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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Invited Review Service  



Invited Review ServiceThe Invited Review Service (IRS) of the Royal College of Psychiatrists was previously known as the External Clinical Advisory Service, (ECAS). It has been developed to support NHS and independent sector provider organisations by conducting robust, transparent and objective reviews in response to concerns about the professional performance of individual psychiatrists and the functioning of local services.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is not a regulator, but seeks to improve standards of care. The IRS contributes this objective. The purpose of reviews is to offer recommendations to resolve concerns. This includes remediation where appropriate, including changes to management processes.


The Registrar has appointed Professor Rob Poole as Specialist Adviser to lead the service. A group of senior psychiatrists have been trained in investigation. These experienced reviewers lead review teams, the composition of which varies according to the nature of the concerns under investigation. Reviews are subject to rigorous quality control. 



The Invited Review Service undertakes tasks that fall into three main categories:


  • Individual/Team review – the largest number of requests fall into this category. The IRS provide an expert opinion about individual or team functioning by visiting the work place, examining records and policies, interviewing clinicians, managers and, where appropriate, service users and carers.
  • Service review – the IRS offers an expert opinion where an organisation believes that part or all of a service is dysfunctional. Reviews are based upon site visits and interviews. Reports emphasise the identification of achievable changes to resolve problems, rather than apportioning blame.
  • Case note review – Case note reviews should normally be conducted as an internal audit within provider organisations. The IRS will provide expert quality assurance of these internal processes, but case note reviews are not the preferred method of assessing difficulties.

The IRS will consider other forms of review on a case-by-case basis.


The IRS does not provide reviewers to participate in internal process such as provider organisation serious incident reviews. 

How to contact us

The IRS encourages early confidential discussion where an Independent Review is under consideration. The initial approach should be made to the IRS manager, Lucille Shackleton, by the organisation’s Medical Director with the knowledge of the Chief Executive.  Where an alternative process is more appropriate the IRS will advise and assist. 


Please use the contact details below.  Professor Poole and will help draft terms of reference for individual reviews. We believe that identification of appropriate terms of reference is an essential element of a high quality review. 



Phone: 020 3701 2583

Interested in becoming a Member of an Invited Review Team?

From time to time the IRS recruits and trains clinicians to lead reviews. If you have an interest in the work of the IRS, and you are a Consultant Psychiatrist of at least five years standing, who is a Member or Fellow of the College, then please click here for further information on the role. 

 If you remain interested after viewing this information, then please contact Lucille Shackleton.



October 2013

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