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Independent Panel Members for Fostering Panels

Acorn Fostering Services is an independent fostering organisation providing high quality foster care and services to children and their foster families.

We are currently seeking self-employed, independent fostering Panel Members to join our fostering panel central list. We are seeking people from various backgrounds such as health, social care, education, therapy etc. We are also interested in people who are current or ex foster carers or care leavers.

Our panel normally sits monthly on Saturdays for a half or a full day. The panel meetings are held at our City Centre Office in Leicester or via Microsoft Teams where a face to face panel cannot take place.

As a member of the fostering panel, you will play a vital role in the quality assurance of our service, working closely with the panel chair, other panel members and the panel advisor to ensure the smooth running of the fostering panel process.

Remuneration for panel member: £210 for a full day panel and £140 for a half day panel including reading and administration time.

Panel members will only be recruited within reasonable travelling distance and preferably from within the local community.

Induction is provided for all Panel Members and further training is arranged at least annually. Candidates would need to commit to attendance at Panels as agreed with the Agency.

For an informal discussion about the role please telephone Lionel Boyce, Fostering Manager (Designate) on 0116 2513550 or email

These posts are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and will be subject to a DBS check from the Disclosure and Barring Service in addition to other checks such as references, ID checks and right to work check.

To apply please download the job description and application form and return completed application forms to

Completed forms must be returned to Alternatively you can ring on 0116 251 3550 to ask for an application pack (opening times are 9 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Thursday, and 9 am to 5 pm on Friday)

Closing date: Thursday, 20 April 2017

Interview date: Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Job description

  • 1. To read the circulated papers carefully before the meeting and to attend the meetings prepared to raise issues and to contribute to the panel discussion.
  • 2. To take responsibility for participating in the making of a recommendation, on each case, drawing on both personal and professional knowledge and experience.
  • 3. To attend meetings of the panel as specified in your agreement with the agency.
  • 4. To be prepared to attend additional panels if possible, if requested.
  • 5. To participate, with other members, in advising on policy and procedural matters as required.
  • 6. To address diversity issues and promote anti- discriminatory practice.
  • 7. To safeguard the confidentiality of all panel papers and panel discussions.
  • 8. To participate in induction and in training this will be at least one day per year.
  • 9. To participate constructively in the annual review of your central list panel membership.

Person specification

Experience and qualifications

  • Experience of working in social sector or health or experience, either professionally or personally or both, of the placement of children in foster families or of children being cared for away from their birth family.
  • A social work qualification will be necessary for certain panel members where required.

  • An appreciation of the effect of separation and loss on children.
  • Awareness of the richness of different kinds of families and their potential for meeting children’s needs.
  • Some understanding of the purpose and function of the panel and of the agency which the panel is serving, or a willingness to learn.

  • Good listening and communications skills
  • The ability to read, process and analyse large amounts of complex and sometimes distressing information.
  • The ability to make an assessment and to form a view, based on the written and verbal information presented to panel, and the confidence to articulate this at panel.
  • The ability to use personal and/or professional knowledge and experience to contribute to discussions and decision-making in a balanced and informed manner.
  • The ability to work co-operatively as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • The ability to attend panel meetings, as required, arriving on time, and to attend at least one training day each year.

  • A commitment to keeping children within their own family or community where this is possible and to maintaining contact between children living in foster families and their birth families where this appears to be in the 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 your central list panel membership and, as required, to that of other members and the Chair.
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Independent Form F Assessors required

Acorn Fostering Services Ltd is an independent fostering agency operating mainly in the Midland region.  We are seeking experienced Independent Form F assessors to undertake Form F assessments for prospective carers all areas of the Midlands and surrounding Counties.

As a qualified and HCPC registered social worker, you will have proven experience of carrying out assessments of potential foster carers. A good knowledge of fostering regulations, child care law and safeguarding issues is essential. You will have excellent analytical, verbal and written communication skills and a commitment to high-quality practice.

Please download, Application Form & Job Description from the link below.  The successful candidates will be required to provide at least two positive professional references and an enhanced DBS.

For further information on this role, please contact Amanda Norman, Senior Recruitment Officer on 0116 2513550.

For application form related enquiries, please contact Ms Prina Gohil on or ring on 0116 251350

Acorn Fostering Services Ltd is an equal opportunities employer and is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expects all staff to share this commitment.

Completed application Form must be emailed to or

Posted to:

Acorn Fostering Services

Acorn Conference Centre

78-80 Burleys Way



Job description:

  • Supervised by: Senior Recruitment Officer (SRO)
  • Accountable to:Registered Manager – Fostering
  • Local Office Base:Leicester
  • Required to Travel:Yes
  • Location:Required in the following regions:
  • East Midland
  • West Midland
  • North of England
  • Terms of engagement:£1700-£1850 per full Form F assessment once completed and approved. This rate is based on 50 hours work and is to include an average of 10 visits and attendance at panel. This includes mileage allowance for applicants living within 25 miles radius from your home address. If your assignment is carried out at a distance beyond 25 miles of your home, an extra 10% will be paid to you.
  • For payment, an invoice will need to be submitted to the agency. Payment will be made by BACS; bank details must be included in the invoice.
  • Independent assessors will be responsible for paying their own tax and NI.

