In the UK, Serious Case Reviews and Inquiries undertaken over the last five decades continue to evidence that children are both silenced and rendered invisible as a result of parental behaviour and professional inaction. There have been recent calls for practitioners to enact greater professional curiosity in child protection practice, whilst simultaneously acknowledging that practitioners have less opportunity to be curious in overly bureaucratic and unsupportive environments. Good-quality supervision may provide one mechanism to encourage professional curiosity, but supervision and the supervisory processes therein have received scant attention or scrutiny within such inquiries. Whilst supervision can act as a conduit to encourage good practice, ensuring compliance with standards and promoting the positive well-being of individual practitioners (the core conditions under which professional curiosity may flourish), we hypothesise that complex relational dynamics have the potential to disrupt such endeavours. In the discussion that follows, we shall first seek to explore the tenets of good supervision, before scrutinising the potential pitfalls, with a focus on how one specific factor, the rule of optimism, may be transposed onto the supervisory relationship and, as in front line practice, how it may stifle professional curiosity in the supervisory relationship.
Revell, L., & Burton, V. (2016). Supervision and the dynamics of collusion : a rule of optimism?. The British journal of social work, 46(6), 1587-1601. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcv095