Luton Supervision Framework - Children, Families & Education Directorate


This policy applies to all fieldwork and managerial staff within Luton Council’s Children, Families & Education Directorate Social Care (includes Family Partnership Service ) workforce, irrespective of whether staff are here temporarily or on a permanent basis. This policy also applies to social work students placed within the Children, Families & Education Directorate. The purpose of this document is to provide staff with guidance to support effective supervision and reflective practice.


This chapter was updated in June 2021 and replaces the previous chapter.

1. Introduction

Luton Council Children, Young People and Education Directorate are committed to ensuring every member of the Social Care (includes Family Partnership Service ) workforce receives good quality effective supervision on a regular basis. It recognises the delivery of social care services is a complex and demanding task and staff are our key asset in delivering high quality services who make a meaningful difference to service users lives.

“Supervision plays an integral role in ensuring that staff are able to achieve the best outcomes for the children and families that they work with. It is a process that should be open and supportive, focussing on the quality of decisions, good risk analysis and improving outcomes for children rather than meeting targets.” [Laming, 2009, para 3,15]

Supervision may be provided in a variety of ways but in the main is a regular one-to-one meeting between the supervisor and the supervisee to:

  • Help facilitate direct work with children, young people and families;
  • Support proportionate decision-making;
  • Keep staff well.

Supervision forms a key part of individual performance management and underpins the wider Councils "Check In" procedures.

Effective supervision performs five key functions (see Appendix 1: The Five Functions of Supervision)

  1. Management (ensuring competent and accountable performance/practice);
  2. Development (continuing professional development);
  3. Support (supportive/restorative function);
  4. Engagement/Mediation (engaging staff with the organisation and representing the organisation to staff);
  5. Reflection On and Learning from Practice – Are we demonstrating our 4 ‘Cs’ Conversation?
    1. We will use conversations to build relationships with children and their families, we will actively listen to both their strengths and what they need help with. We will create the opportunity to have conversations with our professional networks to help us provide the right support at the right time.
    2. We will practice with respectful curiosity to help us understand the lived experience of children and young people who need our help. We will be curious about the families past experience. We will encourage curiosity across our professional network, helping us to build strong local relationships.
    3. We will practice with courage, not being afraid to fail and try new things supporting our children and families through change, modelling courageous conversations to challenge without blame. We will use courage to seek feedback on our practice and create a culture of safe challenge.
    4. Our practice will be considerate, respectful of diversity and difference, we will practice with care to ensure the best outcomes for our children and their families.

2. A Joint Approach

Effective supervision is achieved where there is a partnership between the supervisee and supervisor. This can take time to build and both parties have a shared responsibility to make the supervisory relationship work.

3. Who Conducts Supervision?

Supervision can be conducted by Team Managers. Deputy Team Managers and Senior Practitioners. Senior Practitioners will be allocated practitioners to provide reflective case supervision with oversight from managers. This supervision will be recorded on the case file. All cases supervision will be split equally between the Deputy Team Manager and the Team Manager.

4. Individual Supervision Agreements

The negotiation and use of Individual Supervision Agreements is an essential and required part of establishing and reviewing the supervisory relationship. The Supervision Agreement outlines ‘ground rules’ as well as clarifies rights and expectations for both the supervisor and supervisee, thus supporting a safe, secure and effective relationship.

Each Individual Supervision Agreement will be different and is a “living” document reviewed and updated according to the changing needs of the supervisee. At a minimum, the agreement should be reviewed annually. The agreement should be drawn up using the Pro-forma (see Appendix 2: Individual Supervision Agreement) and whatever is agreed should be made explicit and recorded.

Top Tip 1: The Individual Supervision Agreement is completed at the start of a new job and at every change of supervisor.

