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Lay panel chair

We're looking for lay panel chairs to manage and lead proceedings, supported by other adjudicators to hear cases across a full range of different hearing types.

The role

Lay panel chairs will sit of both fitness to practise hearings as well as hearings relating to registration and restoration to the register of social workers in England. They contribute to decision making and ensure a well-reasoned and comprehensive decision is produced at the conclusion of the hearing.

This is a pivotal role in ensuring those in receipt of social work services and members of the public are protected. Your decisions contribute to ensuring that social workers only practise when they are capable of doing so safely.

No two days will be the same as you’ll strive to ensure that cases are dealt with efficiently, objectively, fairly and on time. Lay panel chairs are lay adjudicators appointed under Regulation 19(3), 25 and Schedule 2 of The Social Workers Regulations 2018. A ‘lay person’ means a per-son who is not and never has been registered as a social worker in the UK and does not hold qualifications that would entitle them to be registered. If you meet the definition of a lay per-son, you are eligible to undertake a panel chair role.

Proposed fees and expenses

£340 per day when sitting. Expenses will be payable in line with our expenses policy.

Time commitment

Lay panel chairs will be expected to commit to at least 25 to 30 hearing days per year. You will be required to attend a 2-day online training course and regular refresher training (which may be online or in Sheffield).


Whilst the majority of our hearings are expected to take place remotely using online conferencing software, you may be required to sit on in-person hearings at our Sheffield offices. You will be required to have access to your own internet-enabled device.

What you will do

  • Read documents in advance and assimilate information quickly and accurately.
  • Make directions in cases where a case management meeting is necessary in relation to evidence, witnesses, hearing length and format, allegations or anything else of relevance to ensure the smooth running of a hearing.
  • Ensure that cases are fairly heard where the social worker is not in attendance. Ensure that hearings are conducted fairly, efficiently and effectively.
  • Ensure that a hearing is held in public or private when appropriate to do so.
  • Make confident and independent decisions that stand up to scrutiny, doing so under pressure, and articulating these clearly and carefully in precise written decisions.
  • Decide if regulatory action is required and if so, issue appropriate sanctions and out-comes.
  • Ensure that an accurate, fair and comprehensive decision is produced.
  • Evaluate evidence presented for the hearing and provide analytical scrutiny to the case, considering complex issues, multiple facts, and emotive issues.
  • With the support of the legal adviser, refer to and apply the relevant sections of our legislation and policy guidance when determining cases.
  • Take decisions on cases that are appropriate, balanced and compliant with the legislation, guidance and fitness to practise protocols.
  • Listen to hearing participants and ask questions as and when necessary, during a hearing.
  • Collaborate with other adjudicators to reach consensus on the most appropriate out-come for a case, maintaining public protection as a primary focus.
  • Maintain ethical standards and supporting others to adhere to these throughout the hearing process.
  • Maintain competence in panel member skills by attending training and engaging in annual appraisal.

Your skills and knowledge

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent, or other relevant experience.
  • Excellent analytical skills and an ability to identify key issues, gather information quickly and accurately, and manage complex material with ease.
  • Ability to prepare written outcomes that explain and justify decisions in an accurate, clear, and concise manner.
  • The ability to facilitate constructive and productive panel discussions, enabling all adjudicators to contribute to decision making and managing disagreements between adjudicators.
  • Ability to make sound, impartial and independent decisions by exercising reasoned judgement and applying professional expertise and knowledge in different settings.
  • Ability to work within established policies and procedures and a demonstrable commitment to the Nolan Principles for public life.
  • Ability to run hearings and meetings effectively and efficiently.
  • Demonstrable commitment to and understanding of our fitness to practise statutory framework (or commitment to acquiring that understanding), and evidence of a commitment to remain informed and up to date on current issues.
  • Ability to collaborate with other adjudicators, demonstrating respect for the views and advice of others and supporting collective decision making.
  • An understanding of the Data Protection Act, the importance of preventing data security incidents and maintaining confidentiality.
  • Ability to ensure fairness and provide support to all parties, in line with legislative and contractual requirements.
  • A proven role model for respectful, open and honest behaviour including a demonstrable commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity in service delivery.
  • Ability to use Microsoft Office products and other electronic systems.


If you have any questions, please read more about the application process or contact [email protected]

How to apply

Applications must be submitted by midday on Friday 28 January 2022.

Apply now

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