Supervision and Consultation

  • Veronica Coulshed
Part of the Practical Social Work book series (PSWS)


The largest portion of the budget in human service organisations is usually spent on staff salaries; thus the ways in which staff are supported and their skills developed can influence the quality of organisational performance as a whole. This chapter clarifies the nature of supervision and consultation. It looks at the aims and methods of supervision in fieldwork and in group care establishments: additionally, I explore the supervision of volunteers and indigenous helpers, commenting on their recruitment and selection. People at all levels may offer supervision, but usually this is seen as a first/middle-management role. I know that a number of team leaders and officers in charge of residential and day-care facilities feel unsure about giving such supervision. At times they admit that they avoid the responsibility, perhaps pleading that ‘There isn’t the time’; but deep down they may feel that staff are more skilled than they, that they have not been trained in professional supervision, that staff can see supervision as checking up on them and that, when it comes to the crunch, they themselves do not receive support or supervision from their managers either. With some practical guidelines I hope that the task will seem less daunting by the end of the chapter. First, though, I query if supervision is a bureaucratic device: a way of undermining professional autonomy.


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Copyright information

© British Association of Social Workers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronica Coulshed

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