5. Practice Orientated Supervision

The purpose of our practice-orientated supervision is to:

  • Improve the quality of services to children, young people, families and carers and achieve better outcomes for children and young people;
  • Ensure the supervisee is clear about roles and responsibilities;
  • Offer guidance and support in relation to work with individual cases;
  • Identify gaps in learning;
  • Provide space for case discussions;
  • Encourage critical reflection;
  • Facilitate performance management;
  • Contribute to workers' emotional resilience by their feeling valued, supported and motivated;
  • Deepen and broaden workers' skills and knowledge;
  • Undertake administrative functions.

6. Types of Supervision

In addition to formal 1 to 1 supervision arrangements, the continuum of supervisory support and oversight may include ‘informal’ impromptu supervisory discussions and case and practice discussion within local group/peer supervision arrangements. N.B. The impromptu or group supervision processes do not replace formal, planned 1 to 1 supervision arrangements, although both are valuable as complementary practices.

LBC’s corporate performance management approach Check-In Scheme requires ‘regular, good quality conversations to support and drive performance through continuous improvement’. However, for professionals with direct case holding responsibility, including team managers, Check-In's do not replace either case or personal supervision, which should continue to provide a reflective space where work and its impact on the individual can be considered.

Top Tip 2: The Quarterly Check-in does not need to be a separate supervision session and can be scheduled during regular personal supervision every 3 months.

Personal Supervision (one-to one's): form the central tenet of our supervisory process. Although complemented by other supervisory supports, the consistency provided by the supervisor-supervisee relationship provides a safe base for considering issues and concerns, as well as practice reflection and learning. Personal supervision sessions are held on a planned one-to-one basis and are a requirement for all members of staff. In addition, case holding practitioners may receive ‘Peer’ supervision, for example through the weekly Case Reflection Panel.

Informal/impromptu supervisory discussions: Where decisions are made in between formal supervision sessions, the worker and the supervisor must ensure all decisions made with regard to a service user (case) are clearly recorded on the service user's record in LCS.

7. Frequency of Case Supervisions

CAPTION: table_Supervision Timescales


Case Type

Minimum frequency for supervision of every case


Peer Supervision

1 weekly

Complex Case Supervision

4 weekly

Family Partnership Service

Level 3 cases

4 weekly

Assessment Service

All cases

4 weekly

Family Safeguarding

All cases

4 weekly

Children with Disabilities

Active CP and LAC cases

4 weekly

CIN cases whilst short-term active Social Work is undertaken

4 weekly

Duty cases do not routinely require supervision (such cases include, Shared Care Respite Service, London Road Resource Centre and Direct Payments.)
All cases are reviewed, risk assessed and the child is seen at least annually with management oversight on file.

As and when required. Dependant on when changing needs or circumstances where need for increased social work intervention is identified.

0-17 Looked After Children

Awaiting permanency (Not in a matched placement)

4 weekly

In a stable matched placement (6 weekly statutory visiting)

4-6 weekly  (this can be light touch only and full case supervision every 3 months)

In a stable matched placement for over 1 year (12 weekly Statutory visiting)

4-6 weekly light touch (this can be light touch only and full case supervision every 3 months)

18+ Care Leavers

Care Leavers with additional needs and vulnerabilities (for example; Presence of criminal exploitation, serious youth violence, significant mental health issues, young parents needing additional support or assessment etc.)

4 weekly

Care Leavers in stable circumstances

4-6 weekly (this can be light touch only and full case supervision every 3 months)

Formerly relevant and keeping touch cases not allocated to a worker.

As and when required. Dependent on level of contract and any risk identified

Fostering Service

Fostering Assessment

4 weekly

Fostering Support – Not matched

4 weekly

Fostering Support – Matched stable cases

4 weekly (this can be light touch only and full case supervision every 3 months)

Fostering Support – awaiting permanency or matched placements that are not stable or where additional support is required

4 weekly

Adoption Team

All cases

4 weekly

Safeguarding and Quality Assurance Service (IROs and CP Chairs)

All cases

4 weekly (cases of concern identified by IRO/ CP Chair and line manager for discussion each month)

Manor Contact Centre

All cases

4 weekly

Top Tip 3: For Personal (one-to-one) supervision, the normal frequency is every 4 weeks and no later than 6-weekly; be between 1.5 and 2 hours in duration. All staff should receive a minimum of 10 supervision sessions per year.

