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Independent Review of HCC Foster Carers


The IRT will review Hertfordshire County Council ("HCC") approved foster carer's in accordance with National Minimum Standards (2011) ("NMS").

The Review will ensure consistency and equality of service to Children Looked After ("CLA").

HCC is committed to providing the best quality of care to all CLA ensuring that Hertfordshire County Council approved Foster Carers meet the required Standard of NMS (2011) and the Induction Standards of the Children's Workforce.


This chapter was revised and updated in August 2016.

1. IRO Reviews

A review should be chaired by IRO:

  1. When a Foster Carer has been the subject of any S47 investigation the outcome of which has been concluded, an independent review will be completed and presented to Panel. The review meeting should take place within 28 days of the conclusion of the investigation;
  2. When a Foster Carer has been the subject of internal or external complaint in relation to practice or when Foster Carers have made a complaint in respect of the Fostering Service;
  3. Following a disruption of a matched long-term placement. The review will occur in two separate parts, firstly meeting with Foster Carer and SSW prior to the formal disruption meeting at week 12. The review will be concluded following the disruption meeting and a report prepared by IRO and presented to the Fostering Panel: (The IRO will attend the disruption meeting);
  4. All 1st annual reviews of mainstream foster carers subject to capacity. If IRO's do not have capacity to undertake a 1st annual review they will undertake the third. IRO's will not be expected to present 1st annual reviews to foster panel unless considered necessary;
  5. All 1st annual reviews of the level three Foster Carers approved and supervised by ARC SSW's. IRO's will also complete an overview of every annual review of level three carers and refer the review to panel if necessary;
  6. Shared Care professional foster carers as point 5 above;
  7. All 1st reviews of family and friends carers;
  8. Supported Lodgings carers who are approved under Fostering Regulations are also subject to the review process and any concerns referred to the IRO in accordance with these procedures;
  9. Sample of First Reviews to provide an overview for purposes of quality assurance for the Fostering Service and IRT;
  10. Where the Fostering Service manager considers that an Independent Review is required.

2. Referrals

  1. Sec 47 Reviews to be referred to IRT/IRO by Team manager/LADO. IRO's are copied in to GEM minutes of any allegations against foster carers;
  2. Complaints to be referred by Fostering Team manager/IRT - manager;
  3. First reviews to be referred by Fostering Team Manager;
  4. Any other reviews to be referred by Fostering Service and discussed with IRO.

3. Pre Meeting

  1. Referral to IRO;
  2. IRO will allocate and make contact with SSW to discuss the issues, timescales and set review meeting date;
  3. SSW to request a panel date;
  4. SSW to send IRO all review paperwork at least 1 working week before the review meeting. This should include a completed report from SSW to include their analysis of the carer's ability to meet required standard of competency;
  5. The IRO will identify key areas to explore during or prior to the review meeting and identify any missing reports/information and seek clarification;
  6. It is the responsibility of the IRO to identify any additional work that may be required to be undertaken prior to the review and to seek the additional information through SSW or their manager;
  7. The IRO will view all paper and electronic files relating to the approved foster carers, and if necessary the electronic files pertaining to the children and young people placed;
  8. In all cases IRO's will offer to meet separately with Foster Carers if requested.

4. Review Meeting

Purpose of meeting (Helen Cosis Brown CoramBAAF 2011) is for the IRO, Foster Carers, SSW to evaluate and appraise the quality of care that has been undertaken in the designated review period).

5. The Review

  • Evaluate the effect on CLA and family, the impact of any changes or significant events to the Foster Carers circumstances or to the composition of their household;
  • Quality of direct care offered by the Foster Carer to each child looked after within the designated review period;
  • Where a Foster Carer has their own, including adult children, living within the home or who have significant contact or involvement, the impact of fostering on them;
  • Consider any allegations, complaints implication for continued approval;
  • The review will also consider and evaluate the areas identified as part of NMS and from the information contained within the SSW report the following:
    • Support Network;
    • Quality of Foster Carer working relationship with SSW and other professional;
    • Ability to work with Birth families;
    • Training and personal development;
    • Target from previous review and matters identified in previous Foster Panel Minutes;
    • Identify areas of strength, vulnerability and future development.

6. IRO Report

The purpose of the IRO Report is to present an overview and analysis drawn from the reports provided by Fostering Service and Review meeting.

The document number is CS00221F15.

The Report of IRO will:

  • Evaluate the quality of Foster Carers abilities in accordance with regulatory framework;
  • Address any identified specific matters with the SSW or FPS practice;
  • Address any specific matters arising from the review (i.e. allegation/complaint);
  • Analysis of information obtained and overview providing a balanced evaluation of the quality of Foster Carers practice;
  • Set out clear targets and recommendation for Foster Carer, SSW and FPS;
  • Recommendation of the IRO including continued approval, terms of approval with consideration for evidence and rationale when making the recommendation and/or any additional recommendation which may be included. The report may also recommend de-registration or that no further child be placed if any identified matters remain unresolved;
  • The completed IRO report (separate to SSW report) will be completed within an agreed time specified and agreed by all parties;
  • When IRO report is received by FS Administrator the SSW and manager, it should be checked for factual inaccuracies which are to be agreed by IRO and collated with the review paperwork, copy should be sent to Foster Carers with an agreed time frame for comments and signed by FC, SSW, manager and be submitted by Fostering Administrator to FS Panel.

Trix procedures

Only valid for 48hrs