Practice framework prompts for this policy
Our practice framework helps us make sense of and organise our practice so it is framed in te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi), and draws from te ao Māori principles of oranga, within the context of our role in statutory child protection and youth justice in Aotearoa New Zealand.
How are my supervisor and I ensuring that the right to supervision is upheld and sessions are regular, purposeful, and meeting our organisational and professional obligations?
How will I bring the voice of the tamariki, rangatahi and their whānau or family into the supervision conversation?
Do I use supervision to critically reflect on the knowledge bases that I draw on in my practice? If so, how? If not, what gets in the way?
How do our supervision discussions support and challenge me to deepen my mahi with oranga in focus, in my work with tamariki or rangatahi and their whānau or family? How are we maintaining a focus on whānau ora, mahi ora and kaimahi ora in our supervision?
What skills am I using to conduct myself in ways that are relational and focused on continuously developing and improving?
How am I using supervision to reflect on and be reflexive about my own experiences, perceptions, values, biases, attitudes and beliefs and how they impact on my practice?
What is professional supervision?
Professional supervision enables, guides and facilitates us to meet organisational, professional and personal objectives.
Our work is complex. To strengthen our collective practice over time, we need opportunities to:
- feel supported
- reflect on practice
- learn new or different ways of doing things
- share our skills and experience.
Effective supervision can:
- support safe practice
- help with the impact of trauma and stress
- create a culture of continuous learning and development
- increase job satisfaction.
Kaimahi ora requires us to focus on our own and others' wellbeing and the impact different dynamics may have on our practice.
Professional supervision has four functions:
- Management — Focuses on the interests of tamariki, whānau and caregivers and ensures that policies, procedures, practice standards are understood and followed.
- Development — Focuses on self-evaluation, building professional capability, linking practice to practitioner’s knowledge base, build on critical thinking and professional judgement.
- Support — Focuses on the emotional impact of the work and any resulting stress or support needs and wellbeing of the practitioner in recognition of the impact of vicarious trauma.
- Facilitation/Mediation — Focuses on engaging the practitioner with the organisation, role clarity and effective multi-agency and relationships across sectors, managing the tensions of the competing demands.
Who this policy applies to
This policy applies to all Oranga Tamariki practitioners who work directly with tamariki, as well as their supervisors, team leaders or managers.
The professional supervision policy and standards apply to practitioners employed by Oranga Tamariki on a permanent, temporary and casual basis. This includes:
- youth/social workers and practitioners
- care and protection and youth justice co-ordinators
- practice leaders
- regional practice advisors
- team/case leaders of front line staff
This policy will guide staff working in roles where they are required to maintain competence and/or an Annual Practicing Certificate under their professional association.
Roles and responsibilities
- recognise that their supervision provides critical support to the wellbeing and professional development of staff
- recognise that they are instrumental in both helping supervisees to identify skills and knowledge gaps in their practice, and developing a plan to address these
- prioritise supervision and provide it in accordance with the policy
- have the skills, training, expertise and cultural competence to
participate in their own professional supervision and ongoing professional development.
- recognise the support that supervision provides, as part of their wellbeing and professional development
- prioritise and actively participate in regular supervision
- be an active participant by engaging in the process of critical reflection and seeking professional development.
- recognise that supervision is a critical support for the wellbeing and professional development of staff
- ensure that professional supervision is a priority
- ensure that supervisors have the required skills, knowledge and expertise
- engage in their own supervision
- demonstrate and provide leadership for cultural competence
- ensure quality improvements processes are in place.
- recognise that supervision is a critical support for the wellbeing and professional development of staff
- ensure that professional supervision is available
- ensure that a programme of continuous professional development is available for all supervisors
- ensure that supervisors have the required skills, knowledge and expertise and cultural competence
- recognise the importance and provide investment for a culture of learning and development.
Types of supervision
The majority of professional supervision at Oranga Tamariki is one-to-one individual sessions with a supervisor.