8. Personal (One-to-One's) Supervisions

Agenda for Personal (one-to one's) supervisions

An agenda for case supervision ensures the worker is supported and the business needs of the Children, Family & Education Directorate are met. The agenda should include the following:

  • Performance Management:
    • Work plan & priorities (current workload / new work);
    • Review of targets and individual/team objectives;
    • Key achievements.
  • Learning and Improvement:
    • Discussion of role and activities;
    • Review of learning activities;
    • Discussion of learning needs.
  • Support:
    • Personal reflections, demands / frustrations / support;
    • Welfare / training & personal development. individual needs are supported;
    • Annual/flexi leave, sickness absence;
    • Health, Safety & Wellbeing.
  • Mediation:
    • Team roles and responsibilities;
    • Consultation and briefings about organisational developments or information;
    • Identify gaps in or issues about resources.

Recording of Personal (one-to one's) Supervisions

Personal supervision should be recorded on Individual supervision records and maintained in a supervision file (see Appendix 3: Record of Case Supervision and Action Plan). Individual supervision records must be retained for all staff and may be used in internal and external audit processes. Staff have the right to access their personal data under the Data Protection Act (2018). All supervision records must be factual and linked to any identified evidence, which substantiates the comments recorded.

Recording Personal (one-to-one) Supervision

One-to-one supervision can include discussion of individual cases. Where matters relate to an individual service user (case) these must be recorded separately on the electronic file in LCS.

Each supervisor will maintain an electronic supervision file of supervision records throughout an employee's career. Supervision files should reflect the structure and index detailed Appendix 4: Personal Supervision File Structure and Index. Supervision records belong to the organisation. To ensure continuity of management accountability, support and development, supervision records should be transferred to the new supervisor where the supervisee is moving to another post within the organisation.

Ideally supervision records should be typed, however if handwritten these are to be legible. A legible, accessible, written record of every supervision session must be made. Supervision records must be maintained in the supervisee's electronic personal file. There may be occasions when personal information does not need to be recorded. This will normally be where such information does not have a direct impact on work performance or service delivery and it has been agreed by all parties that it will remain confidential within the supervisory or line management relationship.

Access to supervision files will be restricted to the supervisor, supervisee, Senior Managers, HR as appropriate. Files can be made available to officers and other agencies involved in any auditing or personnel purposes.

In the case of a person leaving the Council, records must be kept locally for at least 2 years. Records should be kept locally for longer if there is any possibility of litigation. Advice should be requested, if needed, from the Data Protection Officer.

9. Recording Case Supervision

The main purposes of recording supervision sessions are:

  • To aid accountability of the work and the way it is undertaken;
  • To set, review and evaluate targets and performance measures;
  • To ensure accountability between supervision sessions;
  • To record decisions and issues related to the case.

In general, the supervision record should record details of any agreements reached, who is responsible for undertaking identified actions and the timescales. In the case of any disagreement concerning issues discussed in supervision, the disagreement should be recorded (see Section 11, Dispute Resolution).

10. Responsibilities

Responsibilities of Supervisors and Managers

It is the line manager's responsibility to supervise his or her staff and to prepare for case supervision. The checklist below sets out the Directorate's expectations of supervisors to ensure supervision is effective:

