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- / Adoption and Permanence Panel Membership
Adoption and Permanence Panel Membership
Membership The Adoption and Permanence Panel (Panel) has an Independent Chair appointed by the Health and Social Services Department, Children and Maternity Services (Department).Panel members are drawn from a 'central list' of people considered to be suitable to be members of the Panel. There is no maximum number on the list although the quorum for each meeting is 5 members.The central list must include (in addition to the Independent Chair):
- At least two social workers with at least three years' relevant post qualifying experience in child care social work practice.
- At least three independent members one of whom should be, if possible, an adoptive parent and one an adopted person;
- The Medical Adviser is appointed as one of the independent members of the Panel and can hold office for as long as he/she is the Medical Adviser.
- The Panel has a Vice Chair.
- The Agency Decision Maker must not be a member of the Panel.
- The panel also has a professional advisor (who cannot be included on the Central List) and a legal adviser can be consulted/or attend the panel meetings. Quorum The quorum is 5, one of whom must be the Chair or Vice Chair, one of the social worker representatives and at least 1 independent member.All those on the central list must have the opportunity to observe a panel meeting before they sit as a member. Conditions of Membership No Panel member can begin work until:
- They have been interviewed;
- Their identity has been checked, their qualifications and right to work in Guernsey has been verified;
- A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check has been completed;
- Two references have been received;
- He or she has signed a confidentiality agreement.
- He or she has signed an agreement to the performance objectives and annual appraisal. Panel Files A confidential file will be raised by the Panel Administrator in respect of every panel member. The panel adviser has the responsibility of keeping relevant records. These will need to contain the following:
- Recent photograph and proof of identity;
- Tenure dates;
- CRB check information;
- Any Training in which the panel member has participated;
- Access to the Family Placement Training Calendar.
- Any complaints in relation to the panel members;
- Minutes from the Appraisal meeting, copy of the signed protocol. All files will be held at Family Placement Service and will be administered by the panel administrator.A separate file will also be given to the Panel Members providing them with Reconstruct procedures (currently being revised) and panel guidance.
Expectations of Panel Members Expectations of Panel Members
- Any information of which the panel members become aware in their capacity as a member of the Panel regarding individual children, their natural families and prospective adoptive parents is confidential. Panel members will make suitable arrangements to ensure that all confidential written material to which they have access is received, kept and transported securely so that no unauthorised person can access it;
- Panel members undertake to declare to the Chair of the Panel (at Panel meetings) or otherwise to the Panel Adviser any prior personal knowledge they have regarding individual children, their natural families and prospective adoptive parents due to be discussed by the Panel. This declaration should be made as soon as the Panel Member becomes aware of it to ensure that the Panel will be quorum. The Panel Member agrees, if required to do so, to stand down from the Panel and leave the room when that matter is being discussed;
- Panel Members will leave all confidential written material concerning Panel business with the Panel Administrator at the end of each meeting and are asked not to write on the panel papers;
- There is an expectation that Panel members will attend a minimum of 75% of meetings in a year;
- Panel members should have read the Panel papers carefully and should come prepared to contribute to the panel discussion and to accept responsibility for taking an equal role in the recommendation process;
- Panel members should be committed to anti-discriminatory practice and should be prepared to consider each case on its own merits applying the principle that first consideration being given to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child throughout his childhood. Panel members should attempt, in their participation in panel meetings to achieve a balance between being too passive and unquestioning and being challenging in a disrespectful and unhelpful way;
- Panel members should refer to the Adoption & Permanence Panel Checklist;
- Panel members must behave independently of the Department, family, etc in carrying out their role;
- An annual training day will be arranged by the Department and there is a clear expectation that Panel Members will attend. Panel members will also be invited to attend any Family Placement Training from the Learning and Development Training Programme;
- Panel Members should inform the Agency Panel Adviser or the Chair if they have been convicted or cautioned for any criminal offence or if any criminal proceedings are pending;
- Panel Members should be willing to sign their agreement to the carrying out of a Disclosure and Barring Service check;
- Panel members should notify the panel administrator in advance if they are unable to attend panel.
