The power of relationship-based supervision in supporting social work retention: A case study from long-term ethnographic research in child protection

Lisa Warwick*, Liz Beddoe, Jadwiga Leigh, Tom Disney, Harry Ferguson, Tarsem Cooner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Supervision is a core component of professional support and development in social work. In many settings, and perhaps particularly in children’s services, it is valued as crucial in safe decision-making, practice reflection, professional development and staff support. Research has demonstrated that supervision and staff support also contribute to social worker retention in child welfare services. Drawing on data gathered in a 15-month ethnographic, longitudinal study of child protection work that included observations of supervision, we were able to observe the impact of supportive supervisory relationships on social workers’ decision-making about staying in their current workplace. This article presents a single case that demonstrates the potential impact of effective relationship-based supervision on retention and calls for a more humane approach to social work supervision against dominant managerial themes that have increasingly burdened the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalQualitative Social Work
Early online date7 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2022

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