Every child in the care of the City of York Council must have an allocated Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO). This is a legal requirement under s.118 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. An IRO is an experienced Social Worker employed by the Council but independent of Children’s Social Care. Their role is to have oversight of a child’s case and ensure that a child’s interests are protected throughout their time in care.
In March 2010 the IRO Handbook was issued by Government, providing Local Authorities with statutory guidance on what an IRO must do. The Handbook states that the primary role of an IRO is:
To ensure that the care plan for the child fully reflects the child’s current needs and that the actions set out in the plan are consistent with the local authority’s legal responsibilities towards the child
The Children’s Rights Director for England summarises what children should expect from their IRO:
Children have stated that IROs should listen to children, make sure that they are happy with their plans, ensure their views are heard and that their plans are kept to, and be powerful enough to do something about it if they are not. They have asked that IROs should keep in touch with each child they support between review meetings, see the child one-to-one, keep checking care on behalf of the child and explain important decisions
The Handbook gives a number of specific responsibilities to IROs. IROs in York will ensure that they do the following:
IROs in York are part of the Independent Review and Chairing Unit and are based at: