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Inter-agency Referral Discussion (IRD)

An Inter-agency Referral Discussion (IRD) is the start of the formal interagency process which allows for information to be gathered and shared in order to inform decision making as to whether or not a child or unborn child is in need of protection, or may be exposed to current or future risk.

The IRD is initiated when social work, police or health has received information or a referral which indicates a sharing of concerns is required to assess the safety and wellbeing of a child, unborn child or young person and appropriate action needs to be taken in response. Normally the information received will indicate a high level of vulnerability and it falls into the category of a child protection concern or a referral. It may be a new concern about an existing case, a new referral or in response to an accumulation of concerns.

The IRD is the first stage in the formal process of joint assessment in child protection and the purpose is to facilitate information sharing, critical analysis of risk and joint decision making.

The IRD is therefore an information sharing, assessment and joint decision-making mechanism in relation to a child, unborn child or young person about whom there is a significant concern. Any siblings of that child or young person and any other child or relevant adult closely linked to the child in question should also considered as part of the IRD.

Where a child is of school age, Social Work have the responsibility to consult with Education as part of the information gathering; however if this information is not immediately available, this should not delay the IRD. There may be circumstances where Education are invited to participate in IRDs as appropriate.


Inter Agency Referral Discussion Guidance 2020 (PDF) [277KB] (opens new window)