Independent Fostering Panel Vice Chair
This role may require attending panels at Ely House in Basildon and Essex House in Colchester.
The independent Fostering Panel Vice Chair will lead the fostering panel, and chair fostering panel meetings, in accordance with statutory regulations and guidance and the policies and procedures of the Essex Fostering Service in the absence of the Independent Panel Chair. The IPVC will also chair individual items on a regular basis to support the Independent Panel Chair.
Essex County Council has one of the largest fostering services in the country, with 10 separate teams operating across the county, comprising 7 locally based fostering teams as well as a centralised Recruitment and Training Team, and two SGO/Connected Persons Teams.
Through the Fostering Service the County Council aims to place our most vulnerable looked after children with foster families who will support them to achieve their full potential. In support of this, Essex has an established Fostering Panel, which meets four times each month, in locations across Essex and virtually.
The Vice Chair holds an understanding of the needs of children in care and of the Regulations and National Minimum Standards underpinning fostering and of the legislative framework for the work of the Panel.
Role specific accountabilities:
- To chair Panel meetings, ensuring that all items of business are covered and that the Panel operates in accordance with Regulations and Guidance and the policies and procedures of the service, in the absence of the Independent Panel Chair.
- To prepare for Panel meetings, reading panel papers carefully, identifying key issues and alerting the Fostering Panel Adviser if necessary, to ensure, as far as possible, that the case is adequate for submission to Panel.
- To facilitate the active participation of all Panel Members in contributing to the Panel's consideration of cases and to the making of clear and well-evidenced recommendations with the reason for these.
- To ensure that those attending Panel are treated with respect and courtesy.
- To address issues of diversity and promote anti-discriminatory practice at all times.
- To ensure that clear and accurate minutes are written which record any serious reservations which Panel Members may have and to be involved in checking draft minutes before they are sent to the Agency Decision Maker and to the next Panel meeting.
- To attend, at least annually, meetings with the Independent Panel Chair and Fostering Panel Advisers.
- To assist in planning and delivering training for Panel Members, and to participate in at least one day per year.
- To safeguard the confidentiality of all documentation submitted to and arising from Panel and Panel discussions.
- To be involved in deciding whether a case is adequate for submission to Panel and deciding on the participation of a Panel Member who declares an interest in a case
Qualifications Knowledge, Skills and Experience
- Experience either professionally or personally or both, of the placement of children in adoptive and foster families and of children being cared for away from their birth family
- The authority and competence to chair a Panel ensuring that the business is covered and that the Panel operates in accordance with Regulations, Guidance and the policies and procedures of the Agency
- Experience of chairing complex meetings
- An appreciation of the effect of separation, loss, and trauma on children
- Awareness of the richness of different kinds of families and their potential for meeting children's needs
- An understanding of the purpose and function of the Panel and of the service which the Panel is serving
- An understanding of the fostering process and of the legislative framework for the work of the Panel or the capacity to develop this knowledge quickly
- The authority and competence to chair a Panel ensuring that the business is covered and that the Panel operates in accordance with Regulations, Guidance and the policies and procedures of the service
- Excellent interpersonal and listening skills
- The ability to communicate well and clearly both verbally and in writing
- The ability to process and analyse large amounts of complex and sometimes distressing information
- The ability to identify key issues and possible solutions and to communicate these clearly
- The ability to facilitate the active participation of all Panel Members in contributing to the Panel's consideration of cases and recommendations
- The ability to ensure that those attending Panel are communicated with respectfully while also ensuring that Panel Members are able to explore any issues of concern, they may have openly and honestly
- The ability to manage the expression of strongly held but possibly conflicting views by Panel Members and to help the Panel to reach a recommendation which considers all of these views
- A commitment to keeping children within their own family or community where this is possible and to maintaining contact between fostering families and their birth families where this appears to be in the child's best interests.
- A valuing of diversity in relation to issues of ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, and sexuality.
- An understanding of and a commitment to the need for confidentiality.
- A willingness to increase knowledge and understanding of issues through reading, discussion, and training.
- A willingness to contribute constructively to the annual review of their role as Panel Vice Chair.
Please note that Essex County Council has determined that the off-payroll working rules will apply to this assignment and where a worker elects to provide their services through an intermediary (such as a personal services company) then income tax and primary national insurance contributions will be deducted at source from any payments made to the intermediary.
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.