An investigation of care planning and the role of the Independent Reviewing Officer

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: School of Social Work

Abstract

Over 64,000 children were looked after by local authorities in England on 31 March 2010, and during the course of the year over 88,000 were looked after at some point (excluding short-term breaks). The majority of these children come from backgrounds of adversity that include abuse and neglect and it is the legal responsibility of the local authority as a 'corporate parent', through care planning, placement and review, to ensure not only that children in their care are safe but that their developmental needs are met. This key process is the subject of this research. The project is timely in that revised regulations and statutory guidance for care planning and review have been implemented in 2011, and will have been in use for around 12 months at the point of this investigation.
Further, concerns about placement stability and outcomes for looked after children led to the introduction in 2004 of a legal requirement for looked after children (LAC) reviews to have independent chairs, called 'independent reviewing officers' (IROs). The IRO is seen as a key professional for monitoring the actions of the local authority and promoting the welfare of the child, but the service is based in local authorities, and there are long-standing concerns about its independence and effectiveness. These misgivings lie behind new statutory guidance designed to strengthen the role and ensure it contributes to significant improvement in outcomes for children (IRO Handbook, DCSF, 2010b, para 1.20). It is now required that there is a named IRO for each child, to ensure closer oversight and consistency. But despite the importance of the IRO role and some doubts about its operation, it has not been the subject of a systematic study. This research will therefore focus on the role of the IRO in administering the revised care planning and review system, and in managing children's and parents' participation in the review process.
The study will look at the planning and review process and the role of the IRO with a focus on three groups of children, representing different legal statuses under the Children Act 1989 and different planning issues:
1) Children accommodated under s20. Here, the local authority does not have parental responsibility (PR), which remains exclusively with the parent(s), but still has legal and 'corporate parenting' responsibilities to safeguard and promote the child's welfare.
2) Children during care proceedings, when the IRO's role needs to be understood alongside the role of the court and the children's guardian in the development of the care plan.
3) Children looked after under a s31 care order, when the authority shares PR with the parents, and where court-agreed plans need to be implemented and then supported through the review system.
The project will start with a review of UK and international research and literature, followed by a national survey of IROs and LAC social work managers in England. This will give the context for a detailed study of practice and inter-professional working in four local authorities. There will be a case file study in these authorities of 120 cases in total, forty from each sub-group. The researchers will gather data about the cases, including the goals and evolution of the care plan. There will then be in-depth interviews with the IRO and the social worker on a sub-sample of 60 cases - twenty from each group. Interviews will focus on the roles that each professional plays in the planning and review process. There will also be interviews with sub-samples of parents (20) and children (30) and two young people's workshops. A multi-professional focus group will be held in each of the four areas to investigate the issues further and test emerging findings.
We shall ensure maximum impact on policy and practice from the study through a dedicated project website, knowledge exchange events, feedback seminars in the participating authorities, training and publications.

Planned Impact

Who will benefit from this research?
The most important beneficiaries of the research will be children and young people in care and on the edge of care. The ultimate goal is to help policy makers, managers and practitioners improve the effectiveness of services for children for whom the state is the 'corporate parent'. Therefore further beneficiaries, alongside the children, will be birth parents and other family members; foster carers; a wide range of child and family welfare practitioners including IROs, social workers and local authority managers; Cafcass children's guardians; lawyers and judges; and government policy makers.
How will they benefit?
This research will provide new information, as well as building on and extending other recent research, to improve our understanding and operation of systems for care planning and reviewing. For the first time, there will be a detailed picture nationally and in different local areas of the operation of care planning and the role of the IRO, which will provide feedback on the new regulations and guidance, while also offering practical suggestions for improvement where this is necessary. Findings will be communicated through a range of media including a dedicated website; professional journals and conferences; the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers (NAIRO), British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, Cafcass and our networks within Making Research Count and the Centre for Research on the Child and Family (see Pathways to Impact for details).
The child is the most significant beneficiary. Because care planning involves deciding where a looked after child will live and with whom, the quality of the decision making and the child's experience of their role in the process will profoundly affect each child's current and future well-being. This is why the project focuses not only on pathways, placements and professional perceptions, but also on the child's experience of being treated with concern and respect for their need to feel effective and be involved in decisions.
For others close to the child, such as birth parents, foster carers, kinship carers and adoptive parents, the quality of the decisions made and the support provided will also be life changing. The research will give professionals information about the best ways of responding sensitively to their varied needs and roles in care planning, whilst keeping a focus on the best interests of the child.
The range of professionals involved directly in the reviewing process, including the case responsible social worker, IRO, others such as teacher or health visitor, will all benefit from a deeper understanding that clarifies professional roles, and shares strategies for dealing constructively with uncertainty and disagreements. Senior managers will appreciate clearer knowledge about the effectiveness of the planning and review system, and the role of the IRO, in order to assist in service planning.
Professionals in the family justice system (lawyers, judges and children's guardians) will benefit from greater awareness and a firmer evidence base than exists at present of the operation of the planning and review system, and the role of the IRO. The family justice system is bedevilled by mistrust and duplication of work, causing great expense and delay (FJR, 2011). Breaking this cycle will require bold action and greater trust between the different agencies and professionals, based on better understanding
Policy makers in central government will also benefit from greater knowledge of the effectiveness of the new regulations and guidance, especially regarding the independence of the IRO, and how corporate parenting decisions are made in the context of interagency responsibility for children. The Department for Education takes responsibility for the IRO service, and we shall engage with them in particular to ensure that our findings shape on-going policy and practice
 
