Certificate of Qualification in Social Work
Family Court Work –I was one of the first Guardian-ad-Litem and Reporting officers, being a member of the South West London Panel of Guardians ad Litem and Reporting Officers in 1984, when the Guardian role came into operation. I have worked in Devon for twenty years as Family Court Social Worker (Children’s Guardian, Family Court Advisor and Family Court Welfare Officer). Whenever possible, and whenever it is in the best interests of the child, my main focus in both private and public family law has been conflict resolution either following an investigation or as a mediator. However I have had very substantial experience of preparing reports for the Family Court and giving evidence in Court
Social Work with Children and families –I have been employed by four local authorities in different parts of the country. These are North Wales, East London, South London, and Devon. I have been the manager of a Social Work Team in Devon. The team covered a broad range of Social Work but much of my time was devoted to Social Work with Children and Families. This included chairing child protection meetings and making decisions about instigating care proceedings, and other proceedings.
Mental Health Social Work –I worked for eighteen months as a Mental Health Social worker at the first Community Mental Health Team in Devon, covering Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton. This gave me an intensive experience of working with people with a variety of mental health problems from serious mental illness, necessitating admission to a psychiatric hospital, to some very successful anxiety management work using cognitive therapy, as well as a range of other work.
I was an Approved Social Worker (within the meaning of the 1983 Mental Health Act). This entailed assessing the need for compulsorily admission to psychiatric hospital and managing the movement of the patient from their home (or wherever they were when assessed) to the hospital. This involved working with the police and ambulance staff, as well as psychiatrists and general practitioners. I was responsible for most of the mental health act assessments in the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton area. I also worked with an emergency mental health team in Plymouth, during which I was responsible for half the mental health act assessments in the area covered by the Plymouth Health Authority.
Counsellor at a Residential Treatment Centre for people addicted to alcohol and drugs –This was an intensive experience of working with people during their primary treatment (using the Minnesota Model) working both in groups and on an individual basis.
2011 – Present Independent Social Worker I am self–employed as an Independent Social Worker undertaking assessments concerning care proceedings (such as Parenting Assessments and Kinship Assessments including Parents with learning difficulties) as well as private family proceedings, such as working with parents to resolve contact issues and completing an assessment for the Court. I have undertaken BAAF Form F Foster Carer Assessments and a variety of other work.
1991 – 2011 Children’s Guardian and Family Court Advisor. Employed by Devon Probation Service until 2001 and then CAFCASS
2007 – 2011 National Vice-Chair Napo. (Napo is the Professional Association and Trade Union for Cafcass and Probation staff) I was the lead officer for Napo’s work as a professional association for Cafcass members and the lead officer for national trade union negotiations with Cafcass.
1989 – 1991 Counsellor at Broadreach House. This is a residential treatment centre for people addicted to alcohol and drugs (Broadreach House is a private sector organisation /charity)
1987 – 1989 Social Work Team Manager, Teignmouth and Dawlish (employed by Devon Social Services Department). I managed a generic team but I spent most time supervising the children and family social workers This included chairing child protection meetings and meetings deciding to instigate care proceedings (as both Chair and Decision maker) I also chaired statutory reviews of children in care, including developing a procedure and form leading to more in depth reviews.
1985 – 1987 Mental Health Social Worker, Exmouth Community Mental Health Team. Employed by Devon County Council
1982 – 1985 Social Worker, London Borough of Sutton. I was a member of South West London Guardian-ad-Litem and Reporting Officer Panel. In addition I had a generic caseload but most of my work was with children and families including working with children in care placed with foster placements, children’s homes, assessments centres, community homes, secure accommodation and at home. I also assessed foster placements and adoption placements.
1979 – 1982 Social Worker, London Borough of Newham. I undertook the full range of social work and specialised in working with children and families and community based group work with teenagers (Intermediate Treatment). I had considerable experience of children in care, including children in secure accommodation, foster placement, children’s homes, assessments centre and at home, as well as assessing foster placements and adoption placements.
1977 – 1979 Social Worker, Clwyd County Council. I undertook the full range of Social Work. This included considerable work with children and families, including children in care placed with foster parents, assessment centres, community homes and children’s homes as well as community based group work with teenagers (Intermediate Treatment) and with children and families.