A day in the life of…Paige Stringer, Local Authority 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 Paige, our Local Authority Referrals Coordinator, and how she plays a part in safeguarding children and young people.

– What is your role at Carter Brown?

A little bit of everything! I deal with all referrals that come in from Local Authorities and Independent Fostering Agencies for carer based assessments (Form F, Adoption, Connected Persons and SGOs) and I also look after case handling assessments that I manage on behalf of a set number of our LA and IFA clients. The case handling involved acting as a one point of contact between our social workers and the client to make sure the assessments are filed on time.

I moved to the referrals team in October 2019 time and prior to this I was working on reception.

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

I started in June 2019, as maternity cover and then was promoted to Referrals Coordinator, so already had a good understanding of the business. Prior to this I was already familiar with office/admin and customer service work in my previous roles. Carter Brown supported my training and development and transition to my current role. They are fully supportive of career progression within the company and the routes available to individuals.

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

My role is to find a suitable assessor which is best for a family’s needs. I take my time to get to know the case, the family and their concerns, keeping everyone in the loop. I will then assess the family’s needs, identifying an appropriate assessor.

Our overall aim is to ensure a child can remain with their family or find suitable alternative carers for them. Assessors will also raise any concerns regarding those they are assessing, which I would then need to pass onto a local authority so these can be dealt with swiftly, so as part of this sometimes I can be directly involved with safeguarding issues.

 – What do you enjoy most about your role?

The relationship building is my favourite. I am in regular contact with colleagues, assessors, local authorities and fostering agencies. As well as enjoying this aspect of my role, it is also the most important. Getting to know all of my clients helps to build positive relationships, which directly impacts on how we are able to deal with any issues that arise.

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

Lately, the referrals rate has risen so ensuring I am able to split my time efficiently and prioritising work is essential. The referrals we are receiving from local authorities are really high, so it remains important to take the time to get to know each case, even though they are on the rise.

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

Every day involves checking emails, and these will be split between incoming referrals and case handling enquiries. New referrals must be put onto our system to be tracked and any urgent tasks, such as reports, references or concerns, also dealt with appropriately. I will then look to identify suitable assessors for cases, and look at timescales and availability, communicating with clients to send over CVs and timescales.

It is a similar style work each day, but no case is ever the same so that’s where I see variety.

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

Relationship building is definitely a core value. This part of my role is really important as with all assessments, especially for those that are urgent, a positive relationship helps the communication process to ensure referrals are dealt with as efficiently as possible.

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

As a team, we are all onboard with cases individually and as part of a team. We need to have a good relationship with each other to support this. Any concerns that are raised means we can all pick up quickly and work together to support this.

 – What have been your challenges during the pandemic?

Managing time during the pandemic has been challenging. Also, being at home and not having the direct face to face support from your team has been hard. Although we all communicate regularly via technology, it does not replace the chats we would regularly have in the office.

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

With the referral workload rising I think we will grow as a department – becoming a bigger team and continually improving our case handling skills. The pandemic was unknown, but we have remained busy and have been able to support the sector. There is a possibility that we could see referrals rise yet again when schools reopen in September.

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