  • Key activities/tasks

    The Independent Assessor/Social Worker will be responsible for:

  • Familiarising themselves with the information already received in respect of the application, preliminary report, applicant information form, stage 1 checks should be monitored throughout assessment. An agreement for assessment must be completed and signed by assessor and applicants and sent to the SRO after the first visit.
  • Contacting the applicants within 2 working days of allocation of the Form F assessment to arrange the first visit;
  • Completing the DBS forms at the first visit and returning the ID documents to the administrator immediately;
  • Advising the applicants to make medical appointments (first visit) and informing the administrator of the dates the medicals are booked for;
  • Completing the assessment within 12 weeks. A minimum of 8 assessment visits are required which should take approximately 2 hours per session and should take place at the applicant’s home. If the applicants are a couple, then they must be seen individually on at least one occasion each;
  • Interviewing children of the household. Observing children in the household if it is not appropriate to interview (age/understanding);
  • Interviewing ex partners (who must be interviewed unless agreed otherwise by the SRO);
  • Interviewing the adult children/children not living in the household;
  • Interviewing any other person living in the household;
  • Completing a minimum of two personal referee visits with written reports (must be unrelated to the applicants/know them well for at least two years//nor should they be the applicants line manager or managed by the applicants;)
  • Completing 1 family reference;
  • Completing any additional references as identified;
  • Monitoring the contents of statutory checks and references/cross reference against information provided by the applicants during the assessment (raise any concerns with the SRO immediately);
  • Advising the SRO/administrator of any work with children/vulnerable adult including voluntary positions that the applicants have undertaken but has not recorded on the Applicant Information form (examples – youth clubs/dance classes/support in schools etc);
  • Completing Health and Safety documents (any concerns to be brought to the attention of the SRO immediately);
  • Completing the assessment within the timescale and to a high standard;
  • Typing and proof reading of the form F and to make available an electronic version to the agency;
  • Making amendment to assessment as requested and within identified timescale;
  • Panel date should not be changed unless agreed by SRO;
  • Explaining the panel process to the applicants prior to their attendance at panel;
  • Presenting of the assessment report and supporting applicants at Panel;
  • Adhering to agency policies and procedures;
  • Support applicants to produce carers profile and welcome booklet;
  • Complete back up carers visit and assessment as applicable;
  • Ensuring that confidentiality and security is maintained when dealing with all information/materials. Ensuring that all data is treated in accordance with the requirements of Data protection legislation, Fostering Regulations, the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and OFSTED Requirements.

  • Notes:
  • All references should be face to face and should be undertaken early /mid-way through the assessment;
  • Personal referees must be interviewed face to face unless they live too far away, then agreement for a telephone interview must be sort from the fostering manager through the SRO;
  • If adult children are travelling/living abroad etc, then written reference/email/skype/telephone interview may be undertaken with the agreement of the fostering through the SRO.
  • All ex partners should be interviewed (irrespective of whether they have had children together or not). If they refuse to meet face to face then discussions must take place with the SRO to agree how references should be obtained;
  • If interviewing an ex-partner could represent a risk to the applicants or their family then this information will need to be verified by a source other than the applicants.
  • References visits should be signed by the ASW. Any concerns arising from referee interviews must be brought to the attention of the SRO immediately.
  • Assessor will meet with SRO for supervision 3 times and regularly liaise as required.
  • SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS The agency is committed to safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults within its care. As an Independent Assessor, you are accountable for ensuring that you know how to respond when you are concerned for the safety of a child, young person or vulnerable adult. The agency will support you in this process by providing training, support and advice. The agencies safeguarding lead is Lionel Boyce and he can be contacted for guidance.


Dip SW, CQSW or equivalent social work qualification


HCPC registration

Relevant Experience

Experience of carrying out form F assessment of prospective carers


Experience of working with looked after children

Knowledge and understanding

Knowledge of Ofsted, National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services

Knowledge of the current Fostering Services Regulations

Knowledge of current child care legislation


Experience of working with the secure based model

Skills and Abilities

Ability to write clear reports

Ability to analyse and interpret information objectively

Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Excellent inter personal skills

Ability to explain information in a clear and concise manner

Good administrative skills

Good planning and organisation skills

Ability to use computers

Ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines


Ability to use the agency database


Commitment to and knowledge of equal opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice

Ability work outside normal office hours as required

A positive and flexible attitude to changes and developments

Current driving licence and use of car

Download Job Application Form Download Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form

Download Complete Guidance to Fill Application Form
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