Here at One Stop Social, we love taking a moment to shine a spotlight at a particular service, programme or person who we feel are really helping the social work or care industry. With that in mind, we recently chatted to Dez Holmes at Research in Practice to find out a little more about them, and in particular, their work on the new Practice Supervisor Development Programme.
For those who are unfamiliar with Research in Practice, tell us a bit about the organisation
“Research in Practice has been running for over 21 years, and at our heart we remain a membership organisation, supporting a network of over 110 local authorities and children’s charities around the country. We work to champion an evidence-informed approach to children’s services, taking a triangulated approach bringing together research, practice knowledge and the experience of children, young people and families. We’re a wholly independent, not for profit organisation, as part of the Dartington Hall Trust. We don’t just look at practice, we also support managers, commissioners, carers and senior leaders; by providing training, producing briefings, webinars, podcasts, evaluation support and action research projects.”
What would you say is your main goal in social work?
“Well, we’re not just about social work. We are clear we’re not the voice of social work, as there are organisations who dedicate themselves wholly to that area and they do fantastic work. Our focus is on enabling evidence-informed practice across the wider children and families sector – helping the system as a whole. However, some of our most passionate users are social workers!”
What is the Practice Supervisor Development Programme?
“Research in Practice are leading a consortium of partners to establish a CPD programme for up to 700 new practice supervisors, commissioned by DfE, over the next 2 years.”
Who are Research in Practice collaborating with to deliver this programme?
“Our consortium partners are The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, University of Sussex and Goldsmiths University; and we’re also working with a wider group of local delivery partners (mainly Teaching Partnerships and universities) so that the PSDP is delivered regionally. We’re thrilled to have so many skilled partners working with us on this – we feel very lucky. We’re creating a model that allows the sector to be actively involved in the development and delivery, so the PSDP will be grounded in the realities practice.”
What do Research in Practice hope to achieve with the PSDP?
“We want to create something that builds local capacity, offer some sustainability, and explicitly draw on research about the role of supervision and on the wisdom of practitioners and supervisors. We want to ensure the PSDP builds on existing CPD content and partnerships, as there are already some great programmes in place in many regions (such as Teaching Partnerships). The PSDP is not intended to replace or dilute any of this existing CPD activity, but instead will aim to learn from and complement those successful existing CPD activities. This is essential as we want to demonstrate an evidence-based approach to how we roll out this programme – we have to walk the talk!”
How are you developing the PSDP?
“First off, we’ve issued a survey for social work practitioners, supervisors, senior managers and strategic leaders to complete. This explores the learning needs of practice supervisors, the barriers and enablers to effective CPD, and what makes CPD effective. We’re running focus groups exclusively for supervisors so they can tell us directly what they want from the PSDP. We’re working with a number of advocacy organisations too, to hear from children, young people, families and carers.
We are undertaking a review of academic research, and looking at things like Ofsted reports to understand more about the role of supervisors.
We will also be issuing a survey to CPD providers, so that we can understand what work is underway before designing our approach. We’re also setting up a Practice Reference Group, where there’ll be representatives from each region to influence our thinking.
We want to make sure we’re adding value, beyond training 700 newly appointed practice supervisors, so we’re intending to develop an open access microsite, where we can host CPD materials and useful materials. We’re keen to encourage organisations to share any relevant materials they are proud of. These will then be quality assured and made available through the microsite, so that everyone can benefit from them – with full credit given to the original source of course.”
What are the programmes core values?
“Engagement. 100%. We are looking to make sure as many voices are heard; we’re doing lots of scoping and engagement over the summer as we want the best of research and practice knowledge to inform the process. We are trying to be as collaborative as we can be, open to ideas and respectful of the sector’s needs and expertise – those are really important values to us. And of course we are committed to being evidence-informed!”
The team at One Stop Social can’t wait to see how the Practice Supervisor Development Programme progresses and we look forward to supporting it in any way we can as a professional’s hub. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be kept informed of developments.