Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) are amongst the first social work professionals to be identified as superfluous to achieving good outcomes for looked after children and young people by the proponents of the Children & Social Work Bill.

North Yorkshire and Hampshire have both asked to be exempted from legislation relating to IROs
On 11th July Lord Nash informed the House of Lords that in North Yorkshire there are just over 400 children in care but there are only 20 children on average who would require regular in depth reviews if the authority was granted exemption from the law in relation to reviews and IROs.

Hansard Quote:

For example, in the case of independent reviewing officers, children have fed back to our partner in practice authorities that they do not like additional people who they do not know to be present at their case reviews discussing intimate information. More specifically, in the case of North Yorkshire, just over 400 children and young people are looked after. The vast majority are very settled and achieving well. Older young people in this position tell the authority that they find regular formal reviews unsettling and that they would like to be treated like their non-looked-after peers. There is then a much smaller number, on average 20, who are not currently settled and require regular in-depth reviews. This is one area in which a request for use of the power to innovate may well be made to make more effective use of the experienced cohort of independent officers.

Hampshire County Council have asked for exemptions to be made to allow fewer reviews to be held for looked after children and for the role of Reviewing Officer to be carried out by non social work qualified professionals.

Have IROs or IRO Managers in Hampshire and North Yorkshire been asked for their view of what impact this will have on the most vulnerable children in these areas?

Jacki Rothwell
Chair of Trustees NAIRO