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Supervision lacking on emotional issues

Supervision lacking on emotional issues, survey finds
Kirsty McGregor, Community Care
Tuesday 12 April 2011 12:12

Nearly three-quarters of social workers (71%) do not feel supervision covers the emotional issues that arise in practice, a survey has shown.

BASW – The College of Social Work released the survey results to launch a consultation on its draft supervision policy, published today. This stipulates that supervision should enable social workers to manage the emotional impact of their work.

It comes a week after children’s minister Tim Loughton told Community Care that employers should “debrief” social workers after particularly traumatic child protection cases to avoid burnout.

“Supervision is an absolutely vital element to successful practice, to social workers’ confidence, morale and, in some cases, mental health,” said BASW policy officer Fran McDonnell.

Two in five survey respondents said they received formal supervision every two months or less, and 11% rarely or never received it.

“This survey shows that many social workers are not getting even the most basic of requirements from employers, which jeopardises the quality of support they can provide to families most in need,” McDonnell added.

BASW’s supervision policy recommends that every social worker, no matter how experienced, should receive formal supervision at least once a month. Supervision should be weekly and then fortnightly for newly qualified staff.

The Social Work Reform Board recommended the same frequency in its draft supervision framework for social workers in England, published in December 2010.

More than half of the online survey of 177 BASW members do not feel their supervision covers accountability issues or personal development and training.

Community Care’s social work contract states that social workers should receive a minimum monthly professional supervision of at least 90 minutes.

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