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Job description

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West London NHS Trust

Forensic Social Worker

Job Type






£35,392 - £42,618

Posted Date

13 June 2023


Closing Date

7 July 2023

This is an exciting opportunity for qualified Social Workers who have experience or an interest in Forensic Social Work.

West London Forensic Service, as part of West London NHS Trust, is responsible for the in-patient treatment of adults detained under the Mental Health Act, who require medium or low levels of security in order to protect others and themselves. This includes providing a Social Work Service to the Women’s Enhanced Medium Secure Service, (WEMSS). The service has benefited from a recent redevelopment programme that has resulted in a new, purpose built, medium secure unit, Thames Lodge.

Successful applicants will be joining an experienced and supportive Social Work team as patients, staff, carers and stakeholders are seeing the benefits of both the site and service developments.

Whilst it is desirable for candidates to have experience working within forensic and mental health settings, applications will be equally considered from qualified and experienced Social Workers working in other areas, as long as they can demonstrate strong transferability of skills. Where applicable, applicants must have completed their ASYE before applying for this post.

Social Workers work within their clinical teams allocated to wards. The Social Work role is well integrated within the multi-disciplinary team approach and you will have key responsibilities in the completion of statutory reports, supporting carers and be the clinical team lead for safeguarding.

Main duties of the job

West London Forensic Service delivers a forensic social work service across medium and low levels of security, covering a large London geographical area. We work within well-resourced multi-disciplinary teams, contributing to risk assessment and care planning from admission to discharge.

We address the social care needs of patients within our services. Social Workers operate to the Forensic Mental Health Social Work: Capabilities Framework (2016) with opportunities for working across a number of specialist areas.

As a Forensic Social Worker, you will work collaboratively as part of a multi-disciplinary team attached to a ward. You will undertake statutory functions, including the completion of Social Circumstance, social history and CPA reports and take lead responsibility for safeguarding and Carers.

You will contribute fully to risk assessments and care pathway planning, particularly linking with Responsible Local Authority Social Workers. You will work to the principles of the Recovery Model and will provide a social care perspective to patient care planning. You will have an active role in working closely and supporting the families and carers of patients. You will take a lead on ensuring safeguarding adult and children concerns are progressed, working closely with the Team Manager

Working for our organisation

Working for a forward thinking and expanding NHS Trust you will have access to a comprehensive induction programme, excellent training opportunities, and the opportunity to develop your skills, professional interests and career. You will be further supported through individual supervision and personal development planning working for a Trust which understands Social Work values and has qualified Social Workers employed at every level, including in senior management.

There is a Trustwide Social Work forum that meets regularly, allowing Social Workers to be supported in their practice, keep up to date with local and national initiatives and to develop their understanding of Social Work roles across the Trust. Additionally, visits to other services within the Trust and beyond are encouraged.

Caseloads within the team are manageable and reviewed regularly. There are opportunities for team members to develop their skills across different clinical pathways, including medium and low secure and WEMSS. Social Workers are also involved in representing the department at various clinical forums and meetings.

The Trust offers a generous annual leave entitlement, free parking on site, a car lease scheme and opportunities for a number of career and professional development options.

Detailed job description and main responsibilities:

