Voluntary Employment Specialist
Volunteer Role: Employment Caseworker/ Specialist
For over 55 years Citizens Advice Basingstoke has provided support to those in need in our local community. With our help, individuals and families have been able to keep food on the table, remain safe and warm in their homes, and feel secure in their jobs.
The Employment Caseworker/ Specialist will provide support and practical help for members of the public in all aspects of employment issues including understanding the relevant employment law, assisting with the grievance procedure, completing an ET1, compiling and managing the bundle and, where possible, representing at tribunal.
In order to undertake this voluntary position, we envisage that you would need to donate at least one day per week in the role
Responsibilities and Duties:
- Gather sufficient information to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem
Maintain client’s involvement in decision making at all stages of the case
Advise the client of their rights in Employment Law and options for enforcing them
Assess the strength of a case, the chances of success of different strategies and reassess these in the light of the facts and possible arguments in opposition
Negotiate settlements, including drafting of binding compromise agreement
Handle the preparation of a case for an Employment Tribunal.
Keep up to date with case law, policy, practice and trends in enquiries
Work within Citizens Advice Basingstoke's agreed level and quality of service to clients
Advise on, and assist in, the enforcement of awards, consulting money advice specialists where appropriate
Advise on the rights of review and appeal making referrals to solicitors where appropriate
There are no formal qualifications required for this role. However, we envisage that you will have a proven understanding of Employment Law most probably demonstrated by a working background within the legal profession, trade union, a related statutory organisation or in education.
The journey to becoming an Employment Caseworker/ Specialist by a current volunteer:
"Having obtained a B.Sc. in Physics back in 1961 I then worked as Patent Examiner in the Patent Office. The office paid for me to read for the Bar and I became a barrister in 1975, but never practised as a barrister. I continued to work in the Patent Office and was involved in Trade Union representation as a lay officer. I became Chairman of my union branch. I became interested in employment law through representing colleagues at disciplinary hearings. When I was compulsorily retired in 2000 at age 60, I volunteered as a Citizens Advice Adviser, whilst studying for a Masters Degree in Employment Law.
In 2002 Citizens Advice Basingstoke had 4 Employment Specialists, most of these had trade union experience. This was great for comparing notes and sharing problems. For tribunal representation we relied on trainee barristers, but this option ceased, so I began to represent clients myself at employment tribunals.
Hampshire has an Employment Advisers Forum, meeting 3 or 4 times a year, which is great for sharing experiences, and for training.
Citizens Advice Central Office also runs training sessions for Advisers in London, twice a year, as well as providing a helpline for Advisers.
My main reward in doing this is obtaining compensation for employees who have been treated wrongly by their employers. This is immensely satisfying. Although Basingstoke has many excellent Employment Lawyers, very few workers can afford their fees. I have always been willing to take on cases with a reasonable chance, whilst advising against action where I see no reasonable chance of success.
I have always valued the support provided by the Basingstoke office, including the session advisers, reception, clerical, admin and, of course, trainers. When clients offer a gift, I suggest biscuits or chocolates that can be shared around, whilst pointing out that we are a charity".
Citizens Advice value diversity, promote equality and challenge discrimination. We encourage and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds