A day in the life of…. Atlanta Kirk, Referrals Coordinator

Our team at Carter Brown, part of the Antser group, provides quality support and guidance to both our clients and expert witnesses. Find out more about the role of Atlanta, our Referrals Coordinator and how she plays a part in safeguarding children and young people.

– What is your role at Carter Brown?

I support family and criminal cases mainly and the enquiries I receive are from solicitors and local authorities. I deal with all types of assessments including paediatric, psychiatric and psychological reports.

When an enquiry comes through, I will consider the needs of the assessment and seek to match the client’s requirements to our experts’ areas of expertise. I will then manage everything from providing a CV, estimating costings, updating my client, monitoring timescales and confirming cases. Once a case has been confirmed, and is the process of commencing, it will then be passed to our case handling team.

 – How long have you been with Carter Brown and what is your previous career experience?

I have been with Carter Brown for two and a half years and prior to this I have had some administration and recruitment job experience, as well as completing criminology at university. It was the court cases aspect of my role that appealed to me originally. I already had some of that experience before starting with Carter Brown and I am now continuing my career development in areas such as domestic abuse and mental health first aid.

 – What part does your role play in the overall safeguarding of children and young people?

A large part of my role is to ensure we match the right expert to the appropriate case, and it is important that we get the most suitable match. Choosing an expert that has the best experience and knowledge could be the difference between that child/young person being safe or remaining in a dangerous situation.

 – What do you enjoy most about your role?

Every case is different! As a team, we received 86 referrals yesterday, none of which were similar in anyway. These can range from basic to more complex cases and I enjoy the variety to work with.

I also really enjoy building good relationships with my local authority contacts and solicitors. Each referrals coordinator has their own area to manage, so building those key relationships are really important to ensure we can support our clients in the best way possible.

– What is the most difficult or challenging about your role?

The juggling and multi-tasking is challenging! We always have lots of cases to manage at any one time so being able to prioritise is essential for this role. When cases are in the stage of being in court, information can be needed urgently, so being aware of all pending referrals and confirmed cases for each expert is very important to offer the right timescale for the case. It takes a while to learn these skills and understand what referrals received on that day are more urgent.

 – Can you give me an example of your average day at Carter Brown?

When I first start my day, I will check for any emails received from overnight or early in the morning and also for urgent court enquiries, including those being heard that morning! I then move onto checking the progress of any cases I am working on and ensuring we are on track for meeting each of their timelines.

I will then place a focus on new referrals and cases, ensuring clients have had all enquiries answered. As a team, we also manage the referrals inbox on a rota once a week which allows us to focus and prioritise urgent cases coming in.

– What do you see as your core values at Carter Brown and why are these important?

Knowing I am doing a good thing and making a positive difference is a core value that is very important to me. Supporting families and knowing that children are in safe environments is what we strive to achieve. It’s like a ripple effect, the small things make big differences.

 – How do you provide a quality service – individually and as part of a team?

We are a very close-knit team and have to work well together, ensuring everyone is supported. It’s also important to get to know everyone’s skills and make the best use of team expertise and knowledge. Having that support adds to the quality of the service and makes referrals the best they can be.

 – What have been your challenges during the pandemic?

To start with it was not knowing what to do for the best for each case and how to handle the social distancing challenges we were all facing. There was so much unknown! However, as a team we soon got into a rhythm and started to adapt to the changes, many of which were virtual. We have continually monitored this as the pandemic has progressed.

 – What do you think the future holds for your role, the team and the wider family courts/safeguarding sector?

I think we will see new types of referral enquiries, especially therapy referrals. So, expanding on our range of experts and the types of experts we liaise with will change. We’ve seen an increase in referrals since the pandemic began and more domestic abuse cases already, so this could continue to rise.

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