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What do I need to know about supervision?

One of the questions we frequently get asked at Bettal is about how often businesses should undertake supervision of their staff. Other managers and providers ask associated questions like:

• Who should do supervision?

• What should the content of a supervision be?

• What is the purpose of supervision?

• How should supervision be undertaken?

While most people working in social care have been involved in supervision in one way or another throughout their career, many give it little thought other than seeing it as a tick box which needs to be completed before an inspection. Supervision is however about so much more than meeting a compliance standard.

In this brief blog we will answer some of the basic questions about supervision compliance and consider why supervision is important in social care settings.

How often should you do supervision?

The simple answer is it depends how often the staff member needs it. For example during induction, it may be appropriate to provide supervision weekly while SCIE, recommend at least six times a year for residential and four times a year for domiciliary staff.

There is no regulatory requirement about the frequency of supervision, with the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 18, identifying only that persons employed must: receive such appropriate support, training, professional development, supervision and appraisal as is necessary to enable them to carry out the duties they are employed to perform.

In reality, it is for the agency to set its own frequency which should be recorded in their supervision policy – and which they should then follow. It would be a brave provider that ignored SCIE recommendation on frequency, however.

Who should do supervision?

As with all things, supervision should be undertaken by the most appropriate person who is trained to undertake it. This usually means the staff members line manager or senior member of staff.

What is the content of supervision?

Supervision is about developing the skills and confidence of staff in a safe environment. It is used to consider the work the person is doing and might do and the skills and competencies they have or might need to develop to undertake their role better.

In their effective supervision template, Skills for Care identify the ongoing narrative nature of supervision and the sorts of questions a supervisor might ask in supervision, for example about fresh challenges in work and how staff show organisational values in their work.

What is the purpose of supervision?

Supervision is simply about developing and supporting staff. It is an opportunity to review challenges in the workplace as well as to identify new opportunities for the development of skills and knowledge.

Supervision can be used to help manage staff whose competence is in question and can, ultimately, be useful evidence of the efforts employers have made to develop staff who they later have to let go.

How should supervision be undertaken?

Supervision is a planned undertaking and should be undertaken away from the floor in a quiet and private space. Most supervision is undertaken one to one, and involves the same supervisor and supervisee so that a rapport can develop both personally and in relation to the supervisee’s development.

Skills for Care identify how some supervision might be undertaken in a group when there is a need to address a common issue. During the pandemic, many providers found ways to continue supervision online. So where and how the supervision occurs is not as important as it being focussed and uninterrupted.

What have the CQC said about it?

The CQC have little to say about the nuts and bolts of supervision. It is however a fundamental standard, that staff: be given the support, training and supervision they need to help them do their job.


Supervision is an important part of the life of any health and social care provider. It provides an opportunity for managers and staff to meet one to one and to consider the development needs of staff in a safe and secure setting. Supervision is not a luxury, nor is it optional, failure to supervise staff not only impacts morale, but it will also be noted at inspections and may contribute to a poor service rating.

Bettal Quality Consultancy has a comprehensive and regularly updated suite of policies, procedures and risk assessments, including for supervision, to support busy registered managers and their teams in the provision of CQC compliant care.

If you would like to know more, browse our website, or get in touch:

Telephone: 01697741411

Peter Ellis MA MSc BSc(Hons) RN


Bettal Quality Consultancy

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