Job Title: IRM Panel Secretary (Associate)

The IRM is based in Leeds.


The Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) is a service operated by Coram Children’s Legal Centre on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education.

The IRM has between 5 and 7 panels a month all held virtually. Panels review determinations made by adoption agencies and fostering service providers that are not minded to approve applicants or propose to change or terminate their existing approval as foster carers or adopters. The maximum of 2 cases will be heard on any panel day.


To be responsible for the effective administration and accurate minuting of specific IRM review panels. You will need the ability to accurately minute complex meetings and to work within specific, non-negotiable deadlines and follow agreed processes and formats.


The Panel Secretary will be responsible to the IRM Contract Manager but will also need to develop close working relationships with the Chairs, Vice Chairs, Panel Advisers and Panel Hosts.


3.1 To read the papers associated with the hearing to ensure familiarity with the case(s).

3.2 To liaise with the Chair prior to Panel to finalise documents ready for the panel.

3.3 At the hearing, to provide a comprehensive record of each review case.

3.4 To follow the panel process as required by the IRM

3.5 To supply a set of minutes for each case to the Panel Adviser by secure email within 3 days post-panel, following the IRM minutes template and guidance.

3.6 To finalise the minutes when received from the Chair (approximately 10 days post-panel) and forward them to the IRM office promptly.


Listed below are the skills, experience, knowledge and qualities required of Panel Secretaries. They form the selection criteria for appointment.


• Excellent literacy skills.

• Experience of minuting complex meetings.

• Excellent organisational skills.

• Ability to assimilate large amounts of complex information within short timescales.

• Competent in the use of IT and email facilities.

• Experience of Virtual meetings.

• Able to work on own initiative.

• Ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines.

• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

• Reliability and a flexible approach to the job.

• An understanding of, and commitment to, equal opportunity and diversity issues.

• Able to maintain confidentiality.


• An interest in adoption and fostering issues and in developing knowledge in this area.

Basis of appointment

Please note that the position is as an associate with a fee being paid for each panel which includes preparation time/reading papers before the panel and attendance at the panel
If a Panel hearing is cancelled please note that NO fee is payable. No level of work can be guaranteed.

A secure laptop computer will be provided to each Panel Secretary that should be used solely for IRM business. Each Panel Secretary will be given a secure email account. It should be used only for IRM business and not be used to access other sites such as Facebook. The lap-top computer will remain the property of the IRM.

It will be the responsibility of the post holder to make any necessary declarations or claims to the Inland Revenue in respect of the fee(s) received and the use of equipment.
The successful applicant will be required to take out personal liability insurance before they can begin attending panels.


In completing the application form, please use the person specification as sub-headings under which to list appropriate information and examples to demonstrate/explain why you think you have the skills being sought.

To apply, please click on the 'apply now' button to be redirected to the application form.

Please note CVs will not be accepted as we only accept completed application forms.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from all sections of the community. We are committed to the safeguarding of children and will require the successful applicant to undertake an enhanced check from the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Registered charity no. 281222.

To apply...


Holly Shepherd


020 7520 0412