An evaluation of group safeguarding supervision in health visiting practice
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

An evaluation of group safeguarding supervision in health visiting practice

Michelle Moseley Lecturer, primary care and public health nursing, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales

Why you should read this article:
  • To enhance your knowledge on group safeguarding supervision and how it can reduce workload for safeguarding teams

  • To understand how group safeguarding supervision sessions can be structured to allow all attendees to discuss cases

  • To learn how you can implement group safeguarding supervision in your practice

Background Safeguarding supervision is a necessity for practitioners such as health visitors when working with vulnerable families who have been subjected to potential abuse and neglect. Safeguarding teams are established in all local health boards (LHB) across the UK. The safeguarding team at the LHB featured in this study provided regular one-to-one safeguarding supervision every three to six months, which had a significant cost implication for the team. It was suggested by the LHB that group safeguarding supervision be evaluated.

Aim To explore health visitors’ and safeguarding nurse advisers’ (SNAs) thoughts, feelings and experiences concerning a new model of group safeguarding supervision that aimed to inform future practice locally, and potentially across Wales.

Method Group supervision was implemented across a Welsh LHB with a health visiting service comprising 24 health visitors. Questionnaires were given to identify where each health visitor worked, and to formulate question prompts for the focus groups and interviews that followed. Focus groups were conducted with health visitors, while interviews were conducted with SNAs, to explore their thoughts and experiences of the group supervision model.

Results Only 16 of the 24 health visitors were available to take part in the focus groups. Overall, 11 of the 16 health visitors preferred group supervision to one-to-one supervision. Some felt that group supervision alone may not be enough, and some still required one-to-one supervision alongside the group sessions. Health visitors who had been qualified for less than three years felt one-to-one supervision was more effective.

Conclusion Group safeguarding supervision was generally well-received by the health visitors in this evaluation, although some suggestions were made for improvements to the sessions. In particular, smaller group sizes and longer sessions to enable greater discussion of cases.

Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1611

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Moseley M (2020) An evaluation of group safeguarding supervision in health visiting practice. Primary Health Care. doi: 10.7748/phc.2020.e1611

Acknowledgement The author would like to thank Linda Hughes-Jones, head of safeguarding, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff, Wales

Published online: 22 April 2020

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