Supervision Requirements for BfN Volunteers

What is Supervision?

Supervision is an important part of our work as BfN volunteers. Its main aim is helping us, to work as effectively and safely as possible. It therefore helps protect the mothers that come to us for help.

There are 3 main functions of supervision:

  1. The first is educational, with the aim of giving you a regular opportunity to receive and share information and feedback, and to develop new understandings about your work.
  2. The second aspect is the supportive role of supervision, where you can work through dilemmas with your supervisor, discuss any personal distress caused by your work, and also share some of the wonderful moments.
  3. Thirdly, there is a managerial aspect to supervision, where the aim is to help you plan your work, ongoing training, and supervision and ensure that you meet the requirements of our Code of Conduct and Guidance documents.

How much supervision do I need to have?

Helpers: 1 session per month (minimum of 4 in 6 months). Registration periods: Oct-March & April-Sept

Supporters (including Helpline, probationary & full): 1 session every 2 months (min 6 per year, Jan-Dec) including one 1:1. Re-registration: June

Supervisor/Tutor: Same as Supporter above, plus a minimum of 2 of the 4 quarterly CPD sessions on offer.

Mandatory training updates for volunteer development

  • Health and Safety (including handwashing and lone working) – annually
  • Safeguarding Children (full course) – 3 yearly
  • Safeguarding Children (refresher course) – annually in years between the full course
  • Safeguarding Adults – recommended
  • Diversity and Inclusion – 3 yearly
  • Information Governance – Annually
  • Basic Life Support – recommended

On-going Learning for BfN Registered Breastfeeding Supporters (including Helpline Supporters):

12 hours per year.  Please refer to CPD guidance for details of what counts towards ongoing learning.

How will supervision take place?

Supervision can be face to face, one-to-one or in a group, or by phone – but please try to have some face-to-face sessions as these are usually more satisfying for both supervisor and supervisee. Emergency supervision can be sought as and when needed between sessions. Your supervisor will give you the phone numbers of other supervisors you may contact if she is unavailable. Supervision sessions need to be logged and these dates and times will be needed for your annual return at the start of each year.

Who will be my Supervisor?

During your training your Tutor will have discussed supervision with you and who your supervisor might be. Your Tutor may not be able to supervise you if she already has a large number of supervisees. In this case you might have supervision from another Supervisor.

Who organises when I should have Supervision?

You do! Please get in touch with your Supervisor and agree together how and when you plan to have supervision. Many Supervisors plan group sessions and if you are unable to attend please let her know beforehand and make it your responsibility to arrange an alternative session. Please bear in mind that some Supervisors have many volunteers to meet with and would find it impossible to see each one individually every time.

When you arrange to talk, your supervisor needs to know that you are wanting supervision rather than phoning or meeting for other reasons. Therefore, please ensure that you agree with your supervisor that the meeting or phone call is a supervision session rather than a chat. Some supervisors run group sessions. Others meet individually with their supervisees. All supervisees need to have at least one 1:1 meeting with their named supervisor each year if at all possible.

Your supervisor will provide you with contact details for other supervisors who you can contact in an emergency if your supervisor is unavailable.

Keeping a record of your Supervision

Download a copy of the Supervision Passport which can be printed out, folded and kept together with your badge in the holder.  Supporters (including Helpline Supporters) should also complete an Annual Return.

Updated May 2022