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1.2.1 Supervision: Procedure and Practice Guidance

AMENDMENT

This chapter was entirely revised and updated in October 2017 and should be re-read in full.


Contents

 

Procedure

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose
  3. Frequency
  4. Confidentiality and Records Management
  5. Ensuring Effective Supervision
  6. Functions / Content of Supervision
  7. Recording of Supervision
  8. Unit Meetings
  9. Additional Forms of Support and Supervision
 

Practice Guidance

  1. Introduction
  2. Purpose
  3. Functions of Supervision
  4. Case Management Guidance
  5. Reflective Supervision
  6. Workload and Performance Management
  7. Roles and Responsibilities
  8. Knowledge and Skills for Practice Supervisors
  9. Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)
  10. Additional Forms of Support and Supervision

Procedure


1. Introduction

This document provides a framework for one to one supervision for all C&F staff working for Cambridgeshire County Council. It has been written to meet the responsibilities of the Council and the needs of service users, staff and their supervisors, regardless of the professional area in which they work. It applies equally to full and part time staff and to contracted as well as permanent employees.

It operates in addition to the council’s standard requirements for Managing Performance and Supervision and is supported by practice guidance and standards.


2. Purpose

The overall purpose is to ensure that good quality supervision is provided consistently to all staff and is geared towards the management, motivation, support and development of each individual. It is integral to ensuring that casework is effective and delivers the sought outcomes for children and their families. From the local authority perspective it will be monitored and quality assured to ensure it is both effective and safe.

Supervision is mandatory for all staff, whilst the content and frequency will vary according to roles and responsibilities. All staff having direct contact with children and their families must receive supervision on this element of their work.

Supervision is a key component of the quality assurance and performance management processes within the service. Recording case supervision provides evidence of supervisory oversight, management contribution and the endorsement of practice.

Effective supervision also supports and monitors the progress of staff towards targets set at appraisal. Further guidance about the Council’s appraisal process can be found here:

CCC Appraisal and performance management documents


3. Frequency

Supervision should take place as often as is required to ensure that the employee is competent and confident in their role and that their work is safe and effective.

All references to timescale in this section are to minimum frequencies.

Role Frequency Additional Comments
ASYE Every 2 weeks For first 6 months, then 4 weekly following review.
All other social work staff Every 4 weeks May be supplemented by Unit Meetings.
All other C&F staff Every 4 weeks Teaching staff frequency to be linked to terms.

For part time staff, an arrangement appropriate to the role and working hours should be agreed. It is suggested that supervision should take place every 20 working days.

The supervisor should take account of the supervisee’s level of experience and competence (not necessarily the same as length of service) and any current performance or personal concerns and meet more often where appropriate.

Where the supervisee is in their probationary period they should receive more frequent supervision. These may involve shorter sessions but will enable the supervisor to assess their suitability for permanent employment and help ensure an effective relationship develops.

Supervision must be prioritised by managers and staff alike. Every effort must be made to avoid cancellation such that it is only postponed in exceptional and unforeseen circumstance and with the agreement of both parties. Any postponed session must be reconvened within 5 working days.

All supervision sessions should be booked on the electronic calendar annually in advance and planned dates recorded in the supervisee’s personal supervision folder.


4. Confidentiality and Records Management

Supervision is a private but not a confidential process. This means that the records are the property of the organisation, not the individual. From time to time supervisors may need to disclose the content of supervision sessions to others and supervisees should be aware of this. This could include:

  • Other managers (for line management and quality assurance purposes);
  • Investigating officers (for case reviews, disciplinary investigations, etc.);
  • Inspectors/auditors/performance staff (including OFSTED and internal audit).

Supervision records should be signed by both supervisor and supervisee, scanned and saved securely. Copies should be stored in the supervisee’s electronic folder, held by their line manager with a copy given to the supervisee.

Access to supervision records should be controlled and all records must be locked away / stored securely so that only those entitled can access them.

