Bradford employs 10 'Independent Reviewing Officers'.
They are part of a system of checks and monitoring that makes sure that Children in Care are well looked after. Children in Care are seen as one of the most vulnerable groups of children. History suggests they need special attention. We try to give that.
We have over 900 such children in Bradford’s care. They are of all ages up to 18, some are on Orders, some are cared for in agreement with parents. Most are placed with Foster Carers, but a large group actually live within their families. Some are placed outside of Bradford, a small number are living outside of England.
The law says that, wherever they are, their Care Plan must be 'Reviewed' on a regular basis. This has to be at least every 6 months. The Review has to make sure they still need to be in care and on an Order. It has to check that those involved are trying to give the very best care possible and that their links with their family (if they are separated) are as good as they can be.
Each child has a specially appointed person to do this. This will be one of the 10 'Independent Reviewing Officers'. The Reviewing Officer team is quite separate from the Social Workers and their Managers and can ask any questions necessary.
Firstly the Reviewing Officers will bring together information from everybody to find out how the child is doing and what to do next. This is then brought to a meeting when it is hoped all will be there to discuss this.
Most important amongst these people is the child. The child can come to the meeting if they want and can bring someone to help them. They can also choose to send their views in writing or have someone to come and talk on their behalf. Views will also be asked from carers, parents and other 'professionals' involved (such as teachers)
A meeting takes place at a time and place as convenient as possible. The Social worker will start by suggesting what the Plan is for the child and what part everyone will play in that. There will be a discussion and finally the Reviewing Officer will bring things together and list what needs to be done. The notes of what has happened will be sent to everyone as soon as possible after the meeting.
The Reviewing Officer should be kept aware of progress on the things that need doing and be taking action if there are problems in keeping the promises made at the meeting.