Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

The appointment of an independent reviewing officer (IRO) by the local authority for every child in care is a legal requirement under Section 118 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002.

IROs make an important contribution to the goal of significantly improving outcomes for looked after children. Their primary focus is to quality assure the care planning process for each child, and to ensure that his/her current wishes and feelings are given full consideration.

In March 2010 the Government issued new statutory guidance for local authorities and independent reviewing officers on care planning and reviewing arrangements for looked after children. The IRO handbook provides guidance to IROs about how they should discharge their distinct responsibilities to looked after children. It also provides guidance to local authorities on their strategic and managerial responsibilities in establishing an effective IRO service. The aim is to give all looked after children the support and services that each one requires to enable them to reach their potential.

Placement stability is a key part of ensuring that care is a positive experience for looked after children. It helps to ensure that they are offered the same opportunities as other children and that they have the individual support necessary to reach their potential. The local authority with responsibility for the child's care must respond to any recommendations made by the IRO.

During each care planning and review service cycle, the IRO service will have personal contact with all children in the authority's care. If you would like to contact the IRO assigned to a child in your school – please contact the IRO service in the local authority responsible for their care.  For Surrey children in care please contact the Surrey Safeguarding Unit on 01372 833537.