The Individual Supervision Agreement and the supervision recording forms must be kept on the supervisee’s personal supervision file, along with other documents such as appraisals, sickness records and correspondence.

When a supervisee leaves the council the records should be retained for six years and then shredded. Where a member of staff transfers to another section or supervisor within the service their records should be passed on to the new supervisor.


5. Ensuring Effective Supervision

All managers should attend at least basic supervision training before taking on a supervision role.

It is recognised that supervision is a developmental process largely dependent upon the quality of the relationship between the supervisor and the supervisee. Effective supervision will be supported by a style of supervision that pays attention to the quality and dynamics of the relationship between the supervisor and supervisee.

Understanding individual learning styles is critical to this relationship and managers should consider how these are likely to influence the supervisee and their practice.

All supervisory relationships must be based upon a formal written agreement.

This establishes the basis upon which the supervisor and supervisee will work together during one to one supervisions. It should be developed through negotiation and clarify the roles and responsibilities of both parties to create a safe, secure and effective supervisory setting.

The agreement should cover:

  • Frequency, duration, venue of sessions;
  • Cancellation and re-booking;
  • Availability of supervisor between times;
  • Ground rules, inc confidentiality, personal support, etc;
  • Roles and responsibilities; expectations of each other;
  • Content of supervision; agenda setting;
  • Preparation for individual sessions;
  • Recording of supervision;
  • Recording of case discussions/decisions;
  • Resolution of any difficulties that might arise.

Agreements should be recorded on the agreed Pro-forma.

Many employees will come to the relationship with previous experience of being supervised and may have ideas about what has worked well for them in the past. Consideration should be given to using a Supervision History document to inform a discussion about past experiences, learning styles and how best to work together.

The supervisory relationship is critical to ensuring that employees are supported to undertake their work effectively and develop as professionals to their full potential.

Supervisees should always discuss any issues or concerns in the first instance with their supervisor and endeavour to reach an agreement within the normal supervision process. If an issue cannot be resolved by discussion with the supervisor, the supervisee should raise the issue with their supervisor’s manager.

This should be explicitly acknowledged in the Supervision Agreement.


6. Functions / Content of Supervision

The main elements of effective supervision are:

  • Case management:
    • Review of actions/decisions from previous session;
    • Case discussion, risk analysis, progress review and action planning;
    • Focus on child/family with planning informed by their views;
    • Reflection on case dynamics, reviewing approaches, seeking effective ways forward;
    • Allocation of tasks;
    • All cases must be reviewed at least every twelve weeks.
  • Workload and performance management:
    • Progress towards PDP goals;
    • Ensuring supervisee has/develops the skills and knowledge for the required tasks;
    • Utilisation of policies, procedures and practice standards;
    • Monitoring caseload and capacity;
    • Ensuring confidence and competence; addressing and supporting any shortfall.
  • Professional training and development:
    • Helping supervisee to understand their own learning style;
    • Planning and promoting training opportunities;
    • Reflection on, and implementation of, new learning;
    • The role of the individual within the wider organisation; career planning.
  • Personal support:
    • Safe environment to disclose/explore personal issues, including impact of the job;
    • Managing attendance and the impact of any personal or health issues.


7. Recording of Supervision

The recording of supervision sessions is the responsibility of the supervisor.

All supervision sessions must review any matters arising from the previous session.

The recording of supervision takes place in two ways. ‘Casework supervision’ relates to casework issues about individual children and their families. ‘Personal supervision’ covers the support and personal development aspects of supervision.

For social work staff, casework supervision relating to individual children must be recorded on ICS using the supervision exemplar not a case note. Any line management discussions affecting planning or decision-making for individual children must also be recorded in this way. Case discussion in Unit Meetings should be recorded on the Unit Meeting exemplar. Both exemplars will pre-populate the ICS Chronology.

Supervisors should complete ICS supervision exemplars contemporaneously. The supervision record should also be completed during the session but where this is not possible the supervisee should receive a copy of the record form within 5 working days.

Unit Meeting records should be on ICS within 24 hours.

For non-social work services, any decisions which are made during caseload supervision about individual cases must be recorded on a caseload supervision record and updated on the relevant case management system with the heading ‘supervision’. The supervisee must update the relevant caseload management system within one week of the supervision date. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that this has taken place. On ONE the category ‘supervision’ should be used in the communication summary.

Personal supervision relating to the support and development of staff must be recorded on the supervision recording form. Supervision recording forms must also note which cases have been discussed during supervision but not include case details.

All handwritten records must be legible.

The supervision record must be signed and dated by both parties. If there is any unresolved disagreement about the contents, this should be recorded by the supervisor. A copy should be retained by both parties and the document scanned and added to the supervision file.


8. Unit Meetings

Unit Meetings are central to the effectiveness of the Unit model and involve all Unit members in group discussion about all the cases held by the unit, such that there is a shared understanding of, and responsibility for, the Unit caseload.

Meetings are normally chaired by the CSW who will chair and facilitate the case work discussion, ensuring that there is critical analysis and reflection on cases, clear plans are identified, tasks are allocated appropriately, performance standards are complied with and that the wellbeing of the Unit is considered in relation to the nature of the work in hand. In the absence of the CSW the meeting would generally be chaired by the GM.

Unit meeting minutes must be signed off by the CSW or, in their absence, the GM.


9. Additional Forms of Support and Supervision

Case discussions, decision-making and the formulation of care plans can take place in a range of other settings, though where these affect the direction of the case it is important to be clear where case accountability lies and any changes of plan must be ‘owned’ by the case accountable service.

These approaches are in addition to, and not a replacement for, the requirement for individual supervision.

Examples include:

  • Unplanned or ‘ad hoc’ supervision:
    • Staff often have to “check something out” with a supervisor, obtain a decision or gain permission to do something in between formal supervision sessions;
    • Also, staff who work closely with their supervisor will be communicating daily about work issues, problems arising and changes in policies or procedures. This is a particular feature of the Unit model;
    • Any decisions made with regard to a service user must be clearly recorded on their ICS file. This should be entered under case notes with the heading “Managers comments”.
  • Group supervision:
    • Groups of staff all involved in the same task may meet in supervision groups with a supervisor. The focus of group supervision is usually on consultation and on sharing good practice and resolving difficult cases or situations.
  • Clinician led ‘Think Family’ consultation:
    • ‘Think Family’ consultation is provided by the Clinician Service with the primary aim of supporting staff to develop effective ‘Think Family’ practice. This is achieved by supporting front-line professionals to enhance relationships between themselves and the family; enhance relationships within the team around the family (TAF) and by signposting staff towards evidence based interventions. Think Family consultation is delivered both in groups and in one to one consultations;
    • Importantly, any suggestions or recommendations about a specific case must be discussed within line management before being implemented.
  • Clinical supervision:
    • This is an opportunity for all Health Care Professionals to discuss issues regarding their personal and professional development in order to reflect on and learn from their clinical experience.
  • Coaching and mentoring:
    • This involves practitioners identifying an individual to use as a ‘role model’. There is considerable scope for meeting both formative and restorative needs as the coach/mentor has usually "been there" and, being without an organisational mandate, is free to focus exclusively on practitioner needs.

Practice Guidance


1. Introduction

This document outlines good practice and standards for one-to-one supervision for all C&F staff working for Cambridgeshire County Council. It supports the procedure entitled ‘Supervision’ and has been written to meet the responsibilities of the Council and the needs of service users, staff and their supervisors, regardless of the professional area in which they work. It applies equally to full and part-time staff and to contracted as well as permanent employees.

It operates in addition to the council’s standard requirements for Managing Performance and Supervision.


2. Purpose

The overall purpose is to ensure that good quality supervision is provided consistently to all staff and is geared towards the management, motivation, support and training of each individual. It is integral to ensuring that casework is effective and delivers the sought outcomes for children and their families. From the local authority perspective it will be monitored and quality assured to ensure it is both effective and safe.

