Registered social workers' supervision across areas of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand




supervision, areas of practice, survey, Aotearoa New Zealand


INTRODUCTION: This article examines the supervisory experiences and views of registered social workers across the practice areas of statutory services, health and non-government organisations (NGOs.) The article aims to establish a baseline for supervision across areas of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand and discuss the implications any differences have for the supervision of registered social workers.
METHODS: Demographic data from 266 postal survey respondents was descriptively analysed. A one-way ANOVA and Tamhane T2 post hoc tests were applied using IBM SPSS 24 to explore variances in means for the independent variable of Area of Practice across 10 scales about the respondents’ supervision experiences.
FINDINGS: Differences were identified in the workforce profile of each area, and there were significant differences in supervisees’ experiences of supervision across areas of practice which reflected each area’s different supervision culture, policy, and practices. The findings show that supervision in health and NGO areas was more professional, clinical, cultural, reflective and involved more positive content within a more constructive supervision climate than supervision in the statutory area.
CONCLUSIONS: A significant difference was found between the quality of supervision experienced by social workers in health and NGOs and their statutory social work colleagues. This needs to be addressed through changing the supervision climate, developing supervisor capability and the uncluttering of supervision through separating professional/clinical supervision from line management. This study provides a foundation for further research that compares supervision across practice areas.

Author Biography

Kieran O'Donoghue, School of Social Work, Massey University

Associate Professor
School of Social Work
Massey University




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How to Cite

O’Donoghue, K. (2022). Registered social workers’ supervision across areas of practice in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 34(1), 36–54.



Original Articles