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Supervision in Adult Social Work and Social Care settings where practitioners work together: a systems approach to providing evidence to improve outcomes. T ish Marrable and Sharon Lambley Department of Social Work and Social Care University of Sussex. The presentation content.

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T ish Marrable and Sharon Lambley Department of Social Work and Social Care University of Sussex


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    1. Supervision in Adult Social Work and Social Care settings where practitioners work together: a systems approach to providing evidence to improve outcomes Tish Marrable and Sharon Lambley Department of Social Work and Social Care University of Sussex

    2. The presentation content • Research focus • Literature review: key findings • Methodology • Systems theory • Research design • Key Findings • Conclusions

    3. The research • Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) looking to add to their ‘good practice guidance’ series • ‘Supervision in a variety of adult care settings where there are health and social care practitioners working together’ • The brief: • To capture what is being practised in a minimum of three settings where there are both health and social care practitioners working: e.g. a community mental health team; a team supporting older people and a residential or nursing establishment for older people. • To ask about areas of practice in supervision that seem to deliver positive outcomes.

    4. Research aims: • To develop an understanding of how supervision is delivered in a range of joint and integrated adultteam settings • To develop an understanding of how identified types of supervision practice affect stakeholders • To develop an understanding of the perceptions of supervision and its impact for people who use services • To identify areas of good practice and of innovation in joint and integrated health and social care supervision • To identify the costs perceived to be associated with supervision in different models of practice

    5. Literature Review: key findings Supervision takes place whilst welfare systems in England and Northern Ireland are transforming e.g. personalisation, restructuring, new services, finite funding, new workers and practices. Service users and carers are co-producers, customers, reluctant/passive recipients or they may give their voice to a proxy (Simmons, 2009). ‘Professional’ know-how is being challenged Despite an extensive body of literature, the evidence base for supporting good supervision is ‘limited’ and ‘foundational’ (Bogo and McKnight, 2006, Milne et al, 2008, Carpenter et al, 2012, O’Donaghue and Tsui, 2013)

    6. Literature Review: key findings Employee and student supervision is different, despite sharing generic practices (Bogo and McKnight, 2006). Supervision treated as an international activity but there is only one 2 country study on supervision, and it was not comparative (O’Donaghue and Tsui, 2013). The SCIE study (Lambley and Marrable, 2013) is the ONLY study to have directly included service users in research on supervision although this has been suggested since the late 1980’s.

    7. Literature Review: key findings Carpenter et al (2012:1) found that good supervision in social work and social care was associated with many positive benefits (but causal links were not established in Mor Barak et al 2009 meta analysis), and the impact and outcomes for service users and carers ‘has rarely been investigated’ As an area of study supervision is poorly conceptualised i.e., implicit theorising, inconsequential or ambiguous hypothesis and conceptual and methodological flaws which result ‘in the capacity to test theory in nearly every study being compromised’ (Milne et al 2008:171)

    8. Methodology • Systems theory as a way to frame the research • Looking not just at what happens, but why it happens (Reder, Duncan & Gray 1993; Fish, Munro & Bairstow 2008) • Going beyond good practice within the supervision relationship to look at the effect of the (boundaried) environment on services users, workers (and vice versa). • A system of feedback should help to keep systems developing and innovating?? • Influences from external environment informed practice, but was not the focus of the research

    9. A [semi-open] system approach Broader social systems (LA, commissioning bodies) [environment] Feedback Feedback Feedback

    10. Systems approach – research participation • Workers from social care, social work, and health fields • Some professionally qualified, some not • Managers • some professionally qualified, some not • Service users • Two existing groups • Adults with learning disabilities • Mental Health service users • Local Authority Adult Services Commissioner Ethical Approval: University of Sussex (and Social Care Research Ethics Committee – SCREC) Governance: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) plus NHS

    11. Research design: three phase approach (data collection) Phase 1: Mixed methods online survey – processes, practices, experience, feelings and outcomes of supervision. • 136 respondents across 28 practice sites – all receiving supervision, 50% (n=68) also acting as supervisors • Accessed through a call via SCIE newsletter and through the online Choice Forum (including some snowballing to other organisations via both calls) • Sites from England and Northern Ireland included: • Community mental health teams, care homes, palliative care hospice, local authority adult social services, community learning disability, domiciliary care service, substance misuse team. • Providers from the independent sector, social enterprise, local authority, National Health Service, charity and third sector, health and social care trust, direct support.

