Clinical supervision and the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework

Practising supervision as either a supervisee or a supervisor offers the practitioner ways to develop and use many of the personal skills and qualities detailed in the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF).


While supervision is a confidential activity and the material of conversations cannot be made public in portfolios or similar documents, the skills learned and used can be described and used as evidence. Supervision contributes to meeting KSF dimensions.

All core KSF dimensions 1-6 are addressed in supervision, as follows:

Core Dimension 1 (Communication)
Supervisee: up to level 3 (develop & maintain communication with people about difficult matters and/or in difficult situations): Supervisee is willing to explore and reflect on practice with supervisor even if difficult, & put learning gained there into practice.
Supervisor: up to level 4 (Develop & maintain communication with people on complex matters, issues and/or in complex situations): Supervisor maintains open, responsible, respectful & skilled communication with supervisee even if complex; liaises appropriately with others if necessary re supervisee; develops the practice of supervision with others as part of the organisation's care of staff.

Core dimension 2 (Personal & People Development)
Supervisee: level 1 (Contribute to own personal development): Taking responsibility for an active part in supervision/reflection is an important contribution to own professional development and growth.
Supervisor: up to level 4 (Develop oneself and others in areas of practice): Collaborates with supervisee to stay on track, learns & constantly improves specific language/questioning skills, maintains boundaries & knows when to break them etc. with overall aim to help supervisee do the best possible job. Ensures own skills are updated; takes part in supervisor development activities eg learning groups, & contributes to changes & developments in the scheme.

Core dimension 3 (Health, Safety & Security)
Supervisee: level 1 (Assist in maintaining own and others' health, safety and security): May discuss own and others' health, safety and security in supervision, especially psychological matters eg stress, and may be required to act on understandings gained.
Supervisor: up to level 3 (Promote, monitor & maintain best practice in HS&S): Alert to health, safety and security issues, especially psychological issues eg stress, bullying, burnout; restorative function of supervision. May occasionally need to act outside the supervision session on knowledge/understandings gained within sessions.

Core dimension 4 (Service Improvement)
Supervisee: up to level 2 (Contribute to the improvement of services): Practice of supervision conforms to best practice; both parties in supervision constantly work to realise & develop potential in individual & services; supervisee collaborates with supervisor to reach higher.
Supervisor: up to level 3: (Appraise, interpret & apply suggestions, recommendations & directives to improve services): Supervision & staff support in itself is an activity aimed at improving staff care & therefore patient care (via parallel process). Supervisors stay up to date with policy/directives etc. regarding supervision & staff care and apply these where appropriate in supervision. Supervisors learn from supervisees and value their ideas re service improvement.

Core dimension 5 (Quality)
Supervisee: up to level 2 (maintain the quality of own work and encourage others to do so): Regular use of supervision is aimed at developing and maintaining high quality work.
Supervisor: up to level 3 (Contribute to improving quality): Practice of supervision is aimed at helping supervisee improve the quality of their work and aim higher. Supervisor is also constantly striving to improve their own supervision practice.

Core dimension 6 (Equality and diversity)
Supervisee: level 1 (act in ways that support equality and value diversity): Supervisees need to demonstrate their work in supervision in an open and non-judgemental way towards patients, colleagues and others.
Supervisor: up to level 3 (Develop a culture that promotes equality & values diversity): Supervisors respect individual supervisees and treat them equally, valuing their differences and adapting their supervision practice accordingly; also sees all patients/clients as respected equals and supports supervisees in treating them as such.