Looked After Children Reviews


Regulation 5 – Engaging with the Wider System to Ensure Each Child’s Needs are Met

The Care Planning Standard


Looked After Reviews, sometimes referred to as 'Statutory Reviews' are the responsibility of the Placing Authority; therefore the Community Director and staff should obtain copies of procedures from relevant authorities and assist social workers in implementing them. 

This chapter summarises the normal responsibilities of the placing authority and what steps should be taken by homes in relation to them.


Bullet point 11 in Section 2, Summary of Responsibilities was slightly updated in October 2015.


  1. Purpose of Looked After Children Reviews
  2. Summary of Responsibilities
  3. The Review

1. Purpose of Looked After Children Reviews

The purpose of the looked after children review is to examine the work undertaken with the child, ensure that adequate plans are in place to safeguard and promote the child's welfare and make recommendations or representations on behalf of the child. 

It is not the role of the Looked After Children Review to make decisions about children, that is the responsibility of the social worker.

However, where the chairperson (or another person, including the child) is concerned about delay in implementation of the Care Plan or that recommendations have not been incorporated appropriately, he or she may take this up with the relevant manager or provider. To this end the child may require assistance from an Advocate or Independent Visitor (see Advocacy and Independent Visitors Procedure). In exceptional circumstances, a review date may be brought forward.

2. Summary of Responsibilities


Looked After Children Reviews should normally be convened at the following intervals:

  • An Initial Looked After Children Review should be conducted within 20 days of the child being Looked After;
  • The 2nd Looked After Children Review should be conducted within three months of an Initial Looked After Review;
  • Subsequent Looked After Children Review should be conducted not more than six months after any previous review.

These are maximum timescales; Looked After Reviews can be convened more frequently if the urgency of the case determines they should be.

In the case of children under 5, it is good practice to review the Care Plan more frequently and, if practicable, every 3 months.

Where there is a change of placement and the circumstances are such that the Care Plan is no longer appropriate, a Review should take place if practicable within 28 days of the change.

Looked After Reviews should be brought forward where:

  • The child is, or has been, persistently absent from the placement;
  • The Home, parents or area authority are concerned that the child is at risk of harm;
  • The child so requests, unless the Independent Reviewing Officer considers that the review is not justified.
2. Looked After Children Reviews are normally chaired by an Independent Reviewing Officer; Regulations require that this person should be outside of the line management of the child's case.

Arrangements, including the setting of dates and invitations, are normally made by the Independent Reviewing Officer in consultation with the Social Worker. The Director of the Community should take all reasonable steps to be consulted.

Each authority will have its own procedures on who should be invited, but it is normal for the child, the child's parents and all key professionals involved in assisting in the implementation of the Care Plan to be invited.
4. The social worker is normally responsible for informing, consulting and preparing the child in good time before the review; but community staff should assist as far as they can in this process and should ensure that children are properly informed and prepared. To this end, the child must be encouraged to contribute to any report prepared by the home. If the child wishes, s/he should be assisted in preparing his/her own contribution.
5. Staff should be mindful that the child may wish to or may benefit from being supported by an Advocate or, if appointed, an Independent Visitor (see Advocacy and Independent Visitors Procedure). If they wish, children will be able to use their key/link worker as their advocate, but they may request an independent advocate (which should be organised by the social worker) to enable and ensure that the child or young person is though about appropriately throughout the review.
6. In time for the review, or beforehand if required, the home should arrange for an up to date Placement Plan to be available demonstrating what arrangements exist to meet the child's needs. The home should also produce a report of the work undertaken since the child's placement or the last Looked After Review. Teaching staff should produce a report of the child's educational attainments and progress.
7. The Review will consider the extent to which the aims and objectives of the Care Plan and associated Personal Education Plan (PEP) and, if relevant, Pathway Plan have been achieved. At the second and subsequent Reviews, the review must consider whether there is a suitable Permanence Plan in place.
8. It will also be necessary for the child's Placement Plan to be reviewed to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the Care and associated plans.
9. After the Review the social worker is responsible for updating and circulating the Care Plan, Personal Education Plan (PEP) and, if appropriate, the Pathway Plan. The Community Director is responsible for updating circulating the child’s Placement Plan.
10. Review decisions will be recorded and an action plan produced to address any action required. This will contain no less than the details of action, person responsible and timescales. The aims of placement will be amended as appropriate and the programme of work update.
11. The chairperson normally prepares and circulates minutes. However the home should also take notes of the meeting and ensure that action points are recorded to prevent any delay in supporting the child/young person.
12. It is the statutory responsibility of the Placing Authority to organise the review and to hold the chair. However, the Director/Registered Manager will request a review with the child or young person's local authority if one has not been arranged or is outstanding. The Director/ Registered manager will request an emergency review if it is believed to be in the best interest of the child or young person.

3. The Review

All necessary consultation will take place in advance of preparing the statutory review report which becomes part of the on-going and constant reflection of a child or young person's placement and future needs.

Review reports will be prepared and written two weeks in advance of the child or young person's review. These reports ensure that all aspects of a child or young person's life during a placement with Childhood First receive appropriate focus. The review report will be checked by the author's supervisor or line manager, or the Director/Registered Manager before distribution. The review report will be typed and we aim to distribute them to those attending the review no less than five working days ahead of the review.

Wherever possible reviews will coincide with both Looked After Reviews and annual review of educational statement.

Any copies of review reports that are unused or not required to be retained by professionals or family in attendance will be destroyed. No person will remove the review report or associated paperwork from the premises unless authorised to do so. The review report and any additional documentation will be filed in the child’s file.