    12. Phase 2: Case studies at four sites of ‘good’ provision, drawn from online survey participants – 19 semi-structured interviews. Sites were chosen • because supervision was perceived to be strong and/or innovative in some aspect of its approach and/or outcomes • To provide a spread across adult services where social care and health were both working • Participants – managers, professionals from health and social work, social care practitioners, other service staff • A local authority led integrated health team • A large social enterprise providing services for adults with disability or frailty in the community – residence and at home • A care home – dementia and mental health care • A primary care trust community mental health team

    13. Phase 3: Consultation with service users, advisory group and commissioner Two separate pre-existing service user forums • Mental health discussion group • 11 participants, receiving community based services. • Experience of services provided by health and social care professionals, management and care staff, housing and voluntary organisations • Learning disability strategic consultation group – • 5 participants. This group was providing guidance to service providers about including service users in staff recruitment and development. • Experience of social workers, general practitioners, nurses, psychiatrists, as well as support workers, care workers, key workers, senior care workers, deputy and care managers • SCIE advisory group input – social workers, service managers, service users, advisory organisations. • Local Authority Service Commissioner

    14. The system

    15. The key findings (1) “Expectation that everyone receives monthly supervision and this is regularly audited.” Manager, Residential Home

    16. The key findings (2) • Supervision contract with agreed/negotiated expectations • Formal and informal supervision (1-1 most common, but also linked to group, peer, ad-hoc consultation) • Supportive (i.e., a focus on the relationship with the individual as well as the task) • Supervisor is a leader (expert leader as well as able to manage upwards and across agencies) • Supervision supports worker development, career progression, practice and service innovation • Is focused on the service user, staff and the organisation (but framed differently in the 4 sites) ‘But the whole thing interweaves the whole time, so from the supervision I’m discussing my needs; I’m also discussing the needs of the service user and what I need to support him and how you can support me and how I can support you and the whole thing works that way.’ (Senior support worker) SupervisionPractice

    17. The supervisioncontext

    18. Knowledge

    19. Key Findings (3) “After supervision I tend to deal with the service user with more confidence, feeling like I've got an action plan in place to help them and get them the services they need. Supervision certainly has a positive effect on how I deal with people and what kind of services they receive.” (Assistant manager, older people’s service, local authority)

    20. Impacts of supervision from employee perspectives A community nurse said that she used supervision to bring up a concern that she had about a service user, which was taken up to be discussed by the senior management team as there were funding issues and something needed to happen at a more senior level.

    21. Direct impacts of supervision for service users (from employee perspectives) A worker in a residential home described how supervision had helped when a new resident arrived with habits that contradicted the care of another resident. Sensitivity was needed to come up with a solution that suited both residents, “because we don’t want to upset any of them and they still have the choice of what they want.” An administrator noticed that a lady used to ring the office regularly and would cry, so the administrator brought this up in an ad-hoc supervision and asked for something to be done. The administrator felt that supervision had benefitted the service user as her behaviour had been brought to the attention of the staff team who could act on this information

    22. Impacts of supervision from service user perspectives; group 1 (ALD customers) • Group members were unaware that health and social care staff were supervised • They had no personal experience of being involved in, or providing feedback, for supervision, although they were active in shaping other parts of services. • They identified how service users • and carers provided feedback; • Satisfaction questionnaires • Complaint post cards (this was being piloted by one local authority customer services) • Telling ‘trusted staff’ what they felt about a service they had received or a problem they were experiencing. 

