Invited Review Service (IRS)

The Invited Review Service will support you as an NHS mental health provider or