Objectives The aim of the present study was to explore the perspectives of allied health professionals on appropriate content for effective clinical supervision of staff. Methods A set of statements regarding clinical supervision was identified from the literature and confirmed through a Q-sort process. The final set was administered as an online survey to 437 allied health professionals working in two Australian health services. Results Of the 120 respondents, 82 had experienced six or more clinical supervision sessions and were included in the analysis. Respondents suggested that clinical supervision was beneficial to both staff and patients, and was distinct from line management performance monitoring and development. Curiously, some of the respondents did not agree that observation of the supervisee's clinical practice was an aspect of clinical supervision. Conclusions Although clinical supervision is included as a pillar of clinical governance, current practice may not be effective in addressing clinical risk. Australian health services need clear organisational policies that outline the relationship between supervisor and supervisee, the role and responsibilities of managers, the involvement of patients and the types of situations to be communicated to the line managers. What is known about the topic? Clinical supervision for allied health professionals is an essential component of clinical governance and is aimed at ensuring safe and high-quality care. However, there is varied understanding of the relationship between clinical supervision and performance management. What does this paper add? This paper provides the perspectives of allied health professionals who are experienced as supervisors or who have experienced supervision. The findings suggest a clear role for clinical supervision that needs to be better recognised within organisational policy and procedure. What are the implications for practitioners? Supervisors and supervisees must remember their duty of care and ensure compliance with organisational policies in their clinical supervisory practices.