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What you do if you fail your panel

There is a mechanism in place if your fail your panel and you want to appeal the decision it is called the IRM - The Independent Review Mechanism

The IRM is operated by BAAF (British Association for Adoption and Fostering) on behalf of the Secretary of State (Department of Education)

You should be given information about the Independent Review Mechanism at an early stage of your assessment. 

If you are in the unfortunate position of disagreeing with your adoption agencies decision regarding your assessment (eg. if they have failed you) you are able to appeal against this decision through an independent body.

You adoption agency will appoint a Link Person who will liaise with the IRM office if your case is put before them. All correspondence will then take place between  the link person and IRM staff.

The IRM office is based in Leeds and is staffed by a small team. The Contract Manager is supported by Kathryn Richardson (Social Worker), Helen Isabella Ferguson (Administrator) and Julie Jennison (Administrator). All the administration for the IRM Panels is dealt with by the IRM office. Your enquiry will be directed to Barbara Hutchinson or Sushila de Sousa.

If your case goes to the IRM then your agency has to pay the IRM a fee. From 1 April 2012 this fee is £2540. The balance of the cost of the review will be covered by the Department of Education.

About the IRM

The IRM started operation in April 2004, to provide adoption applicants in England with the option of applying to an independent body to review the adoption agency's decision not to approve them as adopters, or to withdraw their approval.


The IRM review panels are not courts or tribunals

It is an independant body that reviews all the information about your case and the decisions made by the adoption agency and they make a new recommendation having considered all the relevant information with a fresh eye. Their recommendation must be taken into account by the adoption agency or fostering service provider when making their final decision.  The IRM is to give you confidence through the process to know that there is another source of recourse if things go wrong with your agency.

The IRM staff welcome enquiries from people considering applying to the IRM  and who wish to discuss their options:
 Contract Manager,
Independent Review Mechanism (IRM)
Unit 4,
Pavilion Business Park,
Royds Hall Road,
LS12 6AJ

Tel No: 0845 450 39560845 450 3956 (charged at local rate)
Fax: 0845 450 3957


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