    23. Impacts of supervision from service user perspectives; group 2 (MH) The group members were confused about different worker roles (e.g., what’s the difference between a social worker and a care manager?), and they were unclear why a service user couldn’t be a supervisor.  They wondered why supervisors didn’t know about poor services, and why they didn’t improve services, when they did know.  The group were unclear about what actually happens in supervision, and in particular how a worker might make sure that a service user’s thoughts, feelings or wants, were conveyed in supervision Supervision was considered a ‘good thing’ if it helped service users to get what they needed but a threat if it did not. 2 members of the group gave examples of both

    24. Costing and Commissioning Costing: “We do not cost supervision as it is part of what we do. If we wanted to we may just do that simple calculation of the two people’s hourly rate multiplied. However it might not be very sophisticated as you may be taking people away from direct support but productivity should increase” Commissioning: it would not be usual for supervision to be identified in a contract: inputs are not the focus of attention.  As long as the service user is getting the service that has been commissioned, and this meets their needs then the commissioner (and even monitoring team) wouldn't become involved in details such as supervision

    25. Conclusion: Policy developments require a paradigm shift at practice level. Using systems theory and mixed methods, the following picture emerged Feedback Feedback Feedback

    26. Good supervision was defined as…..

    27. Some research limitations… • The limited resources available for the practice enquiry meant that it was impossible to scope all models of supervision in social work and social care. • The ‘cost and benefits’ of supervision was an area that was not calculated within any of the study sites in a sophisticated way so the data we gathered had very limited use. • The scope of the practice enquiry did not allow for any in depth work looking at the supervision of personal assistants and home-based care provided through direct payments. This is an area which requires further study. • A separate study is called for, looking to identify any causal links between good supervision practices which include the voices of service users on staff retention and turnover. While the practice enquiry was able to provide some limited associations in this area, it would benefit from a closer and more specific focus.

    28. Further research is needed to: • Develop, pilot and evaluate methods for collecting data on the impact and outcomes from supervision • Engage service users in developing our understanding of how supervision practice can further support practice and service improvements • Identify any causal links between good supervision practices, which include the voices of service users, on staff retention and turnover. • Develop a costings methodology (including retention) to help employers to understand the cost/benefits of use of different types of supervision models.

    29. References • Bogo,M. and McKnight, K. (2006) ‘Clinical supervision in Social Work: a review of the research literature.’ The Clinical Supervisor, 24(1−2), 49−67. • Carpenter, J., Webb, C., Bostock, L. and Coomber, C. (2012) Effective supervision in social work and social care. London: SCIE. • Carpenter, J. Webb, C. and Bostock L (2013) ‘The surprisingly weak evidence base for supervision: Findings from a systematic review of research in child welfare practice (2000-2012)’, Children and Youth Services Review. Available online 5 September 2013, ISSN 0190-7409, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2013.08.014 • Fish, S., Munro, E. and Bairstow, S. (2008) Learning together to safeguard children: developing an inter-agency systems approach for case reviews, London: SCIE. • Lambley, S. and Marrable, T. (2013) Practice enquiry into supervision in a variety of adult care settings where there are health and social care practitioners working together. London: SCIE. • Milne, D. Aylott, H., Fitzpatrick, H., and Ellis, M.V. (2008) ‘How does clinical supervision work? Using a best evidence synthesis approach to construct a basic model of supervision’.The Clinical Supervisor, 27(2), 170-190. • MorBarak, M.E., Travis, D.H., Pyun, H., and Xie, B (2009) ‘The impact of supervision on worker outcomes: a meta analysis.’ Social Sciences review, 83 (1) pp 55-65 • O’Donaghue, K., and Tsui, M (2013) ‘Social Work Supervision research (1970 – 2010): The way we were and the way ahead’,The British Journal of Social Work, 3-8 • Reder, P., Duncan, S., Gray, M. (1993) Beyond Blame: child abuse tragedies revisited. London: Routledge. • Simmons, R (2009) Understanding the ‘differentiated consumer’ in public services. in Simmons, R., Powell, M., and Greener, I., (eds) The consumer in public services choice, values and difference. Bristol; Policy Press