Supervision is mandatory for all staff, whilst the content and frequency will vary according to roles and responsibilities. All staff having direct contact with children and their families must receive supervision on this element of their work.

Supervision is a key component of the quality assurance and performance management processes within the service. Recording case supervision provides evidence of supervisory oversight, management contribution and the endorsement of practice.

Effective supervision also supports and monitors the progress of staff towards targets set at appraisal. Further guidance about the Council’s appraisal process can be found here:

CCC Appraisal and performance management documents


3. Functions of Supervision

The main elements of effective supervision are:

  • Case management;
  • Workload and performance management;
  • Professional training and development;
  • Personal support.


4. Case Management Guidance

  1. Alongside professional supervision, it is mandatory that all front-line practitioners receive caseload supervision. This may be undertaken at the same time as one-to-one supervision but will cover distinct areas in relation to casework. This will be different depending upon the professional discipline. Sessions should be pre-arranged with an agreed agenda to discuss an agreed number of cases;
  2. To ensure it is effective:
    • Front-line practitioners will receive caseload supervision from their line manager at least 4 weekly (fortnightly for ASYEs in first six months);
    • All line managers providing supervision will also receive caseload management supervision from their line manager through random sampling or audit processes;
    • The supervisee in both of these circumstances is responsible for preparing case summaries for discussion;
    • The line manager is responsible for selecting cases to be supervised.
  3. Caseload supervision must be recorded on a separate form to professional supervision using the caseload supervision form.

    As a minimum it should cover:
    • Findings of, and feedback from, any case audit/review;
    • Use of performance information to support work planning and decision making;
    • Allocation of new cases when appropriate;
    • A brief review of all cases;
    • An in-depth discussion of an agreed number of cases using appropriate information (all cases to be looked at in depth over 3 months);
    • Any safeguarding concerns including concerns around CSE, Prevent, gang related activity and other LSCB priority areas (e.g. toxic trio) and updates on any referrals made to social care;
    • Any barriers to positive outcomes for children and their families;
    • Planning/agreeing next steps for positive progression.
  4. Caseload supervision should offer an opportunity to reflect on factors which may impact on the child/family and how to explore or respond to these. This list is not exhaustive but can be used as a checklist for supervisors:
    • Progress Against plan/objectives: Child Protection, CIN, TAF, LAC care plan, etc;
    • Any missing from home episodes – whether completed in full including recording, and follow-up actions as well as timeliness of response;
    • Mental health and emotional well-being;
    • Substance misuse (and use of any screening tools);
    • Domestic abuse;
    • Impact of SEND (children and/or carers);
    • Poverty and worklessness;
    • Access to and inclusion in education;
    • The voice and views of family members including young people, children and both male and female carers;
    • Difficulties in engaging families;
    • Access to helpful resources in the community or wider family network;
    • FGM, radicalization (PREVENT), involvement with gangs, CSE;
    • The impact of family culture/ethnicity;
    • Compliance with use of the Think Family approach including recording of family progress data and issues relating to the lead professional role.


5. Reflective Supervision

The delivery of reflective supervision requires a supervisor to have an awareness of their supervision relationship with the worker and allows a mixing of case management and reflection within the supervision session. Through this, supervision becomes a joint approach to examining practice.

Research has shown that supervision usually consists of a case conversation on the current situation in the family and the immediate concerns from the worker, which is then met with a response that provides a solution usually based on a process (meeting/action) which gives the worker no time to explore deeper and learn from the supervisor. This process is repeated for each case, the supervisee comes away with a list of tasks but is often left feeling as frustrated or concerned about the case as before supervision.

Reflective supervision brings a more focused approach to exploring the ‘experience’ of the worker, allowing them to move on to thinking about the emotional response (theirs and the child/family’s) before focussing on analysis (legal context, strength and risk, structural and psychological explanations, etc) in a more systemic way. Only after this should actions and forward planning be examined. This approach can then produce a more creative plan that can look at the family’s solutions or alternative provision to lessen reliance on statutory provision.

