The looked after review is an important part of the process in ensuring that the needs of any child who is looked after by the Department are met. It is therefore important that you are well prepared for the review with the care plan and other relevant documents up to date.

Reviews are deliberately child centred meetings, as they form a part of the continual planning process for the child. The child should therefore be involved in as many decisions as possible about the meeting, including the date, time, venue, agenda and who should be invited.

Review meetings should be at a time convenient for the child, for example they should not miss school or a health appointment, and should take place in a setting where the child feels comfortable and relaxed.

Reviews must take place at regular intervals, as opposed to planning meetings which are held as and when necessary, and also when any significant change is proposed for the child (e.g. change of placement, return home). They can also be bought forward if there are concerns for the child's welfare or where requested by another person and the independent reviewing officer (RO) agrees.

The review will consider the care plan, health plan, personal education plan and, where applicable, the pathway plan as well as ensuring that the day to day needs of the child are being met.

Reviews are an opportunity to celebrate the success of the child or young person.  They are not to become a forum for professionals to debate their differences.

Reviews are a process, not simply a meeting.  This process should include information gathering, consultation and planning.  This should commence between one and eight weeks before the review meeting and conclude two weeks after it.


Who should attend a review?


As stated above, where age allows the child should be involved in deciding who should attend the review. The child should always be present where possible, and disability or communication need should not prevent this. Others include parents (where appropriate), carers, carer's social worker and an advocacy worker (if the child wishes).

Other professionals should add to the review via written report or prior consultation with the social worker.  The child's agreement is required for them to attend the review meeting.  There may be others who the child would like to be involved via the meeting or in consultation with the social worker.

Overall the numbers should be kept as low as possible.

Any decision not to invite parents should only be made in exceptional circumstances and with the agreement of the RO.

If a parent does not attend the review for any reason, they should be given the opportunity for feedback from the social worker or RO.



What if the child does not want to attend their review?


This is the child's right as such meetings can be very daunting. In such situations the RO must arrange to see the child before the review to get their views about the care they are receiving. It is therefore advisable to contact the RO as soon as it comes to light that the child is unlikely to attend their review.



Supporters and advocacy workers


Both children and parents are entitled to bring a person with them to provide support, however if the person is a supporter they need to be told that they are not entitled to contribute to the review unless explicitly asked. Advocates can support children and parents, however this should be notified to the RO in advance so a decision can be made as to whether a legal representative from the Department should also be at the review.  The child should also be properly informed of any sensitive material to be discussed as this may influence the choice of friend or supporter.

In the case of advocates, the RO and social worker should discuss with the child and / or parents whether one would be helpful and necessary arrangements made.


Records of reviews


Within 5 working days of a review the RO should provide written confirmation of all the decisions / recommendations made in the review.

This should then be followed up by a comprehensive set of minutes within 20 working days of the review.

Copies of both documents should be sent to all parties with thought being given as to who is getting a copy. For example if a young child is getting a copy will they understand the wording that is used? If parents are getting a copy is there a need (as there may be in exceptional circumstances) to remove details about the address of the placement?

If parents have not attended the review, there should be a discussion between the RO and social worker as to whether it is in the child's interests for the parents to see the full minutes or a summary. If the latter then a decision is required as to what information should be included.



TaskResponsible OfficerRecordTimescale
Inform  reviewing officer that the child has become looked afterSocial workerComputerOn the day the child is looked after
Inform the child's schoolSocial workerComputerOn the day the child is looked after
Child's name entered onto LAC  Reviewing Officer data baseIRO adminComputerOn the day the child is looked after
Ensure other relevant agencies are informedSocial workerComputerWithin 10 working days
Book first review to be held within one month of the child being looked afterSocial workerComputerWithin 5 working days of the child being looked after
For all reviews complete invitation sheetSocial workerReview invite form15 working days prior to review
Invite people on invitation list to the review and send out consultation papersAdminComputer10 working days prior to review
Inform child of review date and discuss purpose and content of review  Ensure child has consultation document and that the child has identified who would assist the child to complete the document if requiredSocial WorkerComputerWithin 15 working days of review
Speak to reviewing officer to discuss case and agendaSocial workerComputer10 working days prior to review
Consult with all relevant agencies regarding the child's needs.  Wherever possible or appropriate consult with the young person and their family regarding the young person's needs.Social workerComputer10 working days prior to review
Consider all LAC dimensions in part one of the LAC review of arrangements report.Social workerComputer10 working days prior to review
Send copy of part one of the LAC review of arrangements report to the reviewing officer.Social workerComputer5 working days prior to review
Hold 1st review, set date for next review within 3 more monthsReviewing OfficerComputerDate of next review to be held within 12 weeks.
Complete part two of the report and task it to the team manager for signing off of the reviewReviewing officerComputerWithin 10 working days of review
Manager to task Admin to send review report to relevant peopleTeam admin.ComputerWithin 28 days of review
Subsequent reviews to be held on date agreed at previous review, within 3 months of the date of the first review and 6 months of those thereafter.Social WorkerComputerWithin 3 months of 1st Review and 6 months of those thereafter.