Providing quality supervision requires organizations to allocate time and resources that are often in scarce supply. An adequate number of supervisor positions at the right levels and in the right locations need to be funded for the overall system to be effective. Supervisors need to be trained and prepared for the role; they need time and space to meet with workers. Social service workers and managers also require access to capacity building tools and resources and methods of guiding and tracking effective supervision.
The purpose of this manual is to offer guidance on supervision to individuals working to provide, manage or coordinate social services. This manual defines what is meant by supervision in social services, outlines the key elements of good practice in supervision and summarizes the different forms of supervision. This manual presents general recommendations as well as specific case examples and draws from documented best practices. It is the hope that readers will gain greater awareness of the significant positive benefits of supervision and key elements of carrying out quality supervision. Most importantly, the manual aims to improve supervision practice. Effective supervision results in improved quality of service to clients, reduced risk of poor practice owing to stronger reflection in action, integration of knowledge and research in daily practice, and reduced worker stress and burnout.