Education Legal Services Officer
Please note that this job will be based in Chelmsford.
Interviews will be conducted in early October - successful candidate will be notified once adverts have closed.
Essex County Council has embarked upon a programme of change for provision and services with the ambition to profoundly improve the outcomes and life experience of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Our vision is for a SEND system which identifies and assesses need at an earlier stage and which provides appropriate and impactful support without such high dependence on Essex County Council's statutory services. We have a responsibility to deliver effective services and support in the most cost effective and impactful way.
The Education Legal Services Officer represents the Council in SEND appeals and makes recommendations in other legal issues to reduce the numbers of SEND appeals. The post holder will undertake complex casework and provide high level advice to SEN managers and other colleagues in relation to complex statutory issues.
Extensive knowledge of SEN legislation, the Code of Practice and case law is required.
Responsible for representing the Council at SEN Tribunal hearings, preparing the case response (statement), negotiating and liaising with parents, schools and legal representatives and advising the Council regarding the possible outcomes for the case.
Support the SEN managers with complex casework including parental appeals to the Tribunal, Ombudsman cases and judicial reviews.
Provide high quality advice, support and training to Council teams involved with SEND hearings, to enable effective resolution over school and governing body responsibilities.
Support links with other services and agencies to ensure a coordinated response on operational issues relating to areas of shared responsibility within the SEN framework.
Maintain current knowledge on changes to SEN statutory requirements, collaborating with senior staff to highlight implications for practice and support the effective implementation of the Council's Policies and the SEN Action Plan.
Responsible for production and maintenance of guidance notes for SEN staff to deliver governor training programmes, training on statutory requirements and on SEND appeal procedures, within the SEN framework.
Contribute to quality control mechanisms within SEN teams to support quality assurance processes.
Work collaboratively across the Council, to contribute to monitoring the costs of non-county provision and taking action as appropriate.
Specific individual and shared targets and objectives are defined annually within the performance management framework.
* Educated to RQF Level 3 (A level) or equivalent by experience.
* Evidence of continuing professional development and expert knowledge in relevant professional area with recent relevant training in SEN issues and education legislation.
* Experience of conducting SEN tribunal appeals and representing parties at tribunals.
* Extensive knowledge of SEN legislation, the Code of Practice and case law.
* Experience of providing quality advice to other senior managers in a complex organisation.
* Experience of responding to ombudsman complaints and judicial reviews.
* Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written with the ability to communicate in a range of mediums to a wide audience.
Qualification certificates should be brought to interview.
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 proud to offer an excellent benefits package to all its employees. More information can be found on https://www.workingforessex.com/benefits
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 Essex Recruitment Team on 0333 013 5888.