Independent Reviewing Officer - Children's Social Care

England, Essex, Chelmsford
£39168.0 - £47405.0 per annum + + 26 days holiday & Local Gov Pension
16 Oct 2020
26 Oct 2020
Job role
Social Worker
Contract Type
Full time
Please note this this position is a home based role with travel across Essex

To provide an effective Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) service for children in care, in accordance with statutory regulation, guidance, and Essex County Council procedures. To review the cases of children who are looked after as laid down in Volume 2 Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations (2015), and the IRO Handbook (2010).

The statutory duties of the IRO are to [Section 25B (1), 1989 CA]:
* Monitor the performance by the local authority of their functions in relation to the child's case
* Participate in any review of the child's case
* Ensure the wishes and feelings of the child are given due consideration by the authority
* Perform any other function which is prescribed in regulations

The Independent Reviewing Officer's primary focus is to quality assure the care planning and review process for each looked after child, and to ensure that the child's needs, wishes and feelings are given full consideration. The review process should consider the child's assessed needs, and their progress, and will agree both long term plans and more immediate steps that will meet these needs and promote his/her welfare. The purpose of the review process is to ensure that the child's welfare is safeguarded and promoted in the most effective way while looked after by the Local Authority.
The IRO role is one of practice expertise in the area of children in care and care planning, and should be pivotal in driving forward Essex County Council's commitment to secure better and improved outcomes for children in care. The IRO should actively contribute to ensuring that Essex County Council fulfils its responsibilities as a 'corporate parent' for all children in care, by providing scrutiny and challenge to all levels of practitioner and manager within the organisation.

Key Accountabilities

* To ensure that statutory review meetings are held within the required timescales, and that all relevant family members, parents, carers and professionals are identified, invited to attend, and/or consulted fully in the process. This should take place in conjunction with the Social Worker responsible for the child, and take into account the wishes and feelings of the child.
* To independently monitor the progress of the child between review meetings, ensuring the care plan continues to meet the assessed needs, and take action to convene a formal review when necessary.
* To communicate directly with the senior management team within Family Operations, when the Local Authority fails to meet its statutory obligations to children in care, especially where poor practice has contributed to, or increased, the risk to a child.
* To contribute to the development of strategic and corporate plans, ensuring effective representation of the issues relevant to looked after children, in order to secure better outcomes and continuous service improvement.
* To ensure that arrangements are made for children to access advocacy services, where this is considered appropriate and/or beneficial.
* To enable and support children and young people to access and make use of the authority's complaints and compliments procedure, as appropriate.
* To ensure that the appropriate support is in place for parents and/or carers to participate fully in the review process e.g. interpreter, advocate.
* For a full list of Key Accountabilities please find see the advert on working for essex dot com

The IRO should be an authoritative professional and should be:

* Educated to Dip SW or degree level in Social Work practice
* PQ Childcare Award or equivalent by experience
* Current Social Work England Registration
* A proven ability to form and sustain relationships with children and young people and the ability to promote the interest, wishes and feelings of children in care
* A commitment to promoting contact and relationships with a child's family of origin
* A comprehensive working knowledge and experience of working with children and families, and Children in Care and be fully conversant with all related statutory obligations, codes of practice and significant research findings.
* A sound working knowledge and experience of operational planning and service delivery within children's services in local government, with demonstrable and proven record of achievement in same.
* Experience of chairing meetings involving children, parents and/or carers and other professionals
* The confidence and ability to work constructively with senior managers, offering a critical perspective and appropriate challenge.
* A detailed understanding and awareness of the requirements of leading and managing change within a large, complex organisation.
* Experience of providing social work supervision and support.
* Experience of developing and implementing planning and performance frameworks in a multi-disciplinary and partnership environment.
* A thorough understanding of the legal framework relating to looked after children and care leavers, including knowledge of national Minimum Standards and the Adoption Agencies Regulations 2005.
* A thorough working understanding of the legal process and the issues involved when a local authority makes application for a care order.
* Knowledge of the evidence about what makes for good quality practice in working with children and families to safeguard children and promote their welfare.