Share this Job

Senior Practitioner (Children's Services) OCC5103

Job Details:

Salary Range: £37,849 - £40,760 pro rata, per annum (actual salary £23,016 - £24,786 per annum)
Work Location: Current workbase is Lyndurst Cresent (potential relocation elsewhere in Swindon in the future)
Hours per week: 22.50
Contract type: Temporary for 1 year 
Closing date: 27/05/2019

Advert Text:

This is an exciting opportunity for someone who is interested in adoption work to join Adopt Thames Valley, a Regional Adoption Agency.


Oxfordshire County Council hosts the Regional Adoption Agency, with offices in Oxford, Woodley and Swindon. Adopt Thames Valley provides adoption services to Oxfordshire, Swindon, Reading, West Berkshire, Bracknell, Wokingham and Windsor & Maidenhead local authorities.


We have a part time Senior Practitioner Role based at the Swindon Office. The majority of the casework will be with children in the Care of Swindon Borough Council or with prospective adopters in the Swindon area, but the work will involve travel throughout the area served by the RAA, and sometimes further afield.  


The post is a one-year temporary post for 22.5 hours per week. Depending on the needs of the service over the coming year, it may be possible to offer some additional hours assessing prospective adopters on a sessional basis.


The successful candidate will have excellent social work experience with children and families, including significant experience in either adoption or placing and supporting children in long term foster placements. He or she will become part of a hard-working and very supportive team who deliver services in the Oxfordshire and Swindon areas.


The candidate will have a sound knowledge of the principles of permanency planning and will be able to support and liaise with colleagues in the local authorities where children have permanency plans for adoption.  He or she will also be able to demonstrate the high level of skills and knowledge that are needed in this role.  The work will mainly be to family find for children needing adoptive families, but it may include preparing and supporting prospective adoptive parents.



Job Purpose:

The Adoption Team is responsible for the recruitment, preparation training, assessment and support of prospective adoptive parents, and for family finding for children needing adoptive placements.  The team is also responsible for non-agency adoption assessments.    

The senior practitioner role is to assist the Team Manager and Assistant Team Manager in ensuring sound practice in placing children for adoption and in the assessment and support of prospective adoptive parents. The post holder is responsible for ensuring that all Safeguarding and Child Protection policies are adhered to, raising any concerns, should they arise, in accordance with these policies.


The senior practitioner assists the Team Managers and Assistant Team Managers with the operational management of the Adoption Teams, often holding more complex cases, and providing leadership and support to colleagues.  

To share the responsibility for overviewing and developing one or more aspects of the work of the Team. To support the Managers with data collection and ensuring resources are used effectively to meet the needs of the service.

The senior practitioner is computer literate. 

Role Responsibilities:

  • To work with prospective adopters throughout the recruitment, assessment and matching process and after children are placed for adoption and/or to family find for children needing adoptive placements.
  • To have the knowledge, skills and experience to work with more complex adoption cases, whether this is assessing and supporting prospective adopters or family finding for children with more complex needs.
  • To provide Family Finding reports for the Court as directed.
  • Assessments for non-agency adoptions.
  • To be proficient in using Adopt Thames Valley electronic casework system, ensuring their own case files are in good order, to mentor colleagues and to assist the Team managers with auditing case files.
  • To have an understanding of national and local performance frameworks, including the Adoption Scorecards, and timescales for adoption work.  To contribute to continuously improved performance, and to support inspection, performance assessments and best value processes by assisting with quality collection of key information and data.
  • To provide a consultative, developmental and co-ordinating role in one or more areas of the work of the team, such as adopter assessments, training, matching and post placement support, and developing family finding strategies. 
  • To provide support, supervision or advice to team members as required by the Team Manager or to act as their deputy in specific circumstances.

Selection Criteria - Essential:

Educational achievements, Qualifications, Training and Knowledge:

  • Qualified Social Worker (B.A. Hons Degree, DipSW or CQSW) or equivalent
  • Must be registered with the HPCP
  • An understanding of Safeguarding issues and listening to the voice of the child.
  • A knowledge and understanding of the experiences and needs of children and young people in the care system.
  • An understading of the principles of permanency planning
  • Knowledge of and training in current legislation, statutory procedures in adoption, and new initiatives
  • Skills and experience in assessing prospective adoptive parents, foster carers or kinship carers.


  • Have at least 3 years post qualifying social work experience with children and families, including adoption or fostering
  • Working in partnership with adoptive families and/or foster carers whilst not forgetting the voice of the child
  • Experience in presenting to prospective adopters
  • Experience of inter-agency partnership working
  • Consultation/advice to students/less experienced staff
  • Experience in providing co-ordinated support to adoptive parents, foster carers or kinship carers

Job related aptitude and skills:

  • Computer Literacy
  • Ability to attend work regularly and on time
  • Ability to communicate effectively with adults and children,
  • Ability to produce quality reports and other written work, demonstrating good assessment and analytical skills, and following departmental procedures
  • Aptitude in computer skills such as  word processing documents, spreadsheets and electronic client record information systems
  • Ability to work independently to give and be given delegated tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to keep up-to-date on latest research matters related to the post.
  • Ability to address issues of anti-discriminatory practice within supervisory role.
  • Commitment to high standards of professionalism.
  • Belief in child focused work.
  • Ability to work with a diverse client group and support colleagues.
  • Ability to develop community networks and access and service these on behalf of clients.
  • Ability to assess, evaluate and make appropriate recommendations and decisions
  • Ability to present information and deliver training to small and large groups of people

Personal qualities:

  • Strong sense of responsibility and ownership of the work
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Can work as part of a team
  • Can work in a busy, sometimes stressful environment, supported by our priority and workload system
  • Committed to ensuring that a child’s welfare is paramount, and to taking necessary steps to protect children.
  • Flexibility and ability to use ones initiative, whilst accepting the need to work within policies and procedures.
  • Represent the department in positive way
  • Open, creative, willing to explore new ways of working
  • Confident in presenting information to groups of adopters and colleagues

Selection Criteria - Desirable:

Educational achievements, Qualifications, Training and Knowledge:

  • Training in adoption or fostering assessment, attachment issues, adoption support, supervisory skills, permanency planning, or other Adoption Specific training  
  • Has pursued additional training or personal study of relevant subjects
  • Practice Teaching Award


  • Experience of assessing or working with adoptive families
  • Experience of working with disabled children and their families
  • Experience of supervision of staff/students
  • Working to government performance indicators
  • Experience of providing training

Job related aptitude and skills:

  • Additional IT skills
  • Collating and analysing data


Vetting Requirements:

This post is subject to a Criminal Records Check.


Please note that under safer recruitment requirements, references will be requested prior to interview.

Contact details for an informal discussion:

Pauline Upstone, 01865894940



Our Organisation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults. We expect all employees, workers and volunteers to share this commitment. We will ensure that all our recruitment and selection practices reflect this commitment.

As a Disability Confident employer we guarantee an interview for disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the job. We also guarantee interviews to care leavers who have completed further education and who meet the essential criteria for the job. For those leaving care without any further education we guarantee an interview for our apprenticeships. 

All posts, unless stated otherwise, are open to flexible working arrangements.

To stay up-to-date with the latest news and featured jobs from Oxfordshire County Council, follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Job Segment: Physician, Social Media, Information Systems, Healthcare, Marketing, Technology, Part Time

Apply now »