Our Approach to Supervision

We believe that supervision is integral to the delivery of high quality practice across health, social care and other human services and that the development of effective relationships between supervisors and supervisees throughout the system is fundamental to improving outcomes for service users.

Although empirical research is limited, there is accumulating evidence from research and practice of the importance of supervision. Studies have shown that good supervision is associated with job satisfaction, commitment to the organisation, staff retention and employees’ perceptions of the support they receive from their employers (Carpenter et al 2012). In addition, employers need a forum where the quality of practice can be scrutinised, staff’s development needs explored and workers given the opportunity to:

  • Explore the emotional impact of the work.
  • Manage anxiety.
  • Consider how their own biases and beliefs may be affecting practice.
  • Reflect on the dynamic of the interaction between themselves and those using services.
  • Develop their own interpersonal skills.
  • Use their intellectual capabilities to form professional judgements, decisions and plans.

Our model of supervision, based on the work of Tony Morrison[1] and our director Jane Wonnacott[2] and helps organisations to deliver a style of supervision that takes account of all of these factors.  It will help organisations to meet the requirements of Standard 5 of The Standards for Employers of Social Workers in England, published by LGA on behalf of the Social Work Reform partners.

We believe that a whole system approach is necessary for the delivery of effective supervision with senior managers engaged in establishing the supervision culture and expressing this through a clear policy statement which includes a clear commitment to delivering effective supervision throughout the organisation. An important part of this approach is ongoing development opportunities for supervisors and regular opportunities for them to reflect on their practice. Action Learning Sets are a particularly useful way of meeting this need. Observation of supervision sessions are an important part of this process as well working with supervisees to establish an understanding of what they should expect from supervision and engaging them in the feedback process.

We have a large team of expert associates who have been trained by our Director, Jane Wonnacott and the late Tony Morrison to deliver high quality effective supervision in a range of settings.

We offer a modular approach to ensuring that supervisors build the skills and knowledge they need to deliver effective supervision in challenging environments. Mastering Social Work Supervision written by Jane Wonnacott and published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers is available as the course reader.

[1] Morrison, T. (2005) Staff Supervision in Social Care. Brighton Pavilion

[2] Wonnacott, J. (2012) Mastering Social Work Supervision. London: JKP

Supervision Now or Never – read more

What we can offer

We have developed a range of services designed to support organisations in developing and maintaining high quality supervision.

  • Supervision Policy Development – working alongside the senior management team in order develop a policy that meets the specific needs of the organisation. We are able to run workshops for senior managers (or senior managers together with front line supervisors) in order to consider the implications of the new policy and how to maintain and sustain a positive supervision culture across the service.
  • Quality audit – using focus groups and staff surveys to evaluate the quality of supervision across the organisation.  As part of this service we are able to work in partnership with PeopleSurv a company specialising is bespoke staff surveys. Peoplesurv have a particular expertise in the supervision field and can provide a range of data in order to assist in the evaluation and development of supervision delivery.
  • Supervision Observation – this is delivered as part of a training programme. The trainer observes a supervision session in the workplace and uses an appreciative inquiry approach to work with the supervisor and supervisee to reflect on the session and areas for development.  Ideally this approach is then sustained by the organisation and we are able to run workshops for senior managers on developing skills in observing and developing supervision practice.
  • Action Learning Sets for supervisors. A traditional action learning set approach is used whereby a small closed group (approx 8) supervisors work together over time to reflect on and analyse their supervision practice and take actions back to the workplace. The usual length of an action learning set is one half day every six weeks.
  • Supervision training – a range of supervision courses have been developed. These are set out on the following pages but we are always willing to discuss individual requirements.

Accreditation and Assessment of Training

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

In-Trac Supervision courses have been accredited by the CPD certification service.


Clearly very experienced and knowledgeable on the subject and this made it all the more engaging.

MH, Coventry