The IRM panels are set up to be independent of your agency or fostering service provider. They will consider an applicant’s suitability to adopt or foster and adoption disclosure cases.
When the panel is being convened we will ensure the independence of the review panel by not including any review panel member who is or was:
- employed in the past year by the adoption or fostering service provider who made the qualifying determination,
- who knows the applicant in a personal or professional capacity,
- or who was approved as a prospective adopter or foster carer by the agency which gave the qualifying determination.
You must tell us when you receive a list of attendees if you believe a particular review panel member should not be appointed to consider your case.
Locations of the Review Panel meeting
Review panels are held on a monthly basis as required in Birmingham, Leeds and twice a month in London. Once we receive your application we will identify the panel most suitable to consider your case, taking into account other cases needing to be heard. We will try to keep your travelling to a reasonable distance.
Members on the Review Panel
Adoption or fostering suitability cases
The panels looking at these cases will have a membership of between 5 and 8 voting members All panel members will have professional or personal experience of adoption or fostering. The make-up of the panel will depend on the type of case being heard.
Each panel will have the following
- a Chair able to hear adoption suitability or fostering cases,
- a Vice-Chair able to hear adoption suitability or fostering cases,
- Lay Members with related experience e.g. education, psychologists, children’s guardians, retired social workers,
- Panel members with personal experience of adoption or fostering and
- Social worker with specialist knowledge of either adoption or fostering.
A registered Medical Practitioner will sit as a panel member if required when there is medical information being considered.
The Panel must have a minimum of 5 voting Panel Members to be quorate.
Adoption Disclosure Cases
These panels will have 3 members who will be drawn from the main review panel membership:
- Two social workers with at least three years post qualifying experience of child care social work including direct experience in adoption work and
- Registered Medical Practitioner or Lay Members with related experience e.g. education, psychologists, children’s guardians, retired social workers, or with personal adoption experience as required by case.
The panel chair would be selected from these three panel members.
Non-voting panel members
Professional Advice will be provided to all panels on each case, this will be provided by a Professional Adviser who attends panel as a non-voting member. This person will be an experienced social worker with knowledge of both adoption and fostering legislation and practice. A Legal Adviser will also provide advice to panel regarding each case by preparing a written report for panel after reviewing the papers submitted. Finally if there is particular medical information for panel to consider a medical adviser may prepare a written report to advice panel and as already mentioned they may also attend as a voting member in some cases.
A Panel Secretary will also be present at the panel to make a record of the meeting in order to enable minutes of the meeting to be circulated within 12 working days after panel.