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.
March 28th, 2015
There is sometimes a lack of clarity about what’s meant by participation – it is often confused with consultation.
Participation is the process by which children and young people can proactively influence decision-making and bring about change. This could involve children and young people influencing decisions about their own lives for example children being supported by their IRO to have their say about their care plan, or it could mean a young person influencing the development and implementation of service delivery.
Consultation involves children and young people being asked for their opinions. This includes asking their opinions on various suggested options, or retrospective satisfaction surveys and evaluation exercises.
IROs can actively promote children and young people’s participation and in a variety of way – the following examples of best practice are not exhaustive:
Recruiting and selecting staff – read a testimony from a young person on the interview panel to appointment an IRO.
Peer mentoring and training – read about the Do You Know? training developed by children and young people
Planning, co-running and contributing to reviews – read about child-centred reviews
Being on forums or councils that lead to change – read about children and young people’s involvement in the work of a Children in Care Council
Consultation and involvement – read about the children and young people’s consultation toolkit
Influencing important decisions about the future – read about children and young people’s contribution to their child-friendly care plan
Children and young people have the right to be involved in the decisions which affect them as individuals. Local authorities must take steps to ascertain the views of young people and to take them into account in making decisions about services and activities for them, in line with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). They should establish and maintain structured arrangements for doing so.
To inform continuous improvement, these arrangements should enable young people to report on the quality and accessibility of provision. As appropriate they should also be involved actively in service design, delivery and governance. Young people should receive the support they need to participate and IROs should bring to senior managers attention any shortfalls in meeting this fundamental entitlement.
Our ambition to enable all children in care and care leavers to have the opportunity to participate in decisions which affect their lives is driven by the belief that the process of participation brings about many benefits for the organisation of services and contributes to improved outcomes for children in care and care leavers through: