Gloucestershire County Council is currently seeking an independent chair for its fostering panel. Gloucestershire has a large fostering service and is significantly investing in its fostering provision in order to increase the number of looked after children placed with in-house foster carers.
The panel considers fostering and connected persons within Gloucestershire. The panel currently meets three to four times a month on Tuesdays, therefore the suitable candidate needs to be available to meet this time commitment and chair the majority of the panel meetings.
We are seeking a suitably qualified and experienced individual, with excellent communication skills, to provide effective leadership to successfully chair complex panel meetings within a clear anti-discriminatory framework. The Independent Chair plays a vital role in the quality assurance of our service by working closely with the Panel Advisers, to ensure the smooth running of the panel process.
The suitable candidate will have up to date knowledge of the legislative framework for Fostering; comprehensive understanding of the National Standards and current good practice initiatives. Ideally, the suitable candidate will have previous experience as a Panel Chair/Vice Chair, although this is not essential.
You will have regular meetings with the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) and be expected to prepare an annual report. You will also lead and develop central list membership, completing annual appraisals and planning the panel training (with the Agency Advisers) to ensure panel members are fully supported to fulfil their role.
Remuneration: £630 per full day panel inclusive of all preparation and post panel work. Reasonable travel expenses will be considered within a 50 mile radius.
We are a diverse and inclusive employer who are welcoming applicants from all backgrounds. If this role is of interest please get in touch with our Agency Advisers to find out more; Liz Pickering on [email protected] or Yasmine Mason on [email protected]
To apply please send a copy of your CV and supporting statement (max two sides) to our Foster Care Panel email [email protected]
*This post is subject to an Enhanced Disclosure application to the Disclosure and Barring service.
**We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity and inclusion at Gloucestershire City Council. We are committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive workplace where all our people are able to bring their whole selves to work and perform their best**
1. To chair panel meetings, ensure that all items of business are covered and that the panel operates in accordance with regulations and the policies and procedures of the agency.
2. To prepare for panel meetings, reading panel papers carefully, identifying key issues and alerting the Agency Advisor if necessary to ensure, as far as possible, that the case is adequate for submission to panel.
3. To facilitate the active participants 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.
4. To ensure that all those attending panel are treated with respect and courtesy .
5. To address diversity issues and to promote anti discriminatory practice at all times.
6. 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 and agreeing draft minutes with other panel members before they are sent to the decision maker.
7. To liaise with the decision maker and with other senior managers as required.
8. To ensure, along with the Agency Adviser, that senior managers are aware of issues of concern, in relation both to individual cases and to more general matters.
9. To be involved in the recruitment and appointment of central list and panel members and in any consideration about terminating the appointment of a member.
10. To review , possibly with the Agency Adviser, the performance of central list and panel members as the need arises, and at least annually.
11. To assist in developing, promoting and monitoring policies and procedures and high standards of work in fostering services in the agency.
12. To assist in planning training for members and to participate in this at least one day per year.
13. To safeguard the confidentiality of all panel papers and panel discussions.
14. To be involved in:
• Deciding whether a case is adequate for submission to panel;
• Deciding on the attendance of observers at panel;
• Deciding on the participation of a panel member who declares an interest in a case;
• Deciding when an extra panel may be necessary;
• The preparation of an annual report on the panel’s work.
Experience and qualifications
• Experience, either professionally or personally or both, of the placement of children in foster families and of children being cared for away from their birth family.
• Experience of chairing complex meetings.
• An appreciation of the effect of separation and loss on children.
• An 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 agency which the panel is serving.
• An understanding of the fostering process and practice 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 and the policies and procedures of the agency.
• Excellent interpersonal and listening skills.
• 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 manage the expression of strongly held but possibly conflicting views by panel members and to help the panel reach a recommendation which takes account of all these views.
• The ability to take up issues as required with the agency, liaising with the decision- maker and other senior managers.
• The ability working with the professional adviser, to review each panel member’s performance when required, and at least annually, ensuring that this is a helpful and constructive process for both the panel member and the panel as a whole.
• A commitment to keeping children within their own family or community where this is possible and to maintain contact between children living in foster families and their birth families where this appears to be in child’s best interests.
• A commitment to fostering as a way of meeting a child’s needs, where this appears to be in the child’s best interests.
• A commitment to safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare in foster care.
• 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 chair.