We're looking for legal advisers to provide advice on the application of rules and legal matters to a panel of adjudicators across a full range of different hearing types and explain the process to the social worker and other parties to a hearing.
You will provide timely and appropriate legal advice to ensure a fair, transparent, and lawful fitness to practise hearing. You will play an important role in making sure unrepresented social workers understand the process and format of the hearing, as well as ensuring there is fairness and equality between the parties in terms of their abilities to put forward their case.
Legal advisers are appointed Schedule 2 of The Social Workers Regulations 2018. To be eligible to undertake this role, you must be an experienced practising solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, an advocate or solicitor in Scotland, or a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland, or solicitor of the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, with 10 years’ post qualification experience. You will also meet the requirement for registration with the relevant regulator.
Proposed fees and expenses
£525 per day when sitting. Expenses will be payable in line with our expenses policy.
Legal advisers 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
- Familiarise yourself with cases by reading papers in advance and assimilating the information quickly and accurately.
- Provide clear and sound independent legal advice to panels, ensuring that relevant case law has been considered and that advice considers legal and procedural matters as appropriate.
- Ensure that parties without representation can present their case and have it considered fully and fairly.
- Ensure that hearings are conducted effectively and fairly, in a manner that reflects an interest in natural justice.
- Support the adjudicators to ensure that hearings take place in public or private as appropriate to the case.
- In conjunction with the adjudicators, ensure that an accurate, fair and comprehensive decision is produced in electronic format to document the adjudicators decision and reasons.
- Refer to and apply the relevant sections of our legislation and policy guidance to assist panels to determine whether fitness to practise is impaired.
- Provide feedback on significant legal risks and issues with procedure to fellow panel members and Social Work England’s adjudication team.
- Maintain ethical standards and supporting others to adhere to these throughout the hearing process.
- Attend regular training and engage in annual appraisal.
Your skills and knowledge
- An experienced practising solicitor or barrister in England and Wales, an advocate or solicitor in Scotland, or a member of the Bar of Northern Ireland, or solicitor of the Supreme Court of Northern Ireland, with 10 years’ post qualification experience.
- You will also meet the requirement for registration with the relevant regulator.
- Sound knowledge of civil or criminal law in England and Wales, the Human Rights Act, together with other relevant legislation and knowledge of current court decisions.
- Excellent analytical skills with the ability to identify key issues, assimilate information quickly and accurately and manage complex material.
- The ability to provide accurate and timely legal advice on the order of proceedings or queries by applying professional expertise and knowledge in different settings.
- The ability to prepare written decisions made by the adjudicators, ensuring reasoning and clear justification of decisions are made in an accurate, concise, and factual manner.
- The ability to work within established policies and procedures and a demonstrable commitment to the Nolan Principles for public life.
- Demonstrable commitment to and an understanding of Social Work England’s fitness to practise statutory framework, and evidence of a capacity to remain informed and up-to-date on current issues.
- Ability to collaborate with others as part of a small team.
- A clear and demonstrable understanding of confidentiality, with respect both to evidence and to panel deliberations.
- An understanding of the Data Protection Act, the importance of preventing data security incidents and maintaining confidentiality.
- The ability to ensure that arrangements are made for a fair hearing, providing support to parties and the adjudicators during hearings 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.