NAIRO has consistently challenged changes which have been proposed by Government to reduce the statutory responsibilities since 2016. Our concern has been the impact that such changes could have for the needs and rights and well-being of children and young people in care.
The Social Care Review
NAIRO has released a report for the government review of children’s social care. Here is a link to the report. The report argues that the role of the IRO is essential to protect the rights and welfare of children in care and makes robust recommendations for the strengthening and improvement of the service. In particular, the report makes recommendations for improving the strategic influence of the service developing and protecting its independence, and strengthening the capacity for effective challenge when this is needed.
Care Review – Case for Change
First report of the independent review of Children’s Social Care.
The review team have published the first report which summarises their findings to date in regard to the matters to be addressed.
The report poses a number of questions for consideration and consultation. You can see the two versions of the Case for Change below:
EUSS Awareness for IROs Presentation
Deadline: 30th June 2021
Time is running out !
What every IRO needs to know about the E.U settlement scheme
Click link here to watch presentation.
NAIRO’s previous research and policy work
- See Nairo’s response to the consultation here The Adoption and Children (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (Statutory Instrument 445). Response of NAIRO to consultation.
- The Children’s Rights Charity Article 39 applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the Coronavirus Amendment regulations as above – Article 39 Legal Action
Court agrees that lost safeguards are fundamental to children’s protection, but finds that the Department for Education acted lawfully due to the pandemic.
See the details here.
Members can view the findings of NAIRO’s benchmarking survey in the members area
HISTORY OF NAIRO’s CAMPAIGNING WORK
- Children and Social Work Act 2017
The bill was presented to parliament in 2016 and included clauses to exempt Local Authorities from some statutory duties. NAIRO’s concern was that the clauses posed a threat to the rights of children and young people in care. This was because the crucial role of the IRO in ensuring that the local authority fulfils its responsibilities to children and young people in care, could be reduced or removed.
Campaigning by charities and others in the sector led by Article 39 and supported by NAIRO led to the minister dropping the exemption clauses.
- Foster care in England Report Narey and Owers 2017
Recommendation 7 stated that
“there is little to recommend the IRO role and (we) believe that local authorities should be allowed to dispense with the role reinvesting savings in front line staffing “.
In the context that the remit of this report was about foster care this recommendation came as a surprise to the sector. NAIRO expressed its strong concern about this recommendation and questioned the evidence base for it. Lobbying and campaigning took place, with the outcome that the Minister rejected this recommendation in his formal response to the report:
“Where IROs are valued and listened to, they provide a legitimate and respected challenge function for individual children’s care plans and the wider service delivery.
We will work with organisations representing Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and LAs to consider how the role of IROs can be put to best effect in the current system and under existing legislation.” Subsequently the Government invited suggestions from the sector as to how the effectiveness of the IRO function could be improved. NAIRO consulted with the IRO network and sent its response.
New publications that are relevant for IROs
Publication of the President’s Public Law Working Group (PLWG) report. Click here to view
Research and developments
- Article 39 wins case for Children’s rights at the Court of Appeal. The judgement concluded that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson acted unlawfully in removing safeguards for children in care. https://article39.org.uk/news/
- Study revealing the role of Social workers during the pandemic. Click link here
- Young people leaving care, practitioners and the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic: experiences, support, and lessons for the future. See recent research here
- Children’s Commissioner highlights broken market for residential care. See research here
- Below is a link to the view from the President’s chambers published. https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/sir-andrew-mcfarlane-view-from-the-presidents-chambers-november-2020/
- Care review to be launched as soon as possible