Supervision is an accountable process which supports, assures and develops the knowledge, skills and values of an individual, group or team. The purpose of supervision is to improve the quality of work to achieve agreed objectives and outcomes.
Effective supervision is an integral part of working with adults with care and support needs; it is also an essential element of the performance management framework.
It should support staff in developing and maintaining effective working relationships with adults and their carers and with other professionals, whilst simultaneously exercising professional judgement, effective decision making and carrying out other duties associated with their individual role. It should also tie the overarching strategic objectives of the service with the individual personalised objectives of each member of staff.
It must be educative, supportive, empowering and a benefit to supervisor, supervisee and the service. Supervision must be sensitive to individuals’ ethnic and cultural background, disability, gender and sexual orientation.
In the reflective environment of supervision, and in conjunction with their manager, staff should be able to consider their developmental and learning needs, review identified actions necessary to address such needs and subsequently evidence practice improvement.
Good quality supervision can help to:
- avoid drift;
- keep focus on the adult with care and support needs;
- maintain a degree of objectivity and challenge fixed views;
- test and assess the evidence base for assessment and decisions;
- address the emotional impact of work.
The supervision process should incorporate four main functions:
- management, including performance management;
- professional development;
- practice reflection.
At the outset of the supervisory relationship expectations of the supervisor and the supervisee should be established and recorded. This includes frequency of meetings, content of supervision sessions, recording of meetings and sign off, and action to be taken if either party becomes dissatisfied with the relationship, or outcomes of the sessions.
Supervision usually takes place on a one to one basis, although can also be part of a group session as well. It is a process rather than a series of single events or sessions and should complement and support the appraisal process by evidencing the continuous improvement and performance of the supervisee.
Issues discussed at each supervision session should be recorded and signed by the manager and counter signed by the staff member, who should also be provided with a copy. This may be done via email as an electronic documentation of the agreement.
2. Performance Development Review
A performance development review (PDR) is a systematic and regular – usually annual – process that assesses an individual member of staff’s performance in relation to pre-established criteria and objectives. It is otherwise known as an appraisal.
It is an important opportunity for a staff member to gain feedback on their performance from their manager, provide a summary of their work and achievements and develop their skills through training. It provides a formal opportunity for managers to provide motivation to a member of staff, even if there have been areas of concern.
The objectives for the PDR should be agreed by both the manager and member of staff either once the staff member has been confirmed in post (in the case of a new employee) or at the last PDR (for staff in continuing employment). The objectives should be a mix of specific areas of interest for the individual staff member, those related to the post / team, and those which reflect the directorate’s vision and direction.
Other aspects of the staff member’s performance should also be considered, such as team working, strengths and weaknesses, overall behaviour, and potential future achievements.
Preparation is key to a successful and productive PDR meeting. The manager and staff member should each complete appraisal and work planning documents prior to commencement of the session. It is crucial that all issues are supported with evidence from work completed throughout the year; this may be from a variety of sources including supervision records. Issues that have been raised in supervision since the last review – either as good practice or areas where improvement is required – should be discussed.
Following a review of the achievements (or otherwise) from the previously agreed objectives, new or revised objectives should be agreed within defined timescales. This will include identified training needs, either as a result of new areas of interest expressed by the staff member for development that complements their current post, or as a result of acknowledged issues which require improvement.
If the manager and member of staff fail to agree on achievements of the previous set of objectives, or training needs or setting of future objectives, these should be recorded with supporting evidence. The local performance development review policy and procedure should contain a course of action for responding to such disagreements.
The PDR discussion and the agreed future objectives should be recorded and signed by the manager and counter signed by the staff member, who should also be provided with a copy. This may be done via email as an electronic documentation of the agreement.