Meet the Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO’s) & Conference Chairs
Since 2004 all local authorities have been required to appoint Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) to protect children’s interests throughout the care planning process.
Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) were introduced to represent the interests of looked after children (LAC) following a number of cases where care plans had not been implemented, leading to harm. Their role was strengthened through the introduction of statutory guidance in April 2011
One of the most important aspects of the IROs' role is to meaningfully engage with children and to remain child-centred in everything they do. Building a relationship with children is seen as crucial in making sure the child’s needs are met and being able to ‘fight their corner’.
The independence of the IRO is essential to enable him/her to effectively challenge poor practice.
All conferences are chaired by an Independent Child Protection Conference Chair. This means they are independent of the child or young person's case and are not involved in the day to day management of social work staff. It is the Chair's job to ensure that the conference is conducted in the best interest of the child or young person.
The team of Independent Reviewing Officers (IRO's) & Conference Chairs consists of 12 highly qualified Safeguarding Managers. They are:
- David Pope - IRO
- Jackie Dykes - IRO
- Mary-Lou Pemberton - IRO
- Carla Middleton - IRO
- Jan Dryhurst -IRO
- Sharon Parr - IRO
- Anna Connelly - IRO
- Tim Mitchell - IRO
- Jenny Pickering - IRO (Fostering)
- Conference Chair - Mandy Philps
- Conference Chair - Debra Shannon
- Conference Chair - Joanne Unsworth