Description Effective care planning and review are considered essential for the well-being of children in care. The role of 'independent reviewing officer' (IRO) was created in 2004 to monitor children's care plans, chair review meetings and ensure that children's wishes and feelings are fully considered. IROs are employees of the local authority, but independent of the line management of cases. On-going questions about the quality of care planning and effectiveness of IROs led to new regulations and guidance in 2011. This study investigated how care plans are made, implemented, reviewed, and if necessary changed. We gained a comprehensive picture through a case file survey (122 cases), in-depth interviews (54 social workers, 54 IROs, 15 parents and 15 young people), focus groups (four multi-professional groups and two with young people) and nationally-distributed questionnaires for IROs (65), social work team managers (46) and children's guardians (39).
1. Care planning: Care plans have to address the long-term goal for the child and the day-to-day arrangements for his/her welfare. Our study gives a detailed picture of the realities and complexities that lie beneath formal regulations and policy guidance. Some of the children and young people have very great needs, and circumstances can change quickly and unpredictably. Contact with parents or siblings is often problematic. Further, child care reviews are only one part of a complex, multi-layered and multi-agency system. Many of the 'decisions' of reviews depend on decisions made elsewhere in the local authority, other agencies or the courts, and on having the resources to implement them.
2. Involving children and parents: Our study shows the challenges and dilemmas of involving children, young people and their parents, in the review process. Heavy workloads and staff turnover often make it hard for social workers and IROs alike to know the children well. Key challenges are to promote children's participation but also protect their privacy or feelings, and ensure full discussion; and to prioritise children's rights and needs, whilst also attending to their wishes, and the views of the birth family and professionals. Young people's attendance increases with age. Some enjoyed their reviews, others found aspects uncomfortable, but almost all we spoke to thought it was important to attend. Generally, they saw their IROs as independent and influential people.
3. The role of the IRO: There have been long-standing doubts about the effective 'independence' of IROs and their ability/willingness to challenge local authority decisions and actions, notably from the courts and Ofsted. Our study gives a more nuanced picture. Difficulties or shortcomings can occur for many reasons, but on the whole IROs are able to challenge if necessary. The data gives examples. But statutory guidance makes it clear that wherever possible IROs should use informal approaches to resolve disagreements, and we found that IROs usually 'challenge' effectively through discussions with social workers, managers and others, often not recorded on the case file. Social workers saw IROs as powerful figures for monitoring progress, but also often as allies in supporting the agreed plan and arguing for necessary resources.
Exploitation Route There is considerable interest in central and local government, the social work profession, courts, lawyers, and service user groups about the quality of care and care planning, and the effectiveness of the IRO service. There has been debate about whether IROs should be located in an independent body, rather than local authorities, and whether the role is necessary and a good use of resources. We heard arguments on both sides, but overall our findings suggest that IROs are able to achieve change for children through an independent approach and collaborative working.
We have disseminated our findings through presentations at practitioner and academic conferences (as listed elsewhere), and through the publication of our full research report and a research briefing, both available free of charge on the CRCF website. We have had one paper published in a practitioner journal and one in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Our findings have been used in professional and policy-level debates about the role of the IRO (see narrative impact section).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy

URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-and-the-role-of-the-iro
 
Description The researchers have been disseminating the research findings to relevant policy makers and practitioners, as well as to academic audiences, since October 2104. A research briefing was produced for the launch conference in October 2014 and has been available online since then, along with the PowerPoint presentations from the conference. The full research report, peer reviewed, was published on the UEA CRCF website (Centre for Research on Children and Families) in October 2015. The briefing and the full report have both been circulated widely, to central and local government policy makers, local authority managers, IRO managers and practitioners, social workers and lawyers, as well as to academics. Key presentations for policy and academic impact have been to the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers, NAIRO (Oct 2014); the Association of Lawyers for Children, ALC (Nov 2014); the National Association of Guardians ad litem and Reporting Officers, NAGALRO (March 2015); participation in an experts' panel at the 2015 NAIRO conference; to IROs in Birmingham and London, 2016; papers at the EUSARF conferences in 2014 and 2016 (European Scientific Association for Residential and Foster Care) and the Social Work Research Association (2016); and at the 2017 World Congress on Family Law and Children's Rights, held in Dublin. A paper was published in the international peer-reviewed journal 'Children and Youth Services Review' in 2016, and a shorter article in the on-line journal 'Family Law Week' in 2017 (see further below).. IROs have been criticised for not being sufficiently independent and challenging of local authorities, but the core message of the research is that overall the IRO service can and does make important and effective contributions to the well-being of looked after children. There may be shortcomings in some cases, but the study also found many examples of effective, and sometimes forceful, intervention. But the effectiveness of the service needs to be seen in the context of local authority resources and decision-making structures, the services provided (or not) by other agencies, the role of the courts, and the difficulties faced by the children and their families; and also, importantly, the ambiguities and subtleties of the IROs' role and why it has evolved the way it has. Many of the challenges facing the care system are to do with shortage of resources, in local authorities and other agencies. In this context, challenge on its own may not be enough to move things forward. So the role of the IRO has developed to combine scrutiny with more collaborative ways of working (and the government guidance expects them to try informal approaches first). The contribution is more often through discussion and negotiation, and even at times direct intervention; it goes beyond the formal requirements of the statutory guidance and is much more nuanced and complex in practice. Measuring the effectiveness of IRO service by the number of formal challenges misses the significant collaborative contribution that they make. Three key policy issues for IROs have been prominent since 2014. The first concerns IROs' role in care proceedings, especially in the light of the policy drive to reduce the duration of care cases to 26 weeks; and in particular, their working relationships with children's guardians (formerly 'guardians ad litem': social workers who provide independent reports to the court, employed by an organisation known as 'Cafcass'). The study found that children's guardians had the most sceptical views about the effectiveness of IROs, compared to the other professional groups, parents and young people participating in the research. However, it also found examples of good inter-professional relationships and effective joint working to resolve problems and make better plans for children. Relationships between the two groups were undermined by preconceptions and misunderstandings. New guidelines for IROs and children's guardians to work together in care cases were published in January 2015 by Cafcass and the ADCS (Association of Directors of Children's Services). The presentations at the ALC conference in November 2014 and the NAGALRO conference in March 2015 were important opportunities to convey the research messages to lawyers and children's guardians, offering new understandings and challenging some of the preconceptions. According to the organisers of the ALC conference, the presentation there was 'very well received'. The President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, chaired the NAGALRO event. A subsequent paper in the NAGALRO professional journal, Seen and Heard, spread the messages further. We also sent a draft of the full report to the Chief Executive of Cafcass, who commented that it was 'Great work faultless and unarguable'. The second issue concerns the organisational location of the IRO service, whether it should be part of local authorities or move to a separate organisation. This was particularly prominent in 2014-15 because the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 gave the Secretary of State for Education the power to issue regulations to establish an independent IRO organisation, but this power was time-limited and expired in November 2015. There are some IROs, and others, who consider that a move to an independent organisation would be beneficial; others consider there is still sufficient room for improvement within the current organisational arrangements; and some are strongly opposed to such a change. Our research identified numerous advantages to remaining within local authorities, and we concluded that the interactive contribution of IROs would be jeopardised by separation. Some of the leading members of NAIRO have been in favour of the IRO service being removed from local authorities. Indeed, at the 2014 annual conference where we presented a summary of our research, a member of the Association's committee spoke in favour of separation, and initiated an online discussion and vote amongst the membership. The result was announced in June 2015, and was an overwhelming vote against separation. One of the national patrons of NAIRO told us that our presentation and research briefing 'had a big impact on pushing the NAIRO position to remaining within LAs'. The third aspect concerns the on-going questions about the effectiveness of the IRO service and reforms to children's services more generally. These became prominent in 2016-17, in the debates about the Children and Social Work Bill. One of the provisions in the bill created the 'freedom' for selected local authorities to be granted exemptions from certain statutory obligations for up to six years, to trial new ways of working. Some of the statutory requirements that were at stake concerned the role of the IRO. There were strong protests from some groups against these proposals for undermining children's rights and protections, although support from others. The Earl of Listowel, one of the NAIRO patrons, asked fora copy of our report to help him prepare to speak against the proposals in the House of Lords. The chair of the NAIRO trustees asked us for advice on arguing against the changes, which we gave, and she told us that the evidence in the research report was 'just what we need'. Other key social work figures, including Professor Eileen Munro, later declared their opposition to the proposals, and in March 2017 the government announced that it would withdraw them. There continue to be criticisms of the IRO service, but these are not always well-founded. Dickens, as PI for the study, continues to engage with policy makers and practitioners about the issues, trying to promote an accurate and better informed picture. Two instances are from spring 2017 and February 2018. In spring 2017 one of the leading family judges in England and Wales, Lord Justice McFarlane, gave a speech which (amongst other things) made criticisms of the IRO system. Dickens wrote a paper in the widely read on-line journal 'Family Law Week', responding to this, pointing out that the criticisms were based on an inaccurate account of the regulations and statutory guidance, and of the way that the system works in practice. The National IRO Managers Partnership circulated the paper and developed the argument on their website, and the chair of the Partnership called it 'a very good read indeed'. She also asked Dickens to advise the Partnership on undertaking a survey of IROs based on the UEA findings. Dickens did this, and this is now a quarterly survey. Second, in February 2018 the Department for Education published an independent review of foster care, led by Martin Narey, which recommended (amongst other things) the abolition of the IRO service. NAIRO launched a campaign against this, arguing 'It would appear that the report authors did not bother to look at serious research about IROs which reaches opposite conclusions. One such report is "Care planning and the role of the IRO" from the University of East Anglia', and giving a link to our report. This was circulated on Twitter and the interest gave a new lease of life to our findings, putting them at the heart of a tense policy and professional battle. It appears that the resistance was successful, at least for time being, as a year later the abolition of the IRO service appears to be off the agenda.
Sector Communities and Social Services/Policy
Impact Types Policy & public services

