Contemporary practices in social work supervision: time for new paradigms?

Trish Hafford-Letchfield, Lambert Englebrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
87 Downloads (Pure)


Social work supervision is considered to be a core feature in the development of social work’s professional identity and practice and provides an important vehicle in which its outcomes are mediated and supported. Its key stakeholders may include people who use services, practitioners, and educators, those leading and managing services and organisations providing services. Good quality supervision has been cited as a potential pivot upon which the integrity and excellence of practice can be maintained. However, over the last two decades, much has been written about the impact of globalised social and political influences and economic changes impacting on social work. The status, purpose and epistemology of social work supervision in the literature have constantly been contested within this context resulting in its repositioning to serve more conservative and restrictive environments. These developments have also given rise to the emergence of contradictory viewpoints about the key purpose of supervision, its empirical basis and the need for a cultural shift to address tensions between technicist approaches and relationship-based approaches. It is therefore timely to review and review and re-examine the state of knowledge, research and practice about social work supervision and to capture any new developments that might inform critical practice, professional development and wellbeing as well as its wider impact on accountability, effectiveness and work performance. We are therefore really pleased to publish this themed issue in the European Journal of Social Work which has enabled us to bring together a very wide range of contributions capturing contemporary empirical evaluations of theoretical and practice models in supervision. These come from international perspectives in
regions including, West Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong-Kong, USA, Canada; Denmark, Israel, England, Scotland and Ireland. The range of papers in this collection has adopted global perspectives as well as empirical accounts of experiences and practices in supervision which are both action oriented and reflective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-332
Number of pages3
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
Early online date23 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2018


  • social work
  • supervision
  • paradigms
  • editorial
  • special issue


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