Values Adoption is primarily a service for children not adults;
- Children are entitled to grow up as part of a loving family who can meet their needs during childhood and beyond;
- It is best for children where possible to be brought up by their own birth family;
- The child's welfare, safety and needs will be at the centre of the adoption process;
- The child's wishes and feelings will be actively sought and fully taken into account at all stages;
- The views of birth parents/relatives and adopters will also be considered by panel;
- Delays in adoption can have a severe impact on the health and development of children and should be avoided wherever possible. Cases therefore should only be deferred by panel if there is insufficient evidence to make a recommendation;
- Children's ethnic origin, cultural background, religion and language will be fully recognised and positively valued and promoted when decisions are made;
- The particular needs of disabled children will be fully recognised and taken into account when decisions are made;
- The role of adoptive parents in offering a permanent family to a child who cannot live with their birth family will be valued and respected;
- Adoption has lifelong implications for all involved and requires lifelong commitment from many different organisations, professions and individuals who have to work together to meet the needs of those affected by adoption.
Conditions of appointment, appraisal and performance criteria
Best Practise prescribed by The Adoption Agency Regulations 2005 requires each panel member's performance to be monitored (regulation 8-(1) (c)) and reviewed 8-(1) (a). Adoption & Permanence Panel members for the Guernsey Health and Social Services Department will be reviewed under the following performance criteria: Attendance National regulation does not impose a maximum term for those included on the Central List and there is no fixed Panel membership or maximum number of members or maximum tenure of office.Panel members must attend at least 75% of Panel meetings in any twelve-month period;Members should arrive punctually for the beginning of each meeting and if unable to attend inform the panel administrator before the meeting. Confidentiality Panel members must sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their terms of membership;Panel members must declare any conflict of interest which may arise for them in the course of their work on the panel. If a Panel member has some knowledge of a case, whether in a personal or professional capacity, they should declare an interest and inform the Chair of Panel or the Panel Advisor at the earliest opportunity so that an alternative member can be invited, if required, to ensure that the Panel is quorum. Development Panel members should keep abreast of legislation, regulations and guidance;Panel members are invited to attend any relevant training accessed via the Family Placement Service and should attend some training events yearly. The Panel Advisor keeps members abreast of changes to legislation, regulation and guidance; Contribution Panel members should be able to identify relevant issues arising from their reading of the reports and papers presented to the Panel;In doing so Panel members should be aware of and sensitive to issues of diversity and cultural difference;Members should be able to comment on the quality of the social work reports prepared by Department;Members should be able to assist in the formulation of reasons for the Panel's recommendations to the Agency Decision-Maker. Participation Panel members should be prepared to add to the discussion of cases at the meeting;Members should be able to formulate relevant questions and put them to social workers and prospective adopters who attend the panel;Panel members should treat all applicants, panel members and advisers with courtesy and respect. Communication Panel members should possess the necessary communication skills to draw out clarifying information from social workers, prospective adopters and children when they attend;Panel members should treat all contributing to the meeting with courtesy and respect. Arrangements for Appraisal Each panel member will have an annual performance review;The review will take the form of a meeting with the Panel Advisor/ Panel Chair and or Family Placement Team Manager;Panel members will receive a summary of their review meeting in writing from the Panel Administrator.
Performance Review Written information about expectations arising from their appointment should be given to new appointees to the Central List Each Panel member's performance should be reviewed annually.The performance of the Panel Chair should be reviewed annually by the Agency Decision Maker, who may attend a proportion of Panel meetings as an observer.For all other Panel members, the annual performance review should be conducted by the Agency Adviser to the Panel/ the Panel Chair/Family Placement ManagerWhere there are concerns about a Panel member's behaviour either inside or outside the meetings, and attempts to resolve the difficulties have not been resolved by discussion between the Chair and the member concerned, the matter will be raised by the Chair with the Panel Adviser. They will decide whether the appointment should be ended and, if so, will advise the Panel member in writing giving clear reasons for the recommendation and giving one month's notice.'A member of the Panel may resign his/her office at any time by giving one months notice in writing to the Department.
Requirement to appoint an Agency Adviser to the Panel The Department must appoint a senior member of staff to:
- Assist with appointment, termination and review of Panel members;
- Be responsible for arranging the training of Panel members in consultation with the Family Placement Service Manager;
- Be responsible for liaison between the Department and the Panel.
- Monitor the performance of Panel members and the administration of the Panel;
- Give such advice to the Panel as it may request in relation to any case or generally;
- Maintain an overview of the quality of the agency reports to the Panel;
- Provide reports to the Panel on the progress of children waiting for adoption and approved adoptive families;
- Assist the Panel Chair in completing an annual report on the work of the Adoption and Permanence Panel.The Agency Adviser must be a registered social worker and have at least five years relevant post qualifying experience. He or she is not a member of the Panel. His or her role is to attend all meetings to ensure all the necessary reports are available for the Panel, to advise Panel on social work and procedural matters and to report to social workers and their managers on issues arising from Panel meetings.
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