Call us on: 0845 450 3956
Call us on: 0845 450 3956

What is the IRM?

What is the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)?

The IRM started operation in April 2004, providing adoption applicants in England with the option of applying to an independent body to review the adoption agency's determination not to approve them as adopters or to withdraw their approval. It is operated by Coram Children's Legal Centre on behalf of the Department for Education.

Since April 1st 2009 this service was expanded to include consideration of fostering cases. This enabled the option of an independent review of the qualifying determination where a fostering service provider proposes not to approve prospective foster carers or to withdraw or change the terms of an existing foster carer’s approval. 

It will also consider applications from people applying to receive information from adoption records (where the adoption agency has made a determination not to accept their application or to disclose or withhold information against the wishes of the person to whom the information relates).

The IRM review the qualifying determinations made by an adoption agency or a fostering service provider and make a new recommendation having considered all the relevant information afresh. The IRM do not make the final decision this is down to the fostering provider or adoption agency but the IRM’s recommendation must be taken into account when the Agency Decision Maker (ADM) makes their decision.

The IRM produces an annual report for every financial year to publish any statistical information and trends that have been noticed. Please see the Latest Results section on our Home page to read the published annual reports.

IRM Staff

The IRM office is based in Leeds and is staffed by a small team. The Contract Manager is Maureen O'Loughlin and she is supported by Kathryn Richardson (Social Worker), Karen Lazenby (Administrator), Julie Jennison (Administrator) and Damian Whittle (Admin Assistant). All the administration for the IRM Panels is dealt with by the IRM office.

The IRM staff welcome enquiries from people considering applying to the IRM who wish to discuss their options or from agency staff wanting to know more about how we operate. Please contact us using the following details.

Contract Manager
Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)
Unit 4 Pavilion Business Park
Royds Hall Road

LS12 6AJ

Tel No: 0845 450 3956 (charged at local rate) or 0113 2022080

Fax: 0845 450 3957 or 0113 2637414



Please note:  The IRM telephone line is open from 9am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and from 9am to 1.30pm on Thursday and Friday.