Independent Reviewing Officer [Scunthorpe] #5132777

Overall purpose of job:

To Chair Child In Care Reviews primarily and Child Protection Conferences as required in statute, and in accordance with statutory guidance e.g. IRO Handbook, Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018

To be jointly responsible for the maintenance and delivery of a system to ensure that reviews of Looked After Children and Child Protection Conferences are completed within statutory timescales and to the highest standards.

To ensure that Looked After Children and children subject to a child protection plan are at the heart of care planning and decision-making, that they contribute properly and fully to their review/conference, and that LAC reviews and Child protection conferences deliver SMART plans that protect children and promote their welfare.


Post holders will be expected to be flexible in undertaking the duties and responsibilities attached to their post and may be asked to perform other duties, which reasonably correspond to the general character of the post and are commensurate with its level of responsibility.


Main responsibilities:

1. Work as an Independent Conference and Reviewing Officer, chairing Children’s Reviews and /or Child Protection case conferences in line with carrying out the role in accordance with statutory guidance and timescales, local authority policies and procedures, and departmental quality standards.

2. Ensure the effective arrangements, structure and delivery of reviews/conferences to ensure meaningful participation of children, young people, their parents and wider family members, and key professionals who make up the ‘team’ around the child, in order to ensure that their ‘voices’ are properly understood within the review/case conference, and to help maximise the participation of the child within decision making / care planning

3. Produce review recommendations / outline child protection plan which are concise, clear, SMART, and devised so that child safety is promoted and that all aspects of care, development, safeguarding, contact etc are considered thoroughly and appropriately

4. To engage and communicate effectively with children and young people of all ages in care and/or who are subject to child protection plans.

5. Contribute to the development, delivery, and quality assurance of policies and procedures in the area of Children in care and children subject to Child Protection plans in conjunction with colleagues and senior managers in addition to ensuring actions carried out comply with Council Policies and Procedures.

6. Input and maintain records of children’s reviews and other contacts relating to children on the children’s electronic case recording system, in accordance with local best practice guidance and council policies and procedures.

7. Contribute to the quality assurance and analysis of performance information and data relating to the service, and to assist the Service Manager in the completion of reports and plans as required, and in the operation of systems underpinning effective service delivery e.g. allocations.

8. Work as part of the wider Children’s Services Management Team e.g. contribute to strategic planning consultation forums, policy and practice development work streams etc.

9. Take on specific areas of additional responsibility in relation to cohorts of vulnerable children, or areas of specific practice focus e.g. children subject to s.20, and to represent the independent reviewing service in interagency or corporate forums as appropriate.

10. To ensure an appropriate balance between healthy challenge and practice support, in order to achieve the best outcomes for children and young people, in accordance with the spirit and letter of the local dispute resolution procedure, in the context of statutory guidance, case law, and council and LSCB procedures.

11. In line with statutory guidance and accountabilities, and as an autonomous and independent officer at management level, take responsibility for working to ensure the best outcomes for the child. This includes using escalation processes and dispute frameworks as appropriate, and demonstrating persistent and robust oversight and tracking

12. Audit, oversee and track complex case issues including complex child protection enquiries, care planning and public law proceedings, making use of informal and formal challenge and dispute processes when appropriate to ensure the best outcomes.

  1. To deliver presentations and training materials to a diverse audience especially legislative changes, local priorities etc


Knowledge, skill and experience:

1. HCPC Registered, Qualified Social Worker, 5 year competent practice

2. Advanced professional knowledge of legislation, procedure and guidance related to child protection, children in need and children in care.

3. Demonstrates commitment to their own and other team member’s continuous professional development. Having proven ability in managing change motivating and developing staff

4. Advanced knowledge of a range of professional Social Work interventions and methods, assessment tools and relevant research and theories.

5. Experience of multiagency working and the ability to develop and lead effective partnership working.

6. Ability to represent the independent reviewing service and other strands of the wider social work service, as required, at multi agency meetings, in a professional manner.

7. Extensive experience of working in a social care setting which has included direct work with service users, and experience of supervising or mentoring other workers. With the ability to professionally support and advise other staff, enabling other workers to develop their professionalism and expertise by the use of effective support, mentoring, coaching, co-working and constructive feedback.

8. Detailed knowledge of child protection and child development and the ability to make and contribute effectively to complex decisions affecting the safety, wellbeing and quality of life of children and young people.

9. Able to use ICT systems, including keyboard skills. Accurate and timely record keeping, service monitoring and communications.

10. Demonstrates motivation and an understanding of the requirements of the councils leadership and management competency development framework

11. Able to create systems for the effective collation and monitoring of service, staff and budgetary information and to produce reports for senior management

12. Highly developed influencing and negotiating skills

13. Excellent organisational skills and the ability to manage own and team’s workload effectively.

14. Excellent verbal, written, communication and presentation skills including the ability to explain complex information clearly and accurately including writing complex reports

15. Excellent understanding of risk assessment practice and care planning. To work with the professional autonomy and confidence of a highly skilled and experienced practice leader

To progress to Grade 11, it would be expected that Reviewing Officers would:

  1. Demonstrate practice leadership in relation to child protection and looked after children social work and independent reviewing service provision. This includes:

- gaining and demonstrating advanced knowledge and skills in relation to child protection and looked after children

- maintaining an up-to-date understanding of research, best practice, and legislation

- with confidence and authority offer specialist guidance and support to managers and practitioners within Children Services on complex casework issues that often involve a child’s immediate safety.

