Monday, February 9, 2015

Administrative Functions of Supervision

Administrative Functions of Supervision

The Administrative function of supervision seeks to ensure the social worker completes tasks associated with agency policy and procedure, and provides a senior mentor as a resource. Agencies must promote and maintain high work standards, a cohesive marriage between practice and policy within the administration, and offer the assurance of efficiency during an era of shrinking dollars, growing accountability and the need to maintain high ethical standards.

Two key reasons for supervision in social work today are licensure and regulation. This raises the bar on the relationship between supervisor and practitioner, placing the onus on the supervisor (legally, professionally and ethically) to be both accountable and responsible for their actions and the activities surrounding supervision of those in their charge.

Administrative supervision is also the mechanism within the bureaucratic structure responsible for the recruitment and selection of staff. This mechanism goes beyond simple resume selection and "check the box" qualifications for hiring. Astute administrative supervisors select personal characteristics, maturity, traits and attitudes that will foster the employee to feel comfortable in accepting and implementing organizational goals and objectives.

Administrative supervisors have both short- and long-term functional goals with employment hiring. Examples of short-term goals are issues like providing information on travel reimbursement, agency operations, training requirements, organizational structure, supervisory structure and relationship between departments. Long-range planning functions include activities such as setting up a departmental budget based on estimated future workloads and required resources to meet the estimated fiscal, personal and technical needs.

Often supervisors play all three primary supervisory roles, educational, administrative and supportive. For example, the department supervisor may provide staff development and support through a variety of team building activities, educational supervision through weekly supervisory conferences and do the primary hiring, work flow management and departmental budgeting.
Joyce works for a women's organization that provides job readiness skills, employment classes, literacy programs and short-term counseling. Her funding base is diverse, with individual donors, corporations, United Way funds, government grants and some state money. The department directors of each program report to her. She requires each department head to report out specific statistics and reports, each of which she reviews and plugs into organizational reports for formal audits and reporting to the board of directors, the public and in accordance with requirements for each funding source. She also asks each one to look one and two years out, providing educated estimates of the needs each believes their department will have to assist her in creating an organizational budget to take to the board of directors.

When the director of the employment program left for maternity leave, the organization was left short-staffed with few options for coverage. Joyce filled in some of the department head duties, in addition to covering a class and providing support to the staff that were facing increasing numbers do to the downturn in the economy.

The example demonstrates how a person whose supervisory role is primarily supervisory, also functions in other supervisory capacities, as well as the important nature of administrative supervision. offers online prep for NASW. Unlimited access to practice exams, case studies, simulations, video, audio, and flash cards 24/7.