"All practitioners working in the complex and ambiguous world of child protection need to have the capacity to critically think about the ways they make sense of complex situations, cases and problems."
Leading Practice, 2014
We take a reflective supervision approach in these sessions. This shifts us away from a task-based, compliance approach — instead, we focus our supervision sessions around:
- reflective questioning
- critical thinking
- exploration and feedback.
The supervisor assists the supervisee to think about what they did, and what happened, to consider what was effective in their practice and what could be strengthened, then decide from these insights what they would do the same or differently next time.
This assists us to:
- reflect on how our own perceptions, biases, attitudes and beliefs impact on practice
- identify knowledge and skill deficits and seek clarification
- reflect on any feedback and integrate changes into practice.
Cultural supervision helps us maintain a focus on identity, belonging and connection for tamariki.
It ensures the strengths and aspirations of people from diverse and different cultures are respected and explored to produce practice that is culturally responsive.
Other types of supervision
Other types of supervision may be available by negotiation with your manager:
- Group supervision: this involves one supervisor with several participants. This can be useful in settings where there are many staff to be supervised and few trained supervisors. (Residences may opt for this type of supervision.)
- Peer group supervision: this involves three or more participants who alternate roles to provide supervision to each other. This is recommended for more experienced supervisees. It can also be done alongside another form of supervision.
- Open door: this involves incident or case specific consultations, as and when required.
- External supervision: In some circumstances, professional supervision may not be readily available within Oranga Tamariki. External supervision may be accessed as long as it's provided within the Oranga Tamariki policy and standards.
Other types of learning support
There are a number of other forms of professional learning, development and support activities you may be able to access. You can agree these with your manager.
Other types of learning support include:
- Technical abilities focused — a variety of activities to orientate staff to the organisation, its policies, procedures, processes, and role-specific functions.
- Advice and guidance — this involves open door, informal or formal consultations with colleagues (supervisors, practice leaders, regional practice advisors, professionals from other disciplines, subject matter experts).
- Group case discussions — frequent, high-quality, case based, reflective group discussion incorporating analytical and hypothetical thinking with action focused, goal oriented case planning.
- Coaching — this is used to build the capability of practitioners, enhancing their existing skills and the development of new ones. It is also useful in assisting practitioners to gain a deeper understanding of practices for use in current and future work (Rush, Sheldon and Hanft, 2003). This is usually provided one-to-one.
- Mentoring — this involves personal development activities in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person (NZ Coaching & Mentoring Centre, 2013).
- Consultation with learning advisors — learning advisors will provide supervisors with additional support and guidance to align learning goals with professional development.
- Cultural consultation — brings culturally-specific knowledge, skills and expertise to a case-specific situation that requires cultural input.
- Debriefing — this could be a formalised de-brief session after a critical incident, or an informal discussion to debrief with a peer, supervisor or other trusted colleague.
- Communities of practice — a community of practice is a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do, and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly (Wenger, 1998).
Frequency of supervision
The Social Work Registration Board’s policy requires that social workers “… access regular and appropriate supervision at least monthly and in a manner that is consistent with reasonable expectations of the levels of skill and practice ability of the individual.”
A practitioner can negotiate using different types of supervision (eg cultural or peer supervision) with their supervisor, provided that it is of quality and supported by a supervision agreement.
Additional supervision sessions can also be negotiated as and when required.
Recommended frequency for one-to-one individual professional supervision
This frequency is for full time practitioners. For part time employees, frequency should be worked out on a pro rata basis.
One hour per week
Social workers/practitioners/co-ordinators (youth justice and care and protection) with less than or equal to 12 months' Oranga Tamariki experience.
One hour per fortnight
Social workers/practitioners/co-ordinators (youth justice and care and protection) with more than 12 months' Oranga Tamariki experience.
One hour per month
- Practice/team/case leaders
- Practice/team/case managers
- Regional practice advisors
- Learning and capability development advisors
- National office professional practice advisors
Group sessions every three weeks
- Residential youth workers
Criteria for supervisors
Oranga Tamariki staff who provide professional supervision must have the required skills, knowledge and expertise to deliver quality culturally-competent supervision.
