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Independent reviewing officers (IRO)

Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) are the people who chair reviews for children and young people.

What is an Independent Review Officer

An IRO is responsible for chairing a wide variety of meetings as an 'independent' person(s). IROs are seen as independent because we have a different line of management than children's care staff and other operational children's services staff. We help to monitor the quality of the service to children and their families. 

What kind of meetings do IROs chair?

Looked After Reviews to discuss the arrangements made for children who are looked after by the Local Authority, and to discuss plans for their future. Consultation and participation of young people is vital to the success of their review. The review considers the Care Plan for the young person, in consultation with family, carers and associated professionals. It has to consider all aspects of their life including health needs, education, leisure interests and contact with family.

Child Protection Conferences arranged by Children and young People's Services on behalf of the Durham Safeguarding Children Partnership to decide if a child has suffered harm and should be made subject to a child protection plan.

A child protection plan details what needs to happen to ensure the child stays safe. It is the responsibility of the Quality and Review Team to arrange and chair review child protection conferences to determine the progress of the plan and whether a plan is still appropriate.

Foster Carer Reviews are meetings that review the approval of foster carers, which happens at least once a year. It is important that an independent review is undertaken to ensure that the welfare of children is promoted and they are being kept safe from harm.

Private Fostering Reviews are the review of arrangements of children under 16 staying with a family as a private fostering arrangement.

Secure Reviews are reviews that are held to review the arrangements for children who have been placed in secure accommodation on welfare grounds.

Listening to children and young people

The service is committed to ensuring that the views of children and young people are proactively gathered and acted upon. The team has successfully achieved Investing in Children membership. We are involving a range of children and young people in our work and we have a lead IRO who is responsible for this.

Cafcass and Independent Reviewing Officer Protocol for Public Law Work

Every year Cafcass helps over 140,000 children and young people who are going through care or adoption proceedings, or whose parents have separated and are unable to agree about future arrangements for their children. Cafcass is the voice of children in the family courts and helps to ensure that children's welfare is put first during proceedings.

Cafcass is independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.  Icon for pdf Cafcass and Independent Reviewing Officer Protocol (PDF, 828.2kb)

Contact us
Quality and Review (children and adult services)
03000 268 296
Our address is:
  • Durham County Council
  • 3rd Floor
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