Practice supervisor KSS 4: effective use of power and authority

Last updated: 8 June 2023

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Photo: Dyagaleva/Fotolia

This page sets out the knowledge and skills listed under practice supervisor KSS 4 (effective use of power and authority) in the Department for Education’s post-qualifying standard: knowledge and skills statement for child and family practice supervisors (KSS). Against this, we have mapped Community Care Inform guides, research, learning tools and other resources to help supervisors meet and evidence this part of the statement for career and continuing professional development. The links to the resources are in blue; click to follow them to the page you’re interested in.

 What does the statement say?

 Resources to help you

The practice supervisor will be able to:

•      Apply a proportionate and ethical approach to the exercise of authority, which develops and maintains relationships with families and professionals and ensures the protection of children. Maximise opportunities for children and families to make informed choices.

•      Secure an up to date, working knowledge of relevant legislation and case law.

•      Exercise statutory powers where social work assessment shows that families require help and support and children are at risk of significant harm, ensuring that actions are proportionate to risk.

•      Support practitioners to always communicate clearly, honestly and respectfully the purpose and content of the social work plan.

•      Recognise the patterns of relationships between professionals, identifying where these are likely to compromise the welfare of families and the safety of children, taking immediate and corrective action. Invite challenge and debate and be accessible to children, families and professionals. Ensure the professional network identifies the logic by which children and families are functioning and use this as a basis for effective engagement.

•      Take into account diversity, the experience of discrimination and the impact of poverty.

Developing social work care plans
This guide and group learning activity on the same topic suggest approaches to planning (applicable to all areas of children’s social work) that are collaborative with families.

Relationship-based conversations: practice scenario videos
These example conversations between a social worker and parent or young person and the accompanying commentary/reflection questions provide tips on communicating in clear and respectful ways, providing service users with information to make choices and developing relationships.

Rethinking ‘disguised compliance’ considers the implications of statutory involvement in families’ lives and provides suggestions on taking an ethical, relationship-based approach.

Community Care Inform’s legal hub
Use the hub to quickly access digests of case law, key legislation and tips on court and legal skills.

Managing risk
Aims to help managers take a balanced and proportionate approach to risk.

Guide to child protection conferences
Explains the process following a section 47 investigation, communicating with other professionals, involving the child and family and developing an outline child protection plan.

Multi-agency working: leading the professional network and chairing meetings
Provides advice for practitioners on the biases and narratives that can influence professions from different disciplines and how to respond to challenges.

Working Together 2018: how it affects your role
Explains what the statutory guidance means for social workers, especially in relation to assessments, plans and reviews and child protection procedures. Also includes links to current supplementary guidance.

Learn on the go: poverty, child protection and the care system
Leading researchers discuss the links between deprivation and safeguarding work and how social workers can better support families.

Equality, diversity and inclusion hub
Gathers resources on working with diversity (including race, gender, sex, sexuality, class, religion and disability) and applying anti-discriminatory and anti-oppressive practice.

Cultural competence
Considers how our own beliefs and attitudes can shape how we respond to aspects of other cultures and how to work effectively with minority and marginalised groups.

Links to resource maps for other parts of the KSS:

You might be interested in…

Online resource map for all parts of the KSS for practice supervisors
PDF version of the resource map for all parts of the practice supervisor KSS
Quick guide to the knowledge and skills statements and their role in the ASYE and ongoing professional development
Map of resources for the child and family practitioner KSS