A day in the life of…Rebecca Russell, Proof Reader

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 Rebecca, our Proof Reader, and how she plays a part in safeguarding children and young people.

– What is your role at Carter Brown?

I sit within the Quality Assurance team who looks after each report before it is finalised. After undertaking the assessment, experts will write up their report and send to our team and we act as a quality assurance service before the very final report is sent to the solicitor or local authority.

Our quality assurance process involves proof reading (grammar and sense check) but also a review of content. If there is anything we are unsure of, we would send a feedback form to assessors with specific queries around wording or if data in charts don’t match up.

We also check the content against all the client questions from the letter of instruction to ensure these have been answered and all documents have been provided. The recommendation provided needs to be in the best interest of the child or young person and all evidence needs to be provided to support this. Some reports are very complex and can take time to review.

From experience, I know that our experts find this part of Carter Brown’s service particularly useful, and that another person is quality checking their reports.

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

I started with Carter Brown in March 2019 and prior to this, since around the age of 18, worked with children, young people and adults with learning disabilities. I also worked with children in care (residential home settings) and have a degree in English.

This role was my first at Carter Brown and I was drawn to the job because of my previous experience and wanted something with more structure. It has been lovely to see another side of the social care sector.

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

We provide a final line of defence for the reports. We pick up on any concerns assessors may have missed and ensure our recommendations are as robust as possible. We all play a part in safeguarding the child/young person and they are always on the forefront of our minds.

 – What do you enjoy most about your role?

The variety of the reports is what I enjoy the most. I could be working on clinical or forensic psychological assessments and the next day carer based assessments. These reports vary in terms of creativity and the evidence/statistics provided. I still feel in tune to working with children and young people and the experience I have has opened my eyes to career aspects.

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

The workload! Most weeks are manageable but sometimes there can be a high influx of reports and you still have to take your time with them. Some reports that are short still need time and dedication as they could be more complex in nature.

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

I have three main tasks; reading, administration and time management. Once I have read a report I need to go back to our experts with a list of queries, and this could be anything from 20 to 100 enquiries. We also need to log reports, record word counts and the timescales for when the report should be read and when it is due to the solicitor or local authority.

A member of the team will chase reports from experts daily to ensure we can keep to deadlines, so we must always ensure the availability of our team to have time to do quality checks.

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

Thinking about putting the child first is important in terms of the service we provide. We have to put ourselves in the child’s eyes and consider their background. These children could have already been in many placements and this assessment will provide the clarity and the support they need.

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

One of the biggest ways to provide quality is to provide individualised feedback for assessors. This needs to be thoughtful feedback – rather than generic so it is clear and helpful for the expert. Our team is built from us all having different areas of strengths from our previous work and we are good at working together when we need help and support to get different viewpoints. Drawing on everyone else to come to some joint conclusions extends the quality service we can provide.

 – What have been your challenges during the pandemic?

I have not necessarily seen any different challenges. If anything, working from home has enabled us to concentrate more on reports. Referrals have increased though, so we have had a higher workload and had to step into other roles to support other teams. We are an ever-growing business and must always work as efficiently as possible.

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

For me, I would hope that the role is continued to be used to analyse the quality of assessors as well as reports. We know them and their work so well, so we use this knowledge to improve the service.

For the sector, I hope that in the future there is more of a collaborative approach and technology can allow this to happen. People don’t have to be physically there for the work to go ahead, and technology can support workload and quality of service for those on the frontline.

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