NQSW supervision resource 5
In the aftermath of Victoria Climbié’s death a serious case review was conducted by Lord Laming (2009) who focused on social worker wellbeing and emotional costs of the work as well as supervision practices:
‘There is concern that the tradition of deliberate, reflective social work practice is being put in danger because of an overemphasis on process and targets, resulting in a loss of confidence amongst social workers.’‘Laming (2009)
The Care Inspectorate (2019) regularly consider aggregated learning from serious case reviews and recommended sufficient support for workers to be confident and competent, including:
‘robust and regular supervision that enables constructive challenge and time to reflect on practice and develop skills’.Care Inspectorate (2019)
The most comprehensive reviews occur when there have been extremely serious harms to vulnerable children or adults. In the case of social work, these have often identified a break down in procedures (including appropriate supervision), meaning opportunities for intervention to prevent serious harms were missed.
In the overview for supervisors, we highlight enquiries that had significant findings for supervision in social work settings. Scottish serious case reviews have also had findings around supervision adequacy.
The National Child Protection Leadership Group now provide strategic oversight and mechanisms for improvement regarding child protection across Scotland and have addressed reoccurring issues. These include organisational support and compliance with good quality supervision and support that addresses the scope of professional discretion and identifies training and development needs of practitioners.
Information and links
- Laming, H. (2009) The Protection of Children in England HMSO
- Scottish Government National Child Protection Guidelines
Learning and looking after yourself
We introduce a reflective learning activity below. We encourage you to take care of yourself as you work through learning in relation to serious case reviews. It is essential to acknowledge the intense emotional responses we will have as social workers in the course of our work and learning.
- Explore the reports that have been published on serious case reviews in Scotland.
- Identify your own examples, where good supervision has supported positive outcomes for a client and where opportunities for improvement were not fully explored.
- Consider which supervision behaviours impacted these differing outcomes.