Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs)

Find out what Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) are and what they do.

IROs are experienced senior managers employed by the local authority. We work separately from social workers and all other professionals that looked-after children and their families have contact with.

We have a legal responsibility to make sure that the local authority is doing everything possible to meet the looked-after child or young person's needs. This includes making sure realistic plans are in place for the child’s future.

The IRO service provides an effective independent oversight of the child’s case and makes sure that the child’s interests are protected throughout the care planning process.

The IRO’s primary focus is to quality assure the care planning and review process for each child and to make sure that their current wishes and feelings are given full consideration. An effective IRO service should enable the local authority to achieve improved outcomes for children.

Care planning and reviews are about bringing together children who are looked after, their families, carers and professionals, in order to plan for the care of the child and to review that plan on a regular basis.

The care plan will contain information about how the child’s current developmental needs will be met as well as the arrangements for the current and longer term care for the child. It makes sure there is a clear plan for the child’s future to which everyone is working, including the: 

  • child
  • team around the child
  • family, where appropriate

The review process will need to monitor the progress of the plan and to make decisions to amend the plan as necessary in light of changed knowledge and circumstances. The IRO has a crucial role to play in making sure the local authority fulfils its responsibilities as a ‘corporate parent’ for all the children that it looks after.

As part of the monitoring function, the IRO service also has a duty to monitor the performance of the local authority’s function as a corporate parent and to identify any areas of poor practice. This should include identifying patterns of concern emerging, not just around individual children, but also more generally in relation to the collective experience of its looked after children of the services they receive.

The IRO service responsibilities include:

  • promoting the voice of the child
  • making sure plans for looked after children are based on a detailed and informed assessment, are up to date, effective and provide a real and genuine response to each child’s needs
  • making sure the child understands how an advocate could help and their entitlement to one offering a safeguard to prevent any ‘drift’ in care planning for looked after children and the delivery of services to them

What we do

  • Make sure looked-after children contribute to and have a copy of their 'Care Plan'
  • Make sure people involved with the child do what they say they will do without delay.
  • Keep in touch with looked-after children in between reviews where appropriate.
  • Make sure there is adequate preparation and involvement in care planning and review processes by people important to the child.
  • Make sure the looked-after child knows about their legal rights, how to make complaints, having an advocate or independent visitor.

Read Me and My World Review: A Guide for Carers and Professionals

Professional contribution

Parent and carer contributions to the reviews

IROs are always keen to ensure parent or carers have the help needed to contribute to review processes. One of the ways parents and carers can contribute is by completing our secure and confidential online forms - follow the links below. For more help or advice please contact the IRO service main number listed below. 

Child or young persons contribution to their review

IROs are always keen to get children and young people's views and for their voice to be heard.

Contact details

Independent Reviewing Officers
The Safeguarding and Review Service
Moulsecoomb Hub South
Hodshrove Lane
Brighton, BN2 4SE

IRO Service main number: 01273 295 973


Comments, compliments and complaints

You can give feedback about council services online.

Access to information

You can ask for access to recorded information that the council holds about you.

Advocacy service

You can contact the Children's Rights Service to find out more about children's and young people's rights, or to get an advocate to help a child or young person with any difficulties they are having.

Go to the Youth Advocacy Project website.