Specialist Project Officer - Secondment / Fixed Term Contract - Working for Essex
Salary: Up to £37,613 per annum
Closing date: 05 Jul 2022
Location: Chelmsford
Hours: Full-time
Req ID: 7936
Role: Social Care
About the role

Specialist Project Officer - Secondment / Fixed Term Contract

Secondment, Full Time

Up to £37,613 per annum

Location: Chelmsford

Working Style: Fixed-base worker

Please note that this position is being offered as a 12 month secondment / 12 month Fixed Term Contract. 

Here in Essex, we continue to raise the bar about practice and our investment in our workforce is second to none. It’s an exciting time to join us. Not only have we been named Outstanding by Ofsted, we are delighted and at the same time humbled to have been crowned Social Work Employer of the Year for the second time in the last three years!

The Opportunity

Children and Families is recognised as a service in which social work can develop and prosper, with a culture of collaboration, integrity and compassion; promoting the development and wellbeing of children, young people and their families; protecting them from neglect and abuse. Working together with partners delivering a range of early help, family support and effective social work interventions which build resilience, remove barriers and enable children and young people to look forward to a brighter future.

The Specialist Project Officer is part of the Professional Standards and Audits Service (PSAS). The role leads on the coordination of Children & Families Audit and Inspection Programme within a busy service.

The role is responsible for co-ordinating and maintaining the delivery of a busy audit and inspection portfolio to a consistently excellent standard; which requires being highly organised to co-ordinate and aggregate large amounts of data, develop dashboards, and produce reports efficiently to meet deadlines, and confident presentation skills. With a sound understanding of Childrens Services, the postholder represents the function, building credible, influential relationships with senior leaders both internally and externally.

As the lead for inspection activity for Children’s Social Care, you will co-ordinate and organise the service for all inspection activity and support key liaison persons in delivering effective and efficient inspection activities. You will liaise with managers across the function and with other stakeholders to ensure the service has all the necessary documentation, data and other preparatory work to ensure we remain ‘Ofsted ready’.


  • Responsible for managing the development and implementation of audit processes; creating and maintaining audit service plans/practice guidance in order to sustain and improve standards to provide an outstanding service.
  • Responsible for leading on the co-ordination of Children and Families/Multi-Agency Case Audit work, including maintaining healthy compliance levels and encouraging strong engagement; building relationships with teams and multi-agency partners through effective, regular and reliable communication.
  • Lead on collating audit data to ensure efficiency, evaluating information, developing dashboards, and producing reports and data analysis for senior managers through to frontline practitioners; identifying key themes and sharing findings with key partners and following up and measuring impact of the work to ensure the best overall outcome for all parties.
  • Assist with the preparation and dissemination of audit findings through learning bulletins, digital platforms, workshops and presentations to support the raising of practice standards.
  • Responsible for initiating, developing/innovating and completing audit projects in an accessible, user friendly and impactful way.
  • Responsible for researching new audit topics, using appropriate methods, in order to respond efficiently to emerging organisation priorities where the co-ordination of audit activity is required for focused pieces of work or improvement work that is being undertaken.
  • Oversees the ongoing co-ordination of the Inspection portfolio for Essex Children and Families
  • Provides up to date knowledge and guidance to the organisation on statutory inspection frameworks for Childrens Social Care
  • Development of plans to ensure the service is well prepared for any statutory inspection activity, minimising risk and keeping the service ‘ever ready’ for inspections and annual engagement activity with Ofsted through ongoing preparation and liaison with colleagues across the Authority.
  • Engaging and preparing senior and frontline staff for the inspection experience (including managing their own and others' anxieties)
  • Lead triangulation, analysis and reporting of learning from inspection activity, locally, regionally and nationally to drive improvement supported by , developing presentations and workshops

The Experience You Will Bring

  • Educated to degree level or equivalent by experience with evidence of continuing professional development and expert knowledge in relevant professional area.
  • Experience of successfully providing project delivery or programme support.
  • Good operational knowledge and experience within children and families’ services and across partner agencies and stakeholders, and interest in inspection framework activity
  • An understanding of the role of Quality Assurance and the use of data to deliver outcomes within this area of work
  • Proven experience of delivering public services in a complex, multi-agency environment.
  • Experience of working in a political environment with skills in understanding and responding to different and/or cross organisational perspectives.
  • Strong data management and analysis skills.
  • Advanced theoretical and working knowledge of IT programmes (including Excel and Visio) with strong report writing and organisational skills.
  • Proven experience of survey design and analysis with knowledge and understanding of the design and use of digital platforms.
  • Effective communicator able to build good relationships with a range of colleagues and stakeholders; assertive in communications with the ability to persuade, influence and negotiate effectively.
  • Uses initiative and judgement and decision-making skills in providing quality assurance to the work undertaken for customers.
  • Proven ability to work flexibly, be proactive and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Works well under pressure with a high level of emotional resilience, able to work and respond at pace.

The Specialist Project Officer needs to be confident and skilled in engaging and communicating with all staff and managers in Children’s and Family Services, and the complex and large multi-agency group. The role requires high emotional intelligence and political awareness. The Specialist Project Officer needs to develop and sustain professional relationships with a diverse group of staff and managers. The politically sensitive nature of the material gathered, analysed and shared needs to be managed with high awareness of risk and impact.

To read more about us please visit: https://www.workingforessex.com/role/children-families

Please take a look at our ‘No Magic’ Children & Families video here

Please note that the job role requires you to be mobile throughout an operational area. Therefore, the post holder will need to have a driving licence and access to a vehicle, or the ability to meet the mobility requirements of the role through other means.

Why Essex?

Essex County Council has a location to be proud of. Our 1,300 square miles stretch from Constable Country to the Thames Estuary, from the dynamic M11 corridor to the traditional seaside resorts of Clacton and Walton. England’s oldest town, Colchester, and two of its newest – Basildon and Harlow – are right here. Along with the City of Chelmsford, the county town, they form our major population centres. It means real choice and makes Essex the ideal place for your career. Read more about us here.

Essex County Council is proud to offer an excellent benefits package to all its employees. More information can be found here pay and reward

To view our Organisational Behaviours information please follow this link.

As part of employment with Essex County Council (ECC) should your role require a DBS check you will be required to register with the DBS update service. The DBS update service ensures all registered DBS certificates are kept up to date and allows authorised parties to view the status of your certificate. This is an annual subscription, and you will be responsible for ensuring this is maintained. For further information on the DBS update service please go to https://www.gov.uk/dbs-update-service

Essex County Council is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and vulnerable adults, and expects all employees and volunteers to share this commitment.

If you would like to be kept up to date on other relevant opportunities, blogs, news, events and industry related news at Essex County Council, please join The Essex Talent Community here .

If you have queries on this role or require anything further, please email resourcing.team@essex.gov.uk