By: amy bishop
Author: Sarah Humphreys, Sharon Jennings and Sandie Chatterton
‘Since the very first wave one cohort of the Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) we have held equality and diversity at the centre of our conversations of how to work together and how to ensure we weave this through our facilitation. The strength of our work together has been an open exploration of our similarities and differences as women with different ethnicities, faith backgrounds, sexual orientations, class, age, geographical backgrounds amongst other differences and what that means in the context of delivering the programme and our use of self.
At times this has felt an easy and natural process, and at other times this has led me to really look at myself, and have had to challenge my own perception of myself. I grew up in a community that had social justice at its core and yet I have had to relook at what was privileged within this and what was missed (voiced and unvoiced).
Facilitating the PDSP and being involved in equality audits of resources has again sharpened my focus on how to widen the lens from our own experiences and ensure the lens is used to bring in other narratives and ensuring we name (voice) and make visible inequalities and impact of structural and personal power imbalances.’
See the Exploring Diversity in Supervision: Practice Tool for further information.
‘What strikes me about these comments is our role as facilitators to model the principles we are articulating and supporting supervisors with. With a focus on anti-racism, and particularly as a Black woman, I am also aware of my personal and political drive to honour black delegates’ experiences of injustice within their organisations whilst recognising their power and resilience. It is important that I articulate this clearly and directly. At the same time, I am mindful that open discussion of these issues may feel challenging for white delegates as many feel this is outside of their comfort zone.’
I feel very fortunate to work with Sandie and Sarah, where I feel we share this responsibility, and I don’t feel I am carrying this on my own. We have reflective and open conversations, which enable us to work at a depth where we focus on the different power dynamics being played out in the group, the forms of resistance, silencing, and opting out by delegates. In addressing this, I feel our approach is to challenge through invitation. For example, co-creating a safe space and inviting all delegates to move away from their areas of comfort where they can grow and challenge themselves, together.’
See the Critical Conversations in Social Work Supervision: Practice Tool and Let’s talk about racism and barriers to career progression: Films for further information.
‘Working with Sharon and Sarah is inspiring. The co-facilitation experience extends me and, I believe, stretches all three of us into areas of relational and self-reflexivity, which wouldn’t be possible working alone. Reflecting together during and through the ‘afterlife’ of verbal and visceral conversations pushes us to be more proactive. Coming from a White, working class County in North East England, I was often shy and slow to challenge. Increasing awareness of White privilege compounded this disposition. From deeper but sensitive exploration of multiple perspectives with these colleagues, I have come out of my comfort zone more often. Together we have demonstrated how to ‘act sensitively into critical moments’, helped each other to push past the awkward silences and taken action in naming issues and supporting each other across all divides and positions of power.’
See the Social GGRRAAACCEEESSS and the LUUUTT model: Practice Tool, having reflective conversations in supervision and Using systemic questions in supervision: Practice Tool for further information.
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Access learning resources and tools to support practice supervisors and managers in child and family social work who are responsible for supervising the practice of others. Many of the open-access resources are adapted from teaching materials used on the programme.
The murder of George Floyd in the United States in 2020, and its galvanising impact on the Black Lives Matter movement, sharpened global attention on the issue of racism. PSDP has collaborated with three practice leaders who have experience of working in children’s social care, to explore how racism has affected their professional lives, and what needs to change in these films.
Nimal Jude and Rashida Baig have also explored some of these ideas in a recent article.
This briefing is written specifically for practice supervisors. It includes key messages from research and practice evidence, challenge questions and reflective prompts to help you consider how you might use these ideas in your role.
This learning tool has been developed to support challenging Eurocentric ways of being, knowing and doing. When effectively applied, cultural competence can be a powerful tool for organisational and individual change, increased equity in the workplace, and ultimately leading to improvements in social work practice with diverse and changing communities.
Sarah Humphreys is a social worker, systemic practitioner and lecturer. She has been involved in facilitating the PSDP since its start in 2018. She has worked within local authorities and the voluntary sector as well as working in social work roles in GP Practices, schools and prevention to care and youth offending teams. Sharon Jennings is a training consultant, practice educator and independent social worker. In addition to facilitating on the PSDP, she has recently joined its operations team as deputy delivery lead. As a social work practitioner and manager, Sharon specialised in intensive family support, court assessment and working intensively with families/children on the cusp of care. Sharon also worked with the Kings Fund and had a lead role in developing mental health provision for black communities. She has written about this in various articles and in her book ‘Creating Solutions’. Sandie Chatterton is a qualified social worker and systemic psychotherapist who has worked in frontline Children’s Services (CSC) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and is a lecturer and training facilitator. In practice she worked across CSC and CAMHS multi-disciplinary roles. Sandie has facilitated on the PSDP from the beginning of delivery in November 2018.
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