Implementation of the supervision framework for the social work profession in South Africa by a designated child protection organisation

Khosa, Priscalia (2022-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Supervision plays a significant role in social work because social work practice depends largely upon the organisation’s administrative structure, which includes supervisors to continue training new social workers and provide ongoing professional guidance. Despite the predominance of supervision within the social work profession, and the weight placed upon its role and function by policymakers, practitioners, and organisation managers alike, it remains an under-researched area of enquiry when it comes to evidence-informed supervision policies. In South Africa, the Supervision Framework for the Social Work Profession seeks to conceptualise, contextualise, and provide norms and standards that guide the execution of supervision in the country. However, since its inception in 2012, no study has been conducted on how the Supervision Framework is implemented in various organisations. Hence, the aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the stories of social workers in a designated child protection organisation regarding the implementation of the Supervision Framework. Given the knowledge gap and limited voices of social workers, a constructionist theoretical approach guided this study to explore the perspectives and stories of social workers and their supervisors on how the Supervision Framework is implemented in their organisation. This study employed a qualitative research approach. A case study research design that was exploratory and descriptive in nature was adopted in this study. Semi-structured telephonic interviews were conducted with 28 participants employed in a designated child protection organisation in the Western Cape of South Africa. Twenty social workers and 8 supervisors within the organisation were selected through purposive non-probability sampling. Data were analysed through thematic content analysis using ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis software for coding and management of data. The findings of the study indicate that the case study of the child protection organisation may be regarded as a best practice example of the implementation of the Supervision Framework based on the linear stories of supervisors and frontline social workers. However, what is novel about this study is that it brings together previous findings, theory, policy, and legislation about the implementation of the Supervision Framework in a child protection organisation by further analysing the subtext stories of participants in line with the constructionist approach. Thus, although the organisation under study has thrived in developing a supervision policy and implementing the policy in line with the stipulations of the Supervision Framework, there remains challenges related to the dominance of the administrative function of supervision within the organisation and, in some instances, lack of emotional support. The key recommendation based on the study’s findings is that clinical supervision can be salvaged by introducing innovative ways of conducting supervision, such as peer supervision, to develop a community of supervision practice; by adopting an external supervision model to place the primary focus of supervision on clinical dimensions instead of administrative tasks; and by investigating the potential of online supervision in promoting the accessibility of supervisors.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Supervisie speel ʼn belangrike rol in maatskaplike werk, want die praktyk van maatskaplike werk is hoofsaaklik afhanklik van die organisasie se administratiewe struktuur, wat onder andere behels dat supervisors nuwe maatskaplike werkers deurlopend oplei en voortgesette professionele leiding bied. Ondanks die dominante rol van supervisie in die professie van maatskaplike werk en die gewig wat deur beleidsmakers, praktisyns en organisasiebestuurders op die rol en funksies daarvan geplaas word, is beperkte navorsing oor bewysgerigte supervisiebeleide uitgevoer. In Suid-Afrika is die doel van die Supervisieraamwerk vir die maatskaplikewerkprofessie om norme en standaarde wat supervisie in die land rig, te konseptualiseer, te kontekstualiseer en te verskaf. Sedert die instelling daarvan in 2012 is daar egter nog geen studies gedoen oor die manier waarop die Supervisieraamwerk in verskeie organisasies geimplementeer word nie. Die doel van hierdie studie was dus om begrip te verkry van die stories van maatskaplike werkers in ʼn aangewese kinderbeskermingsorganisasie rakende die implementering van die Supervisieraamwerk. Gegewe die kennisgaping en beperkte stemme van maatskaplike werkers het ʼn konstruksionistiese teoretiese benadering hierdie studie gerig ten einde die perspektiewe en stories van maatskaplike werkers en hul supervisors rakende die implementering van die Supervisieraamwerk in hul organisasie te verken. ʼn Kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering is in hierdie studie gebruik. ʼn Gevallestudie-navorsingsontwerp wat verkennend en beskrywend van aard is, is aangewend. Semigestruktureerde telefoniese onderhoude is met 28 deelnemers gevoer wat in ʼn aangewese kinderbeskermingsorganisasie in die Wes-Kaap van Suid-Afrika werk. Twintig maatskaplike werkers en agt supervisors in die organisasie is deur doelgerigte niewaarskynlikheidstreekproefneming gekies. Data is deur tematiese inhoudsontleding met behulp van ATLAS.ti-sagteware vir die ontleding van kwalitatiewe data ontleed vir die kodering en bestuur van die data. Die bevindinge van die studie toon dat die gevallestudie van die kinderbeskermingsorganisasie as ʼn voorbeeld van beste praktyk ten opsigte van die implementering van die Supervisieraamwerk beskou kan word op grond van die lineere stories van toesighouers en toonaangewende maatskaplike werkers. Wat egter nuut in hierdie studie is, is dat dit vorige bevindinge, teorie, beleid en wetgewing oor die implementering van die Supervisieraamwerk in ʼn kinderbeskermingsorganisasie byeenbring deur die subteks-stories van deelnemers ingevolge die konstruksionistiese benadering te ontleed. Alhoewel die organisasie wat bestudeer is wel uitstekend gevaar het met die ontwikkeling van ʼn supervisiebeleid en implementering van die beleid ingevolge die stipulasies van die Supervisieraamwerk, is daar steeds uitdagings verbonde aan die oorheersing van die administratiewe funksie van supervisie in die organisasie en in sommige gevalle ʼn gebrek aan emosionele ondersteuning. Die hoofaanbeveling op grond van die studiebevindinge is dat kliniese supervisie benut kan word deur die bekendstelling van innoverende maniere van supervisie, soos ewekniesupervisie, om ʼn gemeenskap van supervisiepraktyk te ontwikkel, deur toepassing van ʼn eksterne supervisiemodel om die primere fokus van supervisie op kliniese dimensies te plaas in stede van op administratiewe take, en deur ʼn ondersoek na die potensiaal van aanlyn supervisie ten einde die toeganklikheid van die supervisors te verhoog.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124673
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