- Employ high-level skills to ensure consistently excellent outcomes for children, and that support and inspire others to improve practice.

  1. Demonstrate practice leadership in relation to a specific cohort of children or area of practice. This includes taking responsibility for driving practice and planning as part of a commitment to continuous service improvement
  2. Demonstrate the highest standard or reviewing practice, meaning that audit and QA work consistently shows the application of practice rigour and an unswerving focus on the voice and needs of the child.
  3. Have experience of organising, facilitating and delivering presentations and training on safeguarding, child exploitation and looked after children policies and processes.
  4. Demonstrate commitment to developing procedures and practices which will influence the strategic approach the service may take with such issues.
  5. Management of statistical and performance information to a high standard.
  6. Demonstrate enhanced coaching and leadership skills

8. Model and use critical reflective skills in management, practice or organisational supervision settings to enhance your own, others and the organisation’s strategic outcomes


Creativity and innovation:

1. The post holder will be required to apply creativity and innovation to make recommendations and develop plans to ensure children in care or subject of child protection plans have their needs met and are protected from harm

  1. The post holder will be involved in reviewing, develop and improving systems, processes and practice in support of the service’s pursuit of excellence.
  2. To demonstrate and encourage innovation and creativity in others.
  3. To develop user focused procedures and practices, actively encouraging children and their families to assist in the development of services
  4. To work in partnerships to develop and implement policies and local/national service drivers, which may impact on how we deliver services
  5. To advise on complex case issues and review complex cases
  6. To seek alternatives to unresolved practice issues through innovative problem solving
  7. Promotes and encourages innovative solutions to develop child centred support safeguarding solutions, including the analysis and management of risk
  8. Identifies a range of opportunities to develop staff team, introducing best practice initiatives
  9. To contribute and participate in service planning, review practices and amend as appropriate
  10. To deliver presentations and training materials to a diverse audience especially legislative changes, local priorities etc
  11. Will need to be creative in relation to practice and management systems, e.g. supporting the lead reviewing officer and colleagues during, periods of exceptional pressure.

To progress to Grade 11, it would be expected that Reviewing Officers would:

  1. To creatively respond to highly complex child protection, child exploitation and safeguarding concerns whilst maintaining a central focus on the child.
  2. To lead creatively to the continuous improvement of services including recommending proposals for development and negotiations with external agencies within delegated responsibilities amending operational practice as required


Contacts and relationships:

Due to the high level of risk involved in child protection, CSE and safeguarding work, and with looked-after children, such contacts can involve complex issues associated with safeguarding and protecting children.

Multi Agency:

Will be required to use sensitivity, tact and challenge when dealing with a range of issues as presented by various groups. Daily

Promotes the public image of North Lincolnshire Council with all agencies, staff and families. Daily

Maintain, develop and promote good working relationships with social and health care agencies, statutory, voluntary and independent, sector. Which at times can involve contentious issues and require a high level of challenge and negotiation. Daily

Utilisation of advanced communication skills, motivating, persuasive, fact finding and evaluation. Daily

Promotes the work of the service seeking to influence other partners in order to deliver collaborative and innovative services and support. Daily

Maintains contact with appropriate local and regional groups, visiting other agencies to learn from best practice, ensuring local developments are made and priorities identified. Monthly

Involvement with the LSCB for the implementation of policy (including negotiating with police, health, legal and other multi-disciplinary teams and organisations). To ensure policy is correctly followed and all investigations are fully carried out, reports compiled etc. Weekly

Children’s Service:

Work with Service Managers, Practice Supervisors, Senior Social Workers and social workers offering advice, support and guidance, and healthy challenge including informal and formal dispute as appropriate. Daily

Families and Children: Will be required to use sensitivity, tact and challenge when dealing with a range of issues as presented by service users and their carers. Promotes the public image of North Lincolnshire Council with all service users and families. Daily

Works with service users and families to obtain information to ensure their needs are central to future service planning. Daily

Other Local Authority Employees: Contact with Human Resource staff for exchange of information and support on all staff issues of a contentious and difficult nature. Monthly

Management Team:

Refer to senior managers for guidance on specific tasks or on particular complex issues. Weekly

Works with Service Managers and Team Leaders and Social Workers, offering advice support and guidance on a range of matters including child protection, CSE and safeguarding issues. Daily

Police/Courts:

May be required to attend court as an independent chair / reviewer. 6 monthly

Custodial Institutions:

Visiting of young people who are on remand or in welfare secure units, as an independent reviewing officer. Monthly

1. ensuring the development of positive and effective professional relationships with operational managers and staff, and with partner agency colleagues. To include resolving conflicts and undertaking negotiations whilst keeping the child’s interest as the paramount concern.


Decision making:

  1. Responsible for making decisions in relation to the arrangements and facilitation of looked after reviews and child protection case conferences.
  2. Responsible for deciding whether to ratify proposed care plans for looked after children within their statutory review and making recommendations to the local authority in relation to the care plan.
  3. Responsible for deciding the most appropriate way of discharging the duties and responsibilities of an IRO as set out in the IRO handbook, including the use of escalation and informal/formal dispute processes to ensure the best outcomes for children
  4. Responsible for deciding upon the actions needed to ensure the safety of a child following child protection case conference, in the format of an outline child protection plan. To include the recommendation of any action that may be needed to immediately safeguard a child.
  5. Recommends changes to the Principal Social Worker on policy and implementation matters on areas which affect service provision and which impact on the public, the council and other organisations.
  6. Responsible for ensuring policies and procedures are adhered to and takes appropriate action in respect of non-compliance and where practice requires improvement. Implements dispute resolution process when necessary.

.

  1. Within legislation, guidelines and procedures will be expected to make decisions on the allocation of services within delegated responsibilities.

To progress to Grade 11, it would be expected that Reviewing Officers would:

  1. Make recommendations in relation to the training plan, providers and procurement resulting in an effective annual training strategy.
  2. Monitor, analyse and evaluate child performance data, making proposals and decisions based on more effective practice arrangements. These decisions have a major impact on the whole service area with particular significance to the safety of children and corporate risk management.
  3. Contributes to the development of local child protection best practice guidance for all Children’s Services staff that corresponds with LSCB procedures, submitting to the LSCB for decisions as required. This guidance will feed in to other service areas such as Education and Prevention & Commissioning.
  4. Make recommendations on the information systems for the child protection, looked after services.
  5. Identify solutions for resource and policy gaps regarding safeguarding and child protection performance data and appropriate solutions to overcome these.
  6. Make decisions with managers on how to tackle weak safeguarding practice and workers to continually improve and monitor safeguarding effectiveness.
  7. Identify areas in which advice on performance management in safeguarding children and young people is needed and provide it.
  8. Take responsibility for monitoring and evaluating policy and practice and the impact of this on the service.
  9. Take a whole systems approach and understand the connectivity and interrelations between the service areas in order to evaluate impact and make recommendations for service improvement and outcomes.
  10. Be able to apply knowledge to hypothesise and make complex in complex strategic situations.


Responsibility for resources:

Responsible for personal communication equipment (laptop, mobile phone) to the value of £450

Budget management up to £50


WORK ENVIRONMENT


Work demands:

  1. The post holder will be required to set priorities and meet deadlines, internal and external, that are open to change and interruption due to needs of service users, families and service demands.
  2. The nature of work dictates a constantly changing environment with a degree of unpredictability.
  3. Requirement to ensure deadlines are met by the team and that conflicting demands and pressures are prioritised
  4. Responds to new allocations, and changes for children in care that require an urgent review or other IRO activity
  5. Meeting deadlines determined by other departments e.g. cabinet reports, financial deadlines and project work, attending meetings on a regular basis
  6. Flexibility to work as service required i.e. out of hours meetings / reviews, consultations etc
  7. Developing, maintaining and managing effective partnerships for the benefit of service users and carers
  8. Is available to meet the needs of the users including out of hours visits to children in care
  9. Working in a mobile manner, including visiting children and undertaking reviews at locations that are most suitable to meet the needs of children. This will involve significant travel around North Lincolnshire and sometimes beyond.

To progress to Grade 11, it would be expected that Reviewing Officers would:

  1. Work to meet the high risk and complexity demands providing advice and guidance to managers and professionals involved in safeguarding children work, these can frequently change and have conflicting priorities
  2. The post involves responding to deadlines, managing conflicting priorities and responding to urgent requests for advice and guidance on complex safeguarding children and LAC
  3. Working to provide information for announced and unannounced inspections in relation to safeguarding
  4. Provision of managing deadlines for safeguarding information related to performance
  5. Support the delivery of the service training plan
  6. Will be required to respond at short notice to emergency situations


Physical demands:

The job involves the usual physical demands encountered in an office-based environment, including regular travel to reviews for IROs


Working conditions:

The post is primarily office-based, however reviewing officers for LAC will be expected to work with a high degree of autonomy and mobility meaning that the office may be one of a number or indeed home working


Work context:

The post is highly demanding, with an expectation of flexibility in the hours worked by the post holder and an assumption that work will have a high degree of priority for the post holder, often beyond the normal working week. The post holder will also be involved from time to time in dealing with aggressive people who are dissatisfied with the council's response to their issues. Whilst normally risk assessment will take place before these encounters, they will occasionally be unpredictable.


CANDIDATE MUST HAVE A VALID ENHANCED DBS

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  • Kraig Haslam
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  • Rob Arnold
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