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ADCS support flexibility around dropping independent reviewing officers

The government commissioned fostering stocktake, made a series of recommendations to improve the system:

  • allowing councils to drop the role of independent reviewing officers (IROs)
  • a single social worker should supervise carers and support children in long-term foster placements¬†

Many leading children's organisations and experts have been writing to government urging it to reject them. For example, the social workers association Nagalro and the National Association of Independent Reviewing Officers have previously raised concerns that removing IROs would place vulnerable children at risk. But the ADCS said while it backs the retention of existing arrangements in relation to children having their own social worker, it is in favour of allowing councils to decide whether they retain IROs. "The report identifies three possible areas where increased flexibility could be introduced in relation to the oversight of fostering placements, these are: independent reviewing officers; dual oversight of stable placements by social workers; and, fostering panels. While we welcome the proposals, ADCS members would want to ensure that a child's right to request his/her own social worker remains in place." 

They believe that it is unlikely that all councils would opt to drop IROs but ask for flexibility to put in place arrangements that best suit local children.