The National IRO Manager Partnership has produced this free e-magazine to support the work of its members. It offers professional news; good practice highlights; reflections on topical policy matters and links to articles to support continuous professional development as a IRO.
Published: May 22, 2015
Courtesy of Sharon Martin, Vice Chair National IRO Partnership, Chair South East Region and IRO Manager for Brighton and Hove Safeguarding and Review Service.
IROs have a critical role to support children to have their voices heard. This needs to happen at the child’s pace with workers able to tailor their approach to the meet the child’s communication needs and attachment style. It requires commitment by the corporate parent, the local authority, to make sure workers have the time and space necessary to work at the child’s pace.
Part of the IRO’s role is to make sure that the child is given information in a child-friendly way so the child is helped over time, to develop a coherent narrative about their life history and care journey. We sometimes find that hard-pressed social workers lack the time necessary to achieve this, so part of our work involves a support as well as a challenge function to make sure children have a tailored response attuned to their specific needs …
Encouraging children and young people to talk about their plans, and to feedback about the delivery of services and decisions affecting their lives, helps children build in confidence. We believe it also leads to better planning and child-centred outcomes. Children should expect to take an active part in care planning at all stages of their care journey – as a fundamental entitlement …
It’s important that IROs and social workers have a variety of tools available to help communicate with children. For younger children, this might include toys, coloured pencils and flashcards; for young people, tools might include diaries, cameras and creative arts. For disabled children with more complex communication needs the use of DVDs can really support their involvement in the process and result in a real celebration of the child’s progress and achievements.
IROs in Brighton and Hove developed the child-friendly care plan to support social workers ability to get children more actively involved in their care planning and review process so children are more able to express their views and wishes. The process of creating it is fun and can help build trust, confidence and pride …
IROs take account of the child’s views as part of an approach to child-centred planning and review processes. They try to make sure that children feel ready for review and know what to expect.
Click here to see an example of a child-friendly care plan.