Developing confident and capable social workers

Image: Mapping to the Knowledge and SKills Statement

3.1 Practice supervisors should recognise, respect and value the expertise of social workers and support the Principal Social Worker in developing and implementing a framework for effective social work practice, underpinned by social work values, theory, research, contemporary social work models and methods and the legislative framework. They should be able to articulate how this framework guides practice and explain and champion the framework to social workers, other professionals, adults and their carers throughout their community of practice. In particular, practice supervisors should encourage practitioners to adopt strengths and asset-based approaches, informed by the principles of the Care Act 2014, the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Mental Health Act 2007 and ensure that practice is focussed on achieving the best possible outcomes for individuals.  

3.2 Practice supervisors should identify, assess and support the development of professional capabilities, articulated in the Professional Capabilities Framework and other professional standards, for example, assessing against the Chief Social Worker’s Knowledge and Skills Statement (KSS) for social workers at the end of their Assessed Supported Year in Employment (ASYE). They should engage the social worker in the planning and development of assessment activities and use observation, critical reflection and feedback methods alongside the views of adults, carers and other professionals to develop and assess practice.

3.3 Practice supervisors must be able to demonstrate skills of looking, listening and meta-competence(see glossary for definition) in the identification and assessment of a social worker’s practice dynamics, behaviour and intervention skills; in such observations of practice they must maintain objectivity and reflexivity, demonstrating an awareness of and ability to counter professional bias. 

3.4 Practice supervisors must assess professional capability holistically. They should ensure that decisions are the outcomes of informed, evidence based judgements and that these are communicated clearly and timely to those being assessed. When assessing professional capability, they should ensure that evidence presented is relevant, valid, reliable, sufficient and authentic.

3.5 Practice supervisors should promote continuous professional development through critical reflection in the supervision process. They should support social workers to meet their learning needs through identifying and addressing barriers for learning and by regularly reviewing and co-constructing a professional development plan, which outlines relevant learning opportunities and resources. Practice supervisors should understand and apply learning theory to recognise when their role is to teach, when to mentor and when to coach.  

3.6 They should develop a culture and community of learning and improvement, drawing on the expertise held within a practice team. Practice supervisors must invest available resources into staff and service development, drawing on the expertise of adults and their carers. They should contribute to the review of the service and the improvement of its provision, policies and procedures.

The full Knowledge and Skills Statement for Social Work Practice Supervisors in Adult Social Care can be viewed on the Department of Health and Social care website.


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