 
Description Influencing practitioners' views about the organisational location of the IRO service
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact 2015 was an important year for the future of the IRO service because the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 gave the Secretary of State for Education the power to issue regulations to establish an independent IRO organisation, but this power was time-limited and expired in the middle of November 2015. There are some IROs, and others, who considered that it would be beneficial to move to an independent organisation; others thought there was still sufficient room for improvement within the local authorities; and some were strongly opposed to such a change. Our research identified numerous advantages to remaining within local authorities, and we concluded that the interactive contribution of IROs would be jeopardised by separation. Some of the leading members of National Association of IROs were in favour of the IRO service being removed from local authorities. Indeed, at the 2014 annual conference where we presented a summary of our research, a member of the Association's committee spoke strongly in favour of separation, and initiated an online discussion and vote amongst the membership. The result was announced in June 2015, and was an overwhelming vote against separation. The national patron of NAIRO told us that our presentation and research briefing 'had a big impact on pushing the NAIRO position to remaining within LAs'.
 
Title Care planning and the role of the independent reviewing officer UK Data archive 
Description The database contains the transcripts of interviews with social workers, IROs, parents, and young people; transcripts of focus groups (four with professionals, two with young people); an spss data set of information from a detailed case file survey of 122 children in care; and questionnaires from three groups of professionals - social workers, team managers and children's guardians. The UK data archive reference is SN 851583. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A substantial research database, suitably anonymised, available to researchers in the future. 
URL http://reshare.ukdataservice.ac.uk/851583/
 
Description Annual conference of Association of Lawyers for Children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk sparked lively and well-informed discussion, useful information was shared and debated.

Audience reported greater understanding of role of IRO
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-an...
 
Description Challenging meetings and talking about troubles: families and professionals in statutory meetings about children 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A presentation at the 'Children's Family Troubles?' symposium, organised by the Open University and held at London South Bank University on 21st June 2013

Video-recordings of all the talks are available online (see link below)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
URL http://www.open.ac.uk/ccig/events/childrens-family-troubles-changes-and-challenges-through-diverse-l...
 
Description Feedback seminars (four events) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact This seminar (two formal talks plus discussions) presented the research findings to staff in the four local authorities where the research took place. The session took place in each authority separately - ie four times in all, in summer 2014. There was lively and well-informed discussion after each talk, which helped us to refine the 'messages for practice' from our research.

