Social Work England – Fitness to Practise Paralegal

The Role

Social Work England are the specialist regulator for social work in England, focused on enabling positive change in social work. Every day, social workers support millions of people to improve their chances in life. We are taking a new approach to regulating social workers in their vital roles. We believe in the power of collaboration and share a common goal with those we regulate – to protect the public, enable positive change and ultimately improve people’s lives.

We are a young regulator with modern legal powers which enhance our ability to manage fitness to practise casework responsively and proportionately. You will assist the Senior Fitness to Practise lawyer as part of an overarching objective to improve the quality and efficiency of the fitness to practise process. This will involve a particular focus on improving the quality and robustness of investigations prior to case examiner consideration by assisting with advising and supporting in relation to evidence gathering and witness engagement and early legal input on complex cases. You will be joining the organisation at an exciting time when we are looking to bring in more investigative work in house and developing an in house advocacy service.

You will work collaboratively across all stages of the fitness to practise process, but with a predominant focus on the triage and investigations team. You will provide specialist legal advice to triage officers, investigators and leads with the supervision of a qualified lawyer. You will assist in managing instructions to our external legal providers ahead of fitness to practise hearings.

What you will do

  • Draft written legal advice to the fitness to practise team, in particular the triage and investigation teams, on a wide range of legal issues, with the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • Provide support to the triage and investigations team in identifying and obtaining relevant documents and evidence, including assisting in taking witness statements with supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • Provide support at the triage and investigations drop in and the voluntary removal application drop in and attend the complex case meetings with the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • Manage the fitness to practise team legal inbox and rota for investigations drop in by liaising with colleagues. Brief the fitness to practise lawyer and Senior Fitness to Practise Lawyer on new legal advice requests at regular allocations meetings.
  • Manage the voluntary removal application tracker ensuring cases are being progressed efficiently and identifying where additional support and advice may be required. Manage the rota and attendance at the weekly voluntary removal drop in sessions.
  • Participate in project teams and working groups as necessary to further the work of the fitness to practise team and our objectives.
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships throughout the organisation and with external colleagues, using your legal knowledge to provide support.
  • Support the organisation in reviewing internal policies, procedures and processes, and developing and providing training to colleagues across the organisation, with the supervision of a qualified lawyer. This will include legal research, conducting an initial review of documents, and participating in producing and presenting training alongside colleagues.
  • Create and maintain effective systems for storing shared fitness to practise legal team documents and emails, ensuring appropriate data retention labels are applied and legal privilege is maintained, where required.
  • Assist in the design and delivery of regular case law updates to the fitness to practise team and wider teams (as required) with the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • Assist in conducting targeted, thematic reviews of fitness to practise cases as part of our internal quality assurance framework (as required) with the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • Provide support in the assessment of case plans, statements of case, sanction bids prepared by our external legal provider.
  • May assist in preparing position statements, bundles (including redaction) and notice of hearings for fitness to practise interim order applications and statutory reviews under the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • May assist in preparing position statements, bundles (including redaction) and instructions to external counsel for high court interim order extension applications under the supervision of a qualified lawyer.
  • May act as an advocate by representing Social Work England at fitness to practise hearings, such as interim order applications, interim order reviews, substantive order reviews, restoration and registration appeal hearings, with the appropriate support and training being provided under the supervision of a qualified lawyer This could include presenting evidence in chief and cross examination of social worker and witnesses.

Your skills, knowledge and experience

  • Degree-level education or equivalent relevant experience.
  • Proven experience of case management, case progression and working with lawyers in legal proceedings (whether civil or criminal).
  • Excellent analytical skills and an ability to understand legal and procedural issues, with excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with a range of internal and external stakeholders; and the ability to draft in a clear and comprehensive manner.
  • Excellent organisation and time management skills (including organising own workload) and the ability to manage several tasks while maintaining a high degree of accuracy.
  • Excellent legal research skills and a willingness to further develop your understanding of the law.
  • Ability to develop advocacy skills and act as an advocate in straightforward cases.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines, be calm under pressure and flexibly manage competing priorities.

Details

  • Job type: Permanent, full time.
  • Working pattern: Full time. We offer flexible working subject to business need.
  • Salary: £31,364 per year, rising to £33,605
  • Location: Sheffield/hybrid remote.
  • Benefits: flexible working, contributory pension, life insurance and benefits portal.
  • Interviews date: Monday 22 July 

Application

During the application process, you’ll be asked to provide answers to three questions from the job description. These answers will be what your application is scored on, please answer in as much detail as possible using examples where necessary.

For more information and to apply please visit https://jobs.socialworkengland.org.uk/vacancy/fitness-to-practise-paralegal-561523.html

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