NUMBER 825 • 12 SEPTEMBER • SUPERVISION FORMATS
Several supervision options are possible within the team context, and can be used singly or in combination, thus offering a degree of flexibility and variation.
The one-to-one meeting
This is the traditional model, sometimes referred to as 'tutorial', of the supervisor meeting with the supervisee individually. As discussed in Chapter 5, the frequency, content and approach taken will vary greatly according to the experience and ability of the supervisee.
The one-to-two meeting
There are a range of situations and reasons that may influence a supervisor to decide to meet with two workers together. These include: economy of time, two supervisees having similar needs e.g. both recently appointed after training, working together e.g. co-working with a family or a group, and so on. This could replace one-to-one supervision entirely, or more likely it will complement individual sessions.
The supervisor meets with all or some of the supervisees in a group, with or without concurrent individual meetings.
In some circumstances, some aspects of supervision may be arranged with a supervisor other than the designated person. For example, the latter may not have the relevant expertise, say in groupwork or mental health, and may arrange for a colleague who does have it to supervise that part of the supervisee's work. When cross-team or dual supervision occurs everyone needs to be clear - as discussed above - how the agency accountability for that work is held between the two or more supervisors.
Consultation with a consultant
There will be circumstances when arrangements are made for individual team members to have consultation on some aspect of their work and/or personal/professional development with someone external to the agency.
The difference between this and cross-team supervision is that agency accountability is not held by the consultant, and the supervisor has to negotiate some way of tying it into supervision. Again, the important thing is to have a clear agreement understood by all involved.
This could be either in a tandem pair with a colleague, or in a group of colleagues, not necessarily from the same team or even from the same agency. Some experienced workers make their own arrangements to meet for this purpose. The supervision/management issues are whether these meetings are negotiated to be in work time, whether they complement or largely replace line supervision, and how they tie in with agency accountability.
ALAN BROWN and IAIN BOURNE
Brown, A. and Bourne I. (1996) The social work supervisor. Buckingham: Open University Press, pp.134-135