Feedback forms from attendees showed they had gained understanding about care planning and the role of the IRO.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-and...
 
Description NAIRO annual conference 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Part of an expert panel answering questions as part of the NAIRO annual conference. Lively debate about the opportunities and tensions of the IROs' role.

This was an opportunity to highlight findings from the recently published research report, and promote awareness of it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://nairo.org.uk/
 
Description Presentation at BASPCAN 2015, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This presentation was part of a symposium entitled 'Implementing new directions in care proceedings process and practice', with other papers on other aspects of social work practice and the law. This was a stimulating session which provoked good exchange of views from the audience and the other presenters.

Contacts with researchers and practitioners doing similar work in Scotland, sharing findings.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.baspcan.org.uk/congress2015.php
 
Description Presentation at EUSARF 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact A talk at the European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents Conference (EUSARF) 2014, in Copenhagen, to social work researchers and academics from Europe. Sparked a thoughtful discussion, highlighting international similarities and differences in approaches to reviewing the progress of children in care.

Positive comments form members of the audience, about the messages for their own countries.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-an...
 
Description Presentation at EUSARF 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 30 people attended the talk, which generated useful questions and discussion afterwards
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.congresoeusarf.com/eusarf2016/introduction_en_66.php
 
Description Presentation at European Social Work Research Association annual conference 2016, Lisbon. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Presentation at an international research conference, to a mixed audience of researchers and policymakers. Presentation sparked questions and discussion afterwards, and requests for further information.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.eswra.org/2016_conf.html
 
Description Presentation at NAGALRO conference March 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of key research findings relevant to the child care courts and children's guardians. Provoked an extremely lively exchange of views and experiences.

The presentation challenged the preconceptions that some members of the audience appeared to have about the role of the IRO.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-an...
 
Description Presentation to regional IROs group, on implications of recent changes to care proceedings 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Sixty IROs from across the east of England attended a regional training day, the presentation generated good discussion on the day and feedback was that it was relevant and helpful.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Presentation to regional conference of IROs in Sheffield, May 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk about the role(s) of the IROs in reviewing local authorities' plans for children and young people in care. Generated a lively discussion, feedback from conference organiser was that the audience had appreciated the positive approach.

Members of the audience, practising IROs, found the talk useful to make sense of the various (sometimes unclear) elements of their professional role.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-an...
 
Description Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Children in Public Care: the Role of Independent Reviewing Officers in England 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A presentation to a mixed groups of judges, academic and practising lawyers, children's rights activists. It generated useful questions and discussion afterwards.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://wcflcr2017.com/
 
Description Research launch conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Eighty-five delegates attended this national conference, held at Woburn House, London. Delegates came mainly from local authorities, but also central government department, professional associations, and other research bodies. Professional social work delegates included independent reviewing officers, social work team managers and Cafcass children's guardians. There were two presentations about the research findings, and then a discussion with a panel. The discussion was lively and well-informed. Comments and evaluation forms from delegates were extremely positive.

Delegates have been encouraged to think about the role of the IRO more widely than 'just' in terms of formal challenge. We are contributing our findings to on-going debates about the independence of the IRO service.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-and...
 
Description Seminar for IROs in Birmingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An invited seminar for the Birmingham Independent Reviewing Officer managers and team on 12th January at the Council House, Birmingham. The research was presented, title 'Making good decisions for children- a study of care planning and the role of the IRO' - followed by discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Seminar for IROs in Southwark, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of research findings to IROs in three London boroughs; leading to discussion about the findings and exchange of views and experiences between the practitioners from the different authorities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Talk to National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers, NAIRO 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact About 80 IROs attended the annual conference, and heard our presentation. It sparked a lively debate about the roles of the IRO and their organisational location.

NAIRO has since launched an online discussion about whether or not the IRO service should remain part of the local authorities (our conclusion, based on our data, is that it should).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-and...
 
Description Talk to local 'Resolution' conference (family lawyers) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Talk about care planning and review sparked well-informed questions and discussion

Members of the audience reported that they were better informed about the role of care reviews and functions of the IRO
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL https://www.uea.ac.uk/centre-research-child-family/child-placement/investigation-of-care-planning-an...
 
Description Workshop at BASPCAN 2015, Edinburgh 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A workshop to share experiences about involving children and young people in care, in their care planning and review meetings.

Shared experiences with practitioners and researchers in other countries, advice on how to do participative research with children and young people and increase their active participation in their reviews.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.baspcan.org.uk/congress2015.php