Using reflective supervision techniques helps lessen the worker’s feeling that supervision is a form of surveillance and control. Instead it moves towards a collaborative model that enables supervisors to deliver practice leadership and expertise, whilst workers are enabled to use supervision as a tool for learning and development.

This could be described in four stages: experience, reflection, analysis and action planning:

  • Experience – working with the supervisee to understand what is happening in their current practice. Where this relates directly to work with people who use services it is an opportunity to make sure that their perspective is introduced into the discussion.
  • Reflection – engaging with the supervisee to explore their feelings, reactions and intuitive responses. This is an opportunity to discuss any anxieties and acknowledge situations where stress may be impacting on their work. Where the discussion relates to specific work with people who use services it is an opportunity to explore any assumptions and biases that might be driving practice. This can be an important element of working with diversity and promoting anti-oppressive practice.
  • Analysis – helping the supervisee to consider the meaning of the current situation and use their knowledge of similar situations to inform their thinking. At this point alternative explanations may be explored and, where the needs of a service user are being discussed, this is an opportunity to consider the relevance of research and practice knowledge. This in turn may be useful in identifying any learning and development needs for the supervisee.
  • Action planning – working with the supervisee to identify where they wish to get to and how they are going to get there. Action will automatically result in a need to re-engage with the experience of carrying out identified plans.

When this approach is used in practice, the supervisor:

  • Should not feel that each stage of the cycle must rigidly follow the last – there will be many times when the conversation moves back and forth between the stages;
  • Should try and use mainly open questions in order to facilitate discussion and explore the supervisee’s perspective;
  • Must resist the ‘short circuit’ which moves directly from experience to action and does not engage at all with reflection and analysis;
  • Could practise using the cycle in both formal situations and in ad hoc supervisory conversations.


6. Workload and Performance Management

Practice evidence suggests that supervisees value supervisors who can address difficult issues in an open and honest way rather than focusing on blame and criticism. Challenging practice and creating an environment where it is possible to learn from mistakes are essential elements in any supervisory relationship.

To tackle performance issues in a positive way, supervisors benefit from:

  • Self-awareness – recognising their own impact on others;
  • A ‘positive expectations’ approach: starting from the basis that staff generally want to do a good job;
  • Knowledge of the factors that might affect performance, including where the supervisor may be a contributory factor;
  • An understanding of the factors affecting motivation to change;
  • Skills in listening, giving constructive feedback and motivating others.

The effective use of authority is fundamental to the supervision process and can be seen as comprising:

  • Role authority;
  • Personal authority;
  • Professional authority.

All three are important in establishing an effective relationship which promotes development and allows constructive challenges. Supervisees who feel secure with their supervisor and respect their integrity are most likely to be honest about their learning needs and able to learn from both successes and mistakes. Supervisors who feel confident in their own knowledge, skill base and professional authority are also more likely to facilitate discussions which challenge and stretch their supervisees. Additionally, the capacity of supervisors to feel confident enough in their role to admit the limits of their knowledge, including when to secure additional input for the supervisee, is crucial. This may be through arranging a one-off consultation or additional clinical supervision, particularly if the supervisor and supervisee are from different professional backgrounds.

Achieving a balance is also likely to prevent the misuse of authority or an overemphasis on task completion, which may occur where role authority is emphasised at the expense of personal or professional authority.

Managing performance where there are concerns about practice can be one of the most challenging aspects of supervision. Managing performance within supervision does not exist in isolation. In order to be effective, supervisors need:

  • A performance management framework refer to HR;
  • Written supervision agreement;
  • Opportunities to observe practice and record quality of performance;
  • A good knowledge of the individual worker;
  • Time and energy to supervise;
  • Managerial and human resources advice;
  • Emotional support.

Effective supervision also supports and monitors the progress of staff towards targets set at appraisal. Further guidance about the Council’s appraisal process can be found here:

CCC Appraisal and performance management documents


7. Roles and Responsibilities

The roles of supervisor and supervisee within supervision will be largely determined by the work context, though there are many common themes.

