An investigation of care planning and the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer
- Start date: 01 August 2012
- End date: 31 July 2014
Local authorities are ‘corporate parents’ for the children they are looking after, and effective care planning is essential for ensuring their well-being and the best possible outcomes. Since 2004 there has been a system of ‘independent reviewing officers’ (IROs) to monitor the way that local authorities implement the plans, and to ensure that the child’s wishes and feelings are fully considered. In April 2011, new government regulations and guidance came into force, which (amongst other things) strengthened the IRO’s role.
This study will:
- investigate how the new care planning regulations and guidance are being implemented;
- investigate the effectiveness of IROs for monitoring plans, promoting children's well-being, and managing their participation;
- examine overlaps and differences in the roles and responsibilities of the various individuals involved, and how disagreements are managed;
- ascertain the views of children and parents about the care planning and review process, particularly the role of the IRO.
The research will focus on four local authorities in England. It will involve a study of case files of 120 children, plus interviews with a sub-sample of social workers, IROs, parents and young people. There will also be a national survey of IROs and social work managers.