What is the role of a Social Supervisor?


Mental Health Act - What is the role of a Social Supervisor?



What is a Restricted Service User?

A restricted service user refers to somebody who has been detained under Part 3 of the Mental Health Act usually because they were detained as a means of protecting the public.  People can be detained on several different sections of the Mental Health Act.  The main one used within restrictions is Section 37/41 which means that someone will be living within a secure hospital.  Another section can relate to people been transferred from prison, known as Section 47/49.  What does restriction mean?  It means that the Ministry of Justice have the authority over somebody leaving hospital either on planned leave or discharge.  The doctor cannot make that decision.

What is the role of a Social Supervisor?

Social Supervisor refers to the professional involved in providing reports to the Ministry of Justice following a restricted service user being discharged from the hospital.  The person discharged from the hospital is subject to Section 37/41 under Mental Health Act. Following discharge the service user will be “conditionally discharged”.  The Social Supervisor has to report on service user’s care in the community, rehabilitation and risk to the public on the regular basis.  A statutory report has to be completed initially within 28 days of the discharge and quarterly thereafter.

This report has also been shared with the Responsible Clinician.  The Social Supervisor will often visit the service user once a week initially and that would decrease when the service user becomes more settled in the community.   The Social Supervisor role is to provide statutory reporting to the Ministry of Justice on the service user’s care in the community and report on the conditions, so it might be about the service user allowing access to their care team, it might be reporting on the service user’s mental state or their risk to the public.  The key is that the Social Supervisor has established a good rapport with the service user and ensuring a supportive role within their work rather than a policing role.  Any change in circumstance needs to be reported to Ministry of Justice on a regular basis and the Ministry of Justice case worker.  The Social Supervisor also has power to seek permission from the Ministry of Justice to recall the service user from the community if the risk is significant or the person is at risk to the public.

What is the difference between a Social Supervisor and a Care Co-ordinator?

The difference between the Care Co-ordinator and Social Supervisor is that the Care Co-ordinator often works for Mental Health Services in the community and deals with people with mental health problems with complex needs.  Generally the service user will have a Care Co-ordinator responsible for assessing, co-ordinating care, providing a care plan, crisis contingency plan and supporting the individual in the community.  Offering review and monitoring the person’s care plan.  The difference with Social Supervisor is that statutory role that has to report to Ministry of Justice on a regular basis.

Can a person be discharged from restrictions?

A service user can be discharged from restriction under the Mental Health Act via a First Tribunal (Mental Health) or via the Ministry of Justice.  This is known as Absolute Discharge.

Can a person appeal against Restrictions?

A service user can appeal against restrictions under Mental Health Act in two ways.   If you are in hospital you can appeal via First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) conditional discharge or an absolute discharge in the community.  If you are subject to a conditional discharge with oversight from Social Supervisor, you can apply again to a First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) for absolute discharge.  This has particular timescales attached to it.

How does Social Supervision work in Practice?

A case example of Social Supervision in practice relates to a female service user who is managed within the community team.  The case history was that she became mentally ill in the community and unfortunately committed serious offences against her relative, she was subsequently detained under Section 37/41 under the Mental Health Act. She received treatment in care within a secure hospital for significantly period of time.  She was later discharged by a First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) under a conditional discharge and discharged to the community and supported home.  During that time she was allocated a Social Supervisor who provided reports to the Ministry of Justice on a regular basis regarding her initial care and treatment and the risk she presented with.  The risk was low at that time and the Service User remains in compliant with her care treatment plan.  Over coming weeks and months the input that was offered was significantly reduced.  This was due to her remaining safe and supported in the community.  Seeing her on a monthly basis, the Social Supervisor continues to report to the Ministry of Justice every quarter.