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Developing capacity

Investigating the quality of social work decisions in supervision


Social workers sometimes make decisions about people’s wellbeing that are life changing. This study is investigating how social workers make decisions and is collecting evidence of the possible impact of different supervision practices on quality. 


2015 – 2018

Research team

Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU); Angela Jenkinson (Kingston University) (Principal Investigator); Marie Juanchich; Miroslav Sirota (University of Essex)


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research


Following a review of the literature, the research team has undertaken consultation with two groups of social workers who are not participating in the later experiments. They have assessed a set of scenarios developed by the research team to help think about standards expected in practice.  Data are being collected by experiments in which social workers are asked to make decisions based on imaginary or hypothetical but realistic case examples. The case examples were codesigned with expert practitioners. Each experiment requires decisions to be taken in a different supervision set of circumstances, and has involved 90 social workers.


The research study is ongoing.

Outputs and Impact

As well as a Doctoral thesis, this study is leading to presentations, articles and reports for different audiences, including policymakers, practitioners and researchers.

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