather than just local failure." The NAO highlighted that:

  • Social workers work in pressured circumstances that can sometimes lead to low morale, high vacancy and turnover rates, and a reliance on temporary staff.
  • Ofsted has found local authorities it judges Good tend to be the ones that give their social workers manageable caseloads.
  • In 2014-15: 16% of children’s social workers were agency staff. In authorities judged Good, the average was 7%, in authorities judged Inadequate it was 22%.
  • In 2014-15: 17% of children’s social worker posts were vacant. In authorities judged Good, the average was 11%, in authorities judged Inadequate it was 22%.

This is another reminder of the importance of social workers being in a posisiton to work safely and well.

We know that supervision is important and that social workers value it. Supervision helps morale, confidence, and retention of staff. However, we also hear from practitioners and managers that good supervision is hard to find.

In these podcasts we make the connection between containment – support to understand, process and learn from the emotional aspect of social work -  and good supervision. Good supervision looks like someone walking out feeling better – less anxious, more confident, clearer about what to do – than when they went in.

We argue that good supervision and day-to-day support is not a luxury. We need it to work safely and to help others. And we talk through the practicalities of what to do if you are not getting good supervision. 

We want all social workers to feel able to take steps to get the supervision that they deserve.

Let us know what you think.