They must also:
- develop and maintain their competence by accessing learning pathways and ongoing learning and development opportunities
- participate in their own regular ongoing supervision.
The Social Work Registration Board (2015) states that those who provide supervision to registered social workers should:
- be registered social workers with a current Annual Practicing Certificate
- have completed training in professional supervision
- practice in accordance with accepted professional standards of experience and qualifications
- understand the Board’s supervision policy and principles
- provide supervision that is relevant to the supervisee’s spiritual, traditional and theoretical understandings, cultural worldview, experience, skills and requirements for accountability.
A good supervisor:
- has professional values such as honesty, loyalty and integrity (Hensley, 2003)
- uses behaviours such as role modelling, the use of humour, offering support, communicating complex concepts and promoting critical thinking (Clark et al, 2008)
- has a sound knowledge base (Rushton & Nathan, 1996) and uses evidence-informed models (O’Donoghue, 2017)
- has the ability to challenge in a supportive way (Davys, 2005b)
- has the ability to manage power and authority (Davys, 2005b)
- has an openness to feedback and an ability to be self-monitoring (Davys, 2005b)
- has the emotional intelligence to manage the emotional impact of the work upon the worker (O’Donoghue and Tsui, 2011, 2015).
- has cultural awareness and competency (Eketone, 2012).
- create and maintain a supervision agreement
- record any casework decisions made on the case management system — with the rationale and any other relevant information provided
- maintain a supervision record for each session that captures discussions and agreed actions.
The supervision agreement
A supervision agreement should include:
- the purpose and goals that considers type of supervision process, roles and responsibilities
- the frequency and duration of supervision sessions
- other processes that may be used between supervision sessions or to augment formal supervision
- who will provide supervision if the supervisor is absent
- evaluation of the supervisory relationship
- the process for regular reviews of the agreement — agreements should be reviewed after three months, and then every year thereafter
- the process for dealing with unsafe practice issues.
Case notes and supervision records
Case notes and supervision records should reflect:
- how you are meeting the standards and practicing the principles set within the Oranga Tamariki Practice Framework
- how you are considering cultural advice and guidance when working with Māori, Pacific and other diverse cultures and groups beyond ethnicity.
Model of practice
Oranga Tamariki supports the use of the integrative model of supervision (IMS).
Keeping the child at the centre of supervisory discussions
Tamariki are placed at the centre of the supervisory relationship, and their experiences are the focus of supervision and are considered in the context of their whānau and environment.
Knowledge and skill development
By establishing a collaborative learning environment facilitated by both the supervisor and supervisee, varied kinds of knowledge, skills and learning can be shared and the process of critical reflection used to enhance professional judgement.
Leadership and management
Supervisors demonstrate leadership by being fair and transparent, acting as change agents, assisting to effectively balance the five dimensions of supervision.
The supervisor is able to proactively advocate on behalf the supervisee and tamariki and mediates the various demands of working in this environment.
A safe supervisory relationship is essential to effective supervision. It is co-created and maintained by both the supervisor and supervisee and enables the impact of trauma to be proactively responded to.
Outcomes and quality assurance
How we measure the effectiveness of professional supervision within Oranga Tamariki.
We will measure the effectiveness of professional supervision by:
- an increased amount of time spent on supervision across the workforce
- an increased satisfaction level with the quality of supervision received by staff members
- an increased knowledge and awareness of the standards and processes of supervision from supervisees and supervisors
- an increased level of supervision information (at a non-sensitive level) used to inform the system of continuous quality improvement, in terms of further staff and workforce development
- an improvement in the quality of professional judgements and decisions for tamariki, including culturally responsive practices.
We will collect this information using:
- regular surveys
- session observations
- evidence of supervision in case records
- supervision agreements and notes
- feedback loops
- interviews with supervisors and supervisees as part of quality assurance reviews
- activity studies.