Midwifery supervision task force

Local Supervising Authority England National Taskforce

The development of a future model of midwifery supervision in the UK is required following the publication of ‘Midwifery supervision and regulation recommendations for change’ (PHSO 2013) and ‘Midwifery regulation in the United Kingdom’ (The King’s Fund 2015).

The two key principles identified in the reports were accepted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and agreed by the Secretary of State. These are:

  1. Midwifery supervision and regulation should be separated
  2. The NMC should be in direct control of regulatory activity

To implement these principles, the NMC requires legislative change. It is estimated that the new law will be enacted via a Section 60 order by spring 2017. Until this time, statutory supervision of midwives must continue and responsibility for this sits with NHS England as the Local Supervising Authority (LSA) for England.

A cross-organisational, multi-stakeholder taskforce has been established to oversee the development of a new model and framework of midwifery supervision for England in preparation for when the recommended legislative changes to remove the regulatory aspect are enacted.

The taskforce will:

  • ensure system readiness to implement a new model of supervision in England
  • oversee implementation on behalf of the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England
  • work in partnership with the other three nations to ensure consistency for midwives working across the UK.

Local Supervising Authority Midwifery Officers (LSAMOs) are integral to the development process. Further information about LSAMOs and their forum can be found here on the LSAMOs website.

How you can be involved

We plan to undertake a programme of engagement with the public, with women who use maternity services, midwives, managers, members of the multidisciplinary team and other key stakeholders.

The LSA England Taskforce is keen to build a new model of midwifery supervision that adds value rather than imposes additional challenges for providers of maternity services. We would therefore like to know:

What are the three key challenges within maternity services that you would like the new model of Midwifery Supervision to address?

You can submit your response via the mailbox england.midwiferysupervision@nhs.net where it will be incorporated into the development of the new model.

Terms of reference

The taskforce workstreams

To develop a robust model of supervision the Taskforce must consider a number of aspects, which are being led by three specific workstreams.

Education workstream

An education workstream has been established to identify the priorities for education and training of Supervisors of Midwives. This group will also be responsible for the design and development of the future training programme once the new model has been developed.

The objectives of this workstream are:

  • Outline the educational requirements for the new model of supervision of midwives
  • Draft key principles, aims and learning outcomes for a programme of learning, advising on academic level

User’s workstream

A user’s workstream has been established to identify the priorities for users of maternity services who need to access a Supervisor of Midwives in relation to their care. This group will be responsible for testing the proposed future model with specific user groups during summer 2016.

The objectives of this workstream are:

  • Establish what users of maternity services would like to gain from a new model of midwifery supervision
  • Outline the contribution that supervision can make to the pregnancy, birth and postnatal experiences of women and their families

Models workstream

A models workstream has been established to develop the new model, incorporating the outputs of the education and user’s workstreams to ensure any new model is robust, affordable and sustainable.

The objectives of this workstream are:

  • Develop a model of clinical supervision to be implemented for midwives working in clinical practice and a peer supervision model for roles where there is no clinical practice
  • Develop principles that underpin the model
  • Identify how supervision for midwives is integrated with the revalidation process for NMC registrants

The proposed new model will be tested in shadow-form from autumn 2016 until March 2017, in a small number of test-bed sites. It will be fully evaluated prior to its proposed launch in spring 2017, subject to the changes in law being enacted as anticipated.

If you would like to contribute feedback, ideas or suggestions to any of these workstreams regarding the development of a new model of midwifery supervision, please contact the taskforce on england.midwiferysupervision@nhs.net

Other supervisory work undertaken by NHS England LSA:


National Audit

As the Local Supervising Authority for England (LSA), NHS England has commissioned a national audit of LSA supervisory investigations, which is being deployed within the four regions of NHS England. The audit aims to measure compliance of supervisory investigations with the standard outlined in the Local Supervising Authority Review and Investigation Processes (LSA 2013). This work is due to be completed by September 2016. The findings and recommendations from this audit will inform the development of a new model of supervision.

Consultation on Midwifery Supervision Changes

The government has consulted on changes to our legislation to allow us to modernise the way we regulate midwives. The response to this consultation includes a detailed breakdown of the 1,424 responses received.

An impact assessment sets out the costs and benefits of the options considered. In addition, the Equalities assessment considered the proposals in relation to the Equality Act 2010, and specifically, the Public Sector Equality Duty.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the government proposes to take forward the amendments set out in this consultation and lay the Order (under Section 60 of the Health Act 1999) in Parliament for debate. The main effect of the changes will be taking supervision out of our regulatory legislation. The NMC asked for this change after a number of independent reports confirmed the current arrangements are not appropriate for public protection.