Central London Law Centre DEBT CASEWORKEER JOB DESCRIPTION This post is subject to a 3 month probation period. Central London Law Centre and Paddington Law Centre as a Consortium have been offered a social welfare law contract from the Legal Services Commission and the post of debt caseworker is being created to comply with the legal services contact and to serve the consortium. The post will be based at Central London Law Centre, 14 Irving Street, London WC2H 7AF and attending at Paddington Law Centre , 439 Harrow Road, London W10 one day a week. Job Titlle Debt Caseworker Salary £31,351(incl ILW)+5% employer contribution to stakeholder pension pro rata Hours Full time 35 hours per week. Monday to Friday 10am-5.30pm (30 minutes lunch break) Part time 17.5 hours per week In agreement with co-worker in debt unit if one in post. Holidays 35 days per year pro rata, plus 4 recess days when Law Centre closes to public between Christmas and New Year and Bank Holidays. Dates to be agreed in advance with law centre staff group. Duration Permanent post / Locum considered if available for minimum of 6 months. Evenings Occasional evening work is necessary. There is not overtime work but time off in lieu of hours worked may be taken on following relevant policy. Access to premises: There is no access for people confined to a wheelchair or unable to manage stairs. Where necessary you must be prepared to arrange alternative accessible access or make home visits. Terms and conditions of employment laid down in the Memorandum of Agreement negotiated by Unison on behalf of Law Centre workers. See also papers on Equal Opportunities and anti-oppression policies. PURPOSE OF THE POST To provide a targeted face-to face specialist money advice service to clients in accordance with the legal services commission’s contract in social welfare law and funders requirements and to meet specialist quality mark standards. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 1 CASEWORK 1.1 Providing the full range of advice activities to assist clients with debt advice and income maximisation problems, including those with multiple debts, both priority and non-priority owed to commercial and statutory creditors. 1.2 Dealing with contentious and complex debt advice problems, including mortgage and rent arrears re-possession cases, bankruptcy proceedings, and Consumer Credit Act disputes. 1.3 Preparing cases and representing clients, where appropriate, at County Court and High Court as well as assisting clients who are self-representing. 1.4 Advising on and assisting with income maximisation issues, including assisting with benefit and tax credit claims and associated problems. 1.5 Identifying other on debt/income maximisation social welfare advice needs and signposting or making referrals to other agencies where necessary. 1.6 Keeping accurate and detailed case records/files to SQM Standard. 1.7 Completing statistical information records compliant with organisational and legal services commission and funders’ requirements. 1.8 Providing outreach advice sessions and forming effective working relationships with host agencies across the region, and also undertaking home visits. 2 SUPERVISION AND SUPPORT 2.1 Participating in supervision and file review of colleagues, either within the organisation or in partner agencies. 2.2 Providing second-tier support to colleagues on request. 3 SERVICE DEVELOPMENT 3.1 Taking part in service planning activities to help ensure relevant elements of the legal services commission contract and funders’ requirements are met. 3.2 Participating in recruitment selection panels as required. 4 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 4.1 Attending relevant training courses to enhance skills levels. 4.2 Keeping up to date with all relevant current legislation and policy by reading journals etc. 4.3 Taking part in regular supervision meetings with debt worker colleague – if one in post 5 SOCIAL POLICY AND EVALUATION 5.1 Participating in social policy and evaluation activities in order to influence policy with regard to debt issues. 6 OTHER DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES RELATING TO ALL CENTRE POSTS The staff-group work as a collective and meet regularly to organise the day to day running of the whole Law Centre. Each worker is expected to participate fully in this process. The staff are accountable to the Management Committee, which is elected annually to represent the interest of users and local people, and have to comply with any requirements set by the Law Centre’s senior solicitor regarding matters of professionals standards and conduct. 6.1 Reporting regularly to the staff group and to the management committee as and when required to do so. 6.2 Attending meetings with other groups and agencies if required on behalf of the Law Centre, not necessarily on debt matters. 6.3 Participating fully on a rota basis in the Law Centre’s telephone answering and advice service including making appropriate referrals for non-debt queries. 6.4 Attending and participate in the weekly staff meetings and as required, to the monthly management committee meetings. 6.5 Participating fully in the day-to-day management tasks of running the Law Centre. 6.6 Being fully self-servicing e.g. carrying out own typing, photocopying and administrative, maintaining case records, entering statistics on databases etc. 6.7 Participating in the Law Centre’s fund-raising initiatives. 6.8 To maximise the Law Centre’s Legal Aid income subject to the Law Centre’s guidelines and work priorities. The Law Centre has a Legal Services Commission Contract and all case files must therefore be kept to contract standards. 6.9 Meeting the debt worker’s target under its LSC contract. 6.10 Reporting any concerns or allegations regarding any negligence or professional misconduct by you to the staff group and to the Law Centre’s senior solicitor. 6.11 To report any concerns about money laundering to the Law Centre’s senior solicitor and, if different, its money laundering representative. 6.12 Complying fully with the organisation’s Equal Opportunities policy/ies. 6.13 Undertaking any such other duties as may be identified and which are generally compatible with the functions of the post. PERSON SPECIFICATION ESSENTIAL ATTRIBUTTES 1. Two year’s full-time experience (or part-time equivalent) of running one’s own caseload of money advice and income maximisation cases. 2. Acting as an authorised intermediary for debt casework or be able to become an authorised intermediary within 6 months of appointment. 3. Ability to conduct debt relief orders. 4. Good numeracy/arithmetical skills. 5. Ability to write accurate case records and draft, letters reports and statements in plain English. 6. Ability to manage a caseload and prioritise work in the face of competing demands on your time. 7. Ability to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds in an impartial and courteous manner. 8. Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to respond sensitively to clients who are under pressure and negotiate with third parties in order to minimise conflict. 9. Ability and commitment to work effectively with credit industry, voluntary sector and public sector representatives at all level 10. Commitment to teamwork. 11. Ability to use initiative and to work with minimum supervision. 12. Ability to research, understand and explain complex information both orally and in writing. 13. Basic knowledge of IT including familiarity with Microsoft Office applications, e.g. Word, Outlook or equivalents. 14. Ordered approach to managing own workload, and ability to plan and prioritise activities efficiently. 15. Ability to service own administrative needs. 16. Commitment and ability to taking part in social policy, research or evaluation activities as required, e.g. by responding to surveys. 17. Understanding of and commitment to the organisation’s equal opportunities policies. 18. Commitment to undergo training and participate in other forms of professional development that will enable attainment of specialist level of skills. 19. Willingness to travel to outreach sessions within the borough and the Greater London area 20. Ability to provide appropriate supervision and support to colleagues and external partners consistent with own skills levels. DESIRABLE ATTRIBUTES 1. Experience of court representation work. 2. Recent experience of welfare benefits casework. 3. Recent experience and knowledge of other areas of social welfare law. 4. Experience of acting as Legal Services Commission Specialist level supervisor.