Looked After Children reviews

The Looked After Children review is the child’s meeting.

Discussion between the Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) and child’s social worker should take place before the meeting to determine whom the child would like to be invited.

The review may take place in a number of parts when:

  • the child does not want people present who have information important to the review
  • it is not appropriate for a specific person to attend. 

The child's rights

Every child has a right to a support person in their review or to attend on their behalf if they wish. This can be requested by the child through their social worker or IRO.

If a child does not wish to attend or have a support person, the child can:

  • meet with the IRO separately to share their views
  • choose someone they feel comfortable with to share their views such as a social worker, other professional, carer or family member
  • receive a consultation document to complete if they wish.

Independent reviewing officer's function

The IRO is independent from the social work operational teams. Its focus is to:

  • quality assure the care planning and review process for each child
  • ensure the child's wishes and feelings are fully considered
  • effectively challenge practice.

The role of care planning and reviews are to:

  • bring together looked after children with their families, carers, and professionals
  • plan for the care of the child 
  • review that plan on a regular basis.  

Statutory function

The purpose of the first statutory review meeting is to consider the child's care plan and evaluate whether or not it meets the identified needs of the child.

Later reviews monitor the progress of the plan and decide to amend the plan when knowledge and circumstances change.

Statutory reviews must be chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer.

IROs have a statutory responsibility to:
  • oversee and monitor the progress of care planning for all looked after children
  • determine whether the care plan meets a child's needs, it is 'fair and reasonable', and it should be endorsed fully or in part
  • consult the child about their care plan at each statutory review and any time there is a significant change to the care plan.

Timing of review meetings

The Local authority is required to carry out review meetings in line with timings specified in the Regulations (regulation 33):

  • the first review of a child’s case is held within 20 working days of the date when the child becomes looked after
  • the second review is held no longer than three months after the first review
  • the third and subsequent reviews are held no longer than six months after the previous review
  • a review is whenever the IRO directs
  • for significant changes in circumstances 
  • in all other circumstances, a review is when specified by the Regulations.

A review may be called in exceptional circumstances before the statutory timescale if there are changes in the care plan that need reviewing and discussing.

A review is given before any child or young person stops being looked after.