This is a temporary position based in County Hall, Chelmsford to start as soon as possible.
Essex County Council (ECC) is one of the largest and most dynamic local authorities in the UK, serving a population of 2 million residents, and has a very successful track record of delivering transformational change. ECC anticipated change was needed in the public sector and has worked to deliver better quality at lower cost. We have an ambitious transformation agenda - one with the scope to reach every part of the council. We are changing the way we think, the way we work, and the ways in which we deliver our services. We are committed to becoming a place where individuals, partners and communities feel proud to play their role and genuinely want to belong. We're immensely proud of our flexible working options.
In ECC we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award 2018 and been awarded 'Outstanding' by Ofsted this is an exciting time to join us. As if that wasn't enough, Essex has also been announced as a Partner in Practice by the Department of Education, and the Essex Social Care Academy (ESCA) is the only Local Authority team in the country to be accredited by BASW as a CPD provider. We have invested in our workforce and created a positive environment for our social workers to make a difference and achieve change for our most vulnerable children and families through direct relationship-based social work practice. We have supported our staff to have an understanding of systemic theoretical framework and models underpinning our interventions; to have access to the right tools, equipment and resources; and also the right supervision, training and learning opportunities they need to be strong practitioners.
The Senior Practitioner is responsible for the management of their own cases and support of social work staff in the management of complex Child Protection and Child in Need Cases, or Children Looked After. Whilst this will include investigation, assessment and purposeful intervention, the primary role within Family Operations is to achieve positive change within families wherever possible, with the aim of enabling children to remain within their home. This will be achieved through implementation of the Child Protection, Child in Need plan and achieving permanency through care planning for Children in Care.
To hold and sustain a caseload consisting mainly of the most sensitive, "complex and difficult" cases to which the post holder is able to bring to bear the highest standards of professional ability and a considerable depth of knowledge in relevant legislation in policy and practice methods.
There will also be an expectation within this role to support the progression and supervision of newly qualified social workers and students entering the profession.
In addition, the role contains undertaking operational duties and supporting the team manager through delegation of tasks, such as chairing meetings etc.
Family Support & Protection
Family Support and Protection works with families with long term complex issues that are most in need and require sustained intervention for more than 3 months, children subject to child protection plans. This includes reviewing and updating assessments, supporting families to achieve change, Special Guardianship Order assessments, Section 7 court reports, working with children subject to court proceedings who are at home or children subject to Supervision orders.
Reasons to work in Family Support & Protection, Mid
We have 4 Family Support and Protection Teams and we all work closely together which makes for a supportive and nurturing environment.
• Excellent and regular supervision (case/ development/ reflective / systemic)
• We have regular structured peer supervisions as well as informal supervisions
• Team managers are committed to ensuring that their staff have a good work life balance and their workers' wellbeing is a priority.
• We have a mix of abilities in the team from ASYE to senior practitioners and we are able to share knowledge and development
• Mid is in the centre of Essex, Chelmsford and Braintree has mainline rail links to London thus travel is easy, the location means that social work in Mid has both rural and urban locations.
• Mid social workers are based in a modern friendly and pleasant offices in Chelmsford and Braintree which has good links to motorways and is close to mainline train stations.
• The community in Mid is very diverse and the services users reflect this, the work we do is varied and diverse.
• The cases in Mid are reflective of the other 3 quadrants, we work hard to ensure that caseloads are manageable which allows time for direct work with families, using strength and relationship based models of working.
• Mid have unique senior practitioner roles that supports development and progression of social workers through the service
• Essex have a flexible working policy programme that, when possible fits with family life and work life balance.
• There is the opportunity to enhance your experience in Court work as well as Child Protection and Child in Need practice polices and procedures.
Knowledge, skills and experience
Diploma in Social Work, CQSW, CSS or equivalent.
• GSCC Registration as a Registered Social Worker.
• Advanced Award in Social Work (AASW).
• IT/Word Processing Skills.
• Evidence of recent practice at a senior practitioner/team manager or equivalent level, supported by comprehensive working knowledge and experience of front line exposure to a wide ranging field of practice in Children Services.
• Substantial, in-depth experience of Child Protection work including section 47 investigations and assessments since the implementation of the Children's Act 1989.Considerable, recent experience of communicating with children of all ages and working in partnership with parents and/or carers.
• Experience in planning activities and programmes for children, young people and parents.
• Experience of Court work in relation to Child Care matters and have an understanding of the legal process.
• Detailed knowledge of current legislation pertinent to Child Protection (e.g. CA1989, CJA1991), Guidance and Regulations.
• Knowledge and understanding of child development, relating theory and practice.
The role requires you to be mobile throughout a wider operational area including travelling around the county of Essex and beyond, transporting service users and their belongings and to be able to do so in an emergency. Driving licence and car or the ability to meet the mobility requirements of the role through other means is essential.
As part of employment with Essex County Council (ECC) should your role require a DBS check you will be required to register with the DBS update service. The DBS update service ensures all registered DBS certificates are kept up to date and allows authorised parties to view the status of your certificate. This is an annual subscription and you will be responsible for ensuring this is maintained. For further information on the DBS update service please go to https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service.
Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.
We seek the best talent from the widest pool of people as diversity is key to our success.
If you have any queries regarding this role, or require anything further, please contact the Resourcing Team on 0333 013 5888.