- Ensure that inpatients have a social history completed to inform the post admission assessment process and in accordance with the post-admission pathway process
- Establish the home Responsible Local Authority for inpatients on admission, and escalate to Line Manager when efforts to establish the RLA prove problematic. Maintain links with the Responsible Local Authority and home Community Mental Health Team for each patient to ensure good liaison and care planning and timely transitions to lower secure environments and discharge from hospital
- Gather information for needs assessment and risk analysis from patients and others such as family members and external social care and probation agencies.
- Complete reports within deadlines
- Undertake assessment and analysis of risk to the public and staff or others of reoffending. Develop with multidisciplinary team colleagues risk management strategies and care plans for the treatment and rehabilitation of patients, taking a lead in relation to the individual social care needs.
- Actively and assertively participate in multidisciplinary team meetings, contributing a Social Work perspective, with particular emphasis on discharge pathways and on family and external community issues, planning proactively for suitable aftercare.
- Provide Social Circumstances Reports for Mental Health Tribunals, Managers Hearings, and the Parole Board which conform to the standards for such reports
- Attend Mental Health Tribunals and other formal meetings to represent a Social Work perspective.
- Take a lead role within the multidisciplinary team to ensure that child and adult safeguarding is prioritised and procedures followed.
- Take a lead role in the multidisciplinary team in enabling patients to exercise their rights.
- Take a lead role within the multidisciplinary team in ensuring carers are advised in any patient / service user’s change of circumstances.
- Promote good practice regarding equality, diversity and inclusion, specifically in relation to addressing racism and discrimination
- Support families and carers to contribute to patients’ care and refer carers for specialist assistance where appropriate including a Carers Assessment.
- Represent the views of the multidisciplinary team at external meetings, such as MAPPA level 2 or MARAC
- Contribute to Ward Clinical Improvement Groups and Service Clinical Governance meetings
- Contribute to the Social Work Team duty rota, and complete reports and other duty tasks as required
- Maintain records in a timely and accurate matter in accordance with Trust policies and Social Work England expectations
- Where agreed with the RLA, undertake initial Care Act assessments on behalf of the RLA, referring to local host area funding panels with regard to section 117 MHA
- Undertake the role of Appropriate Adult, as outlined by PACE
- Undertake the Social Supervision of patients subject to Conditional Discharge in agreed cases
- Contribute to the development of any student social workers and newly qualified Social Workers placed within the team
- Where the post holder is an AMHP, contribute to a partner local authority AMHP rota as agreed with management, and attend appropriate training and supervision.

The Social Work department at West London Forensic Service works closely with patients, their families, other disciplines and external stakeholders in providing high quality social care and contributing to the effective risk management of service users with a forensic history.

The Trust provides an array of training and development opportunities relevant to Social Work and has a regular Trust Wide Social Work forum

The Trust is committed to providing research and practice development opportunities across disciplines.

You will be provided with opportunities for reflective practice and developing areas of specialism that are of interest to you and will benefit the service delivery.

In addition to established training opportunities, the department commissions bespoke training and learning events, aimed specifically towards Forensic Social Workers. Safeguarding across the Trust is supported by an experienced and established central safeguarding team. The Trust also provides a number of various internal and externally commissioned training events, webinars and learning events.
Person specification
Essential criteria

- Qualification in Social Work or alternative Allied Health Professions with SWE / HCPC registration.

Desirable criteria

- Post Qualifying training and development

Essential criteria

- The applicant must have a minimum of two years post graduate experience.
- The applicant must have two years post qualification experience in a mental health setting.
- The applicant must have experience of autonomous working.

Desirable criteria

- Experience of community forensic working practises

Knowledge and Skills
Essential criteria

- Demonstrate an ability to undertake assessments of risk using specific risk assessment tools.
- Demonstrate an ability to formulate implement and evaluate programmes of care for those individuals in the Community Forensic Service and those being referred.
- Demonstrate an ability to use a range of therapeutic interventions with clients who have a range of disorders that will include personality disorder dual diagnosis.
- Demonstrate knowledge of actuarial and clinical risk assessment and how this might be applied to the management of clients.
- Demonstrate ability to supervise staff
- Demonstrate ability to lead on projects and audits.
- Demonstrate knowledge of Part 3 of the Mental Health Act and its application to Mentally Disordered Offenders.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the Criminal Justice Act and its implication for the management of Forensic clients.
- Demonstrate an ability to teach.
- Demonstrate an ability to work with a range of organisations including Courts, Police and Probation, ministry of Justice. Demonstrate good communication skills, especially listening, empathy, facilitation, persuasion, motivation, negotiation, education, and reassurance.
- Demonstrate ability to lead projects and development of services
- Demonstrate an ability to communicate complex issues to users and carers.
- Demonstrate the ability to understand the role of the Community Forensic Service.
- Demonstrate a good understanding of CPA and its application
- Demonstrate ability for cross cultural working ensuring whatever the cultural background of clients they are treated holistically.
- Demonstrate an ability to manage stress and competing demands prioritising appropriately.
- Demonstrate skills associated with good documentation.

Desirable criteria

- An ability to work as part of a team.
- Ability to work in an autonomous manner.

As an employee of West London NHS Trust, you have a responsibility to maintain a sound understanding of, and a commitment to uphold the National Health Service values and principles set out in the NHS Constitution.

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