If a Local Authority is looking after a child (whether or not the child is in their care), it must appoint an Independent Reviewing Officer (IRO) for that child's case.
From 1 April 2011, the role of the IRO is extended, and there are two separate aspects: chairing a child's Looked After Review, and monitoring a child's case on an ongoing basis. As part of the monitoring function, the IRO also has a duty to identify any areas of poor practice, including general concerns around service delivery (not just around individual children).
IRO's must be qualified social workers and, whilst they can be employees of the local authority, they must not have line management responsibility for the child's case. Independent Reviewing Officers who chair Adoption Reviews must have relevant experience of adoption work.