Practice supervisor KSS 8: performance management and improvement

Last updated: 8 June 2023

supervision session

Photo: Community Care Inform

This page sets out the knowledge and skills listed under practice supervisor KSS 8 (performance management and improvement) 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 as part of 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:

•      Explain to practitioners the full legal, regulatory, procedural and performance framework within which they operate and be accountable for their work within it.

•      Provide opportunities for staff to give and receive constructive feedback on performance. Recognise and commend hard work and excellent practice and build social workers’ confidence in their practice.

•      Challenge complacency with a commitment to continued improvement and confidently hold poor practice to account.

•      Establish available capacity so that work is allocated appropriately across the staff group and ensure best use is made of resource, ability, interests and ambitions.

•      Devise and implement systems which both demonstrate effective practice and trigger immediate corrective action where necessary. Produce and utilise data to understand current demand, historical patterns and likely future trends.

•      Scrutinise system performance and devise and implement effective and timely improvement plans.

•      Strike a balance between employing a managerial, task-focused approach and an enabling, reflective leadership style to achieve efficient day-to-day functioning.

•      Develop a strategy for future improvements and contribute to similar within the wider organisational system.

•      Draw on and share best practice within local and national contexts. Implement communication channels with children, young people, families and other professionals inviting feedback and ideas for improvement.

•      Respond thoughtfully and proactively to complaints and mistakes, creating learning opportunities for self, staff and the organisation.

Community Care Inform’s legal hub offers digests of the acts of parliament, regulations and guidance that shape practitioners’ work.

Working Together 2018: how it affects your social work role makes clear the statutory framework and how it links to the law and regulations.

Advice on providing opportunities to give and receive feedback can be found in this guide.

Case study: from manager to leader provides a detailed example of tackling poor performance within a team – using data, allocating work and implementing new systems to create improvement and allow staff to develop in an ‘atmosphere of growth’.

In this case study about leading a multi-agency team, a manager describes an approach to ensuring work is completed to timescales in a fast-paced screening team, while also creating opportunities for reflection.

Video examples of a routine supervision session and providing support after a challenging visit prompt you to analyse when and how you employ more reflective and more task-focused approaches.

Managing support workers provides suggestions on managing a mixed staff group of social workers and non-social work qualified workers, including how to develop systems of allocating work and managing risk. It also includes advice on involving service users and carers in the development of services.

Listen to Community Care’s Ofsted interview podcast series to hear examples of strategies senior leaders in improving councils have used.


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