  • Establish and maintain suitable arrangements for supervision so that it is planned and uninterrupted;
  • Ensure supervision is integrated into service planning, objective setting and individual performance plans;
  • Set standards in relation to work performance and practice in line with Directorate policies, procedures and requirements;
  • Ensure staff are provided with relevant and appropriate information to meet those standards;
  • Ensure all statutory and other relevant obligations are met, for example, registration requirements, National Occupational Minimum Standards, Key Performance Indicators, HCPC and any other relevant Codes of Practice, Care Standards, Data Protection Act and Health and Safety regulations;
  • Support employees subject to professional registration to fulfil the eligibility criteria and any requirements for continued registration;
  • Set, monitor and review individual work objectives and targets and agree how these will be achieved;
  • Encourage staff participation in supervision, ensuring that they are listened to and that their experience and contributions is acknowledged;
  • Promote reflective practice;
  • Treat staff with respect, acknowledging values and areas of difference in order to address anti-discriminatory issues;
  • Be knowledgeable regarding the supervisee, their job description and work issues;
  • Ensure records, written or electronic (for example, LiquidLogic) pertaining to the supervisee are kept up-to-date and where inputting requirements are linked to I.T. systems supervisors are responsible for checking accuracy and timeliness of record input as a mandatory part of the supervision process;
  • Ensure that records are securely filed;
  • Offer support through the line manager or occupational health if the supervisee's performance at work is affected by personal issues or vice versa;
  • Access training and development as necessary for the supervisee in order to ensure competence and encourage staff to take responsibility for their own learning and development.

Responsibilities of supervisees

  • Share responsibility for making supervision work well by preparing for supervision sessions;
  • Negotiate the Individual Supervision Agreement;
  • Use supervision effectively;
  • Participate actively in the process of supervision and in setting the supervision agenda;
  • Attend supervision regularly and on time;
  • Meet departmental, legal and professional standards;
  • Promote the best interests of those who receive a service;
  • Be open and share information with their supervisor;
  • Seek and use guidance and knowledge;
  • Be clear and honest in seeking any assistance;
  • Implement agreements and plans within the timescales agreed/required;
  • Inform their manager/supervisor if plans cannot be implemented;
  • Address issues of discrimination in respect of service delivery and employment;
  • Accept responsibility for their own work performance;
  • Participate in problem-solving, reflecting and thinking through and exploring options;
  • Be responsible for their own learning and active in pursuit of their own development;
  • Give and accept constructive feedback and learn from mistakes.

11. Dispute Resolution

It is important that action is taken by the supervisee where they are concerned they are not receiving quality supervision and/or having development needs identified and met. If it becomes apparent at any point that an individual is not receiving supervision to the standard required, they should:

In the first instance discuss with your supervisor the difficulties, which they feel, have arisen. The individual and the supervisor may find some of the following activities useful in analysing and reflecting on why supervision is not working effectively:

  • Review of the Supervision agreement and expectations;
  • Completing a learning styles questionnaire to help understand the impact of differing learning styles and needs.

If difficulties continue to rise or the individual is unable to find solutions they (and their supervisor) should meet with the supervisor’s line manager. It may be appropriate for the Line Manager to observe supervision to help both parties understand the difficulties and identify solutions.

In general, the supervision record should record details of any agreements reached, who is responsible for undertaking any action and the timescales. In the case of any disagreement concerning issues discussed in supervision, the disagreement should be recorded.

12. Quality Assurance Case Supervision

(From March 2021 after new template is embedded and 6 monthly thereafter)

The quality of case supervision will be monitored under the QA Audit programme. This will consist of:

  • The auditing of a random selection of supervision files on a six-monthly basis by senior managers;
  • Discussion during supervision, for example, between a Service Manager and a Team Manager, about the Team Manager's practice in supervising their staff;
  • A Senior Manager may request copies of supervision records as evidence of practice and to use as a tool where there are developmental needs on behalf of the part of the Team Manager;
  • Each month Service Managers will select a supervision file from the workload of one of their team managers for examination in line with agreed audit tools;
  • On a quarterly basis the responsible Service Director may select a supervision file from the workload of each Service Manager for examination.


Appendix 1: The Five Functions of Supervision

Appendix 2: Individual Supervision Agreement - to be completed at the start of a new job and at every change of supervisor.

Appendix 3: Record of Case Supervision and Action Plan - to be completed at every one-to-one supervision session and other types of supervision as appropriate.

Appendix 4: Personal Supervision File Structure and Index

Appendix 5: Luton Practice Framework - to follow