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Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO)

An independent reviewing officer’s role is to make sure that children’s services are meeting the child’s needs. Every looked after child must have an independent reviewing officer.

The independent reviewing officer must be a registered social worker. They should have at least five years’ experience. Independent reviewing officers work for children’s services. However, they are independent of the management of the social worker who works with the child and family.

Their main duties are to:

The independent reviewing officer should promote the voice of the child. They must make sure that the child’s wishes and feelings are known and taken into account.

The independent reviewing officer has responsibility to challenge poor social work practice and to resolve problems in the care planning process. Each local authority is required to have a dispute resolution process for the independent reviewing officer to raise concerns with senior managers. Dispute resolution should take no longer than 20 working days. Should the dispute not be resolved, the independent reviewing officer has the power to refer the matter to Cafcass.

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