The role of the supervisor may include, to:

  • Ensure caseloads are effectively allocated, managed and reviewed;
  • Revisit action plans from previous meetings to assess whether goals, targets or objectives have been met or plans need to be adjusted;
  • Identify risks to families and practitioners and discuss/agree appropriate action;
  • Monitor and develop the practitioner’s competence to assess, plan, implement and review their work;
  • Ensure practitioners are clear about their accountabilities and the limits of their individual and organisational authority and duties;
  • Ensure work with children, young people and families is focused on outcomes and the needs of the child and that their views are considered in service design and delivery;
  • Obtain and give timely feedback on practitioner practice;
  • Identify learning needs and integrate them within development plans;
  • Create opportunities for learning and development;
  • Assess and review performance, challenge poor practice and ensure improvements in standards;
  • Encourage and enable multi-disciplinary, integrated and collaborative working;
  • Enable practitioners to reflect on supervision issues and act on outcomes;
  • Monitor and review own supervision practice and learning, reflecting on the processes and implement improvements to supervision;
  • Give and receive constructive feedback on the supervisory relationship and supervision practice;
  • Ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of supervisees.

The role of the supervisee may include, to:

  • Actively participate in the supervisory process and come to sessions well prepared;
  • Explain actions / methods taken in practice and accept and respond to feedback;
  • Discuss areas for potential improvement in an open and constructive manner;
  • Revisit action plans from previous meetings to assess whether goals, targets or objectives have been met;
  • Consider whether there is anything affecting their performance;
  • Identify risks to children or families and implement agreed actions;
  • Ensure work with children, young people and families is focused on outcomes and the needs of the child and that their views are considered in service delivery;
  • Reflect on supervision issues and act on outcomes;
  • Give and receive constructive feedback on the supervisory relationship and supervision practice;
  • Raise any concerns relating to the health, safety or wellbeing or themselves or their colleagues.


8. Knowledge and Skills for Practice Supervisors

The National Assessment and Accreditation System (NAAS) introduces three main categories of social worker: Approved Child and Family Practitioners, Practice Supervisors and Practice Leader.

Practice Supervisors are qualified social workers whose primary function is to supervise the practice and decision-making of Approved Child and Family Practitioners, and to develop the skills of individuals and teams within child and family social work services. This requires experience of working with a high level of social complexity and risk of harm, and is likely to require substantial experience of working within the statutory system.

‘Knowledge and Skills Statements’ have been drawn up by the Principal Social Worker for Children and Families Social Work to define what skills and knowledge is needed for effective social work at the 3 levels. Social Workers taking on these roles should refer to the statements to see what standard is expected and what development activities are available to them. Further information about expectations, accreditation and progression will be published as the NAAS is implemented both nationally and within Cambridgeshire and is also available at:

Knowledge and skills statements for practice leaders and practice supervisors (November 2015)


9. Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE)

The support and supervision of newly qualified social workers (NQSW) is particularly important to ensure the continuation of their education into practice whilst giving them a solid foundation for their future career.

The Supervisor/ Assessor’s role is outlined in ‘Skills for Care’:

  • Provide management oversight of casework;
  • Provide clear feedback on progress;
  • Ensure that the NQSW’s training and development time commitment is considered when allocating pieces of work and monitoring caseload;
  • Provide and attend reflective supervision as per the Record of Support and Progressive Assessment learning agreement;
  • Complete a minimum of two Formal Direct Observations of practice (or three where there is no other person to complete the third);
  • Liaise/agree with the NQSW about who will best complete the informal observation;
  • Complete quarterly reviews of development and progress;
  • Support the NQSW with the development of their portfolio in supervision and verify the practice evidence presented;
  • Contribute to the NQSW’s self-assessment against the Knowledge and Skills at the beginning and after 6 and 12 months and use this to inform the Professional Development Plans;
  • Complete the final assessment of progress over the ASYE;
  • Check the NQSW’s portfolio to ensure that it is complete and fully anonymised prior to submission to panel;
  • Ensure the Assessor’s line manager also checks the portfolio and endorses the submission to panel.


10. Additional Forms of Support and Supervision

Case discussions, decision-making and the formulation of care plans can take place in a range of other settings, though where these affect the direction of the case it is important to be clear where case accountability lies and any changes of plan must be ‘owned’ by the case accountable service.

These approaches are in addition to, and not a replacement for, the requirement for individual supervision:

Group supervision

Groups of staff all involved in the same task may meet in supervision groups with a supervisor. The focus of group supervision is usually on consultation and on sharing good practice and resolving difficult cases or situations. Supervisors need to be mindful that not all employees feel comfortable in large groups and may not wish to speak or raise their individual issues in a group situation.

Confidentiality will also need to be clarified with individuals and the group at the outset of the supervision arrangement and whenever a new person joins the group.

Group supervision might be suitable for relief, sessional or project staff, or for volunteers.

All group supervision sessions should be documented and copies of records should be shared with all members of the group. The professional supervision form can be used to document group supervision sessions.

All staff should be made aware of how to raise individual concerns with their supervisor or line manager if group supervision sessions are not appropriate.

All staff employed in the Youth Offending Service are also provided with group supervision.

Clinician-led ‘Think Family’ consultation

‘Think Family’ consultation is provided by the Together for Families Clinician Service (TFCS) with the primary aim of supporting staff to develop effective ‘Think Family’ practice. This is achieved by supporting front-line professionals to enhance relationships between themselves and the family, enhance relationships within the team around the family (TAF) and by signposting staff towards evidence-based interventions. The consultation aims to help lead professionals maintain focus on a purposeful plan in their work with families and to enhance staff well-being as it is known that the task of working directly with high need and complex families can be an onerous one. Think Family consultation is delivered both in groups and on a one to one basis.

Group sessions are facilitated by a TFCS clinician in every locality. They are held at least monthly and are open to all staff whose job role allows them to act as a lead professional. This includes staff employed outside of the local authority (e.g. Housing officers, employees of Ormiston Trust, health professionals). There is an expectation that all Early Help potential lead professionals should attend their local consultation group on a regular and ongoing basis. It is recommended, though not mandatory, that these practitioners should attend “Think Family” consultation sessions at least 3 times per year.

All attenders are asked to read and agree to the confidentiality and recording advice and sign an attendance sheet.

After attending Think Family consultation, practitioners should record this on ICS including any advice/guidance received. It is very important that this is then discussed with their line manager, particularly where it suggests any change of care plan or overall approach.

Clinical Supervision

This is an opportunity for all Health Care Professionals within Early Help to discuss issues regarding their personal and professional development in order to reflect on and learn from their clinical experience. It is recommended by professional bodies including HCPC to support registered practitioners with their development.

Adapted documentation arising from clinical supervision can be submitted as CPD evidence to demonstrate reflection and evaluation of learning and practice.

Registrant practitioner psychologists must be able to audit, reflect on and review practice, understanding models of supervision and their contribution to practice.

Coaching and Mentoring

This involves practitioners identifying an individual to use as a role model to support their personal and professional development. There is considerable scope for meeting both formative and restorative needs as the coach/mentor has usually "been there" and, being without an organisational mandate, is free to focus exclusively on practitioner needs.

There are some differences between coaching and mentoring:

Mentoring Coaching
A mentoring relationship is ongoing. A coaching relationship is short term, often a set duration.
Informal structure; meetings are as and when advice or support is needed. Usually quite structured; meetings are regular.
The mentor is usually a more senior person in the organisation able to pass on knowledge, experience and identify new opportunities. The coach does not need direct experience of their client's formal occupational role, unless the coaching is specific and skills-focused.
Focuses on broad career and personal development, providing support and guidance to prepare for future roles. Focuses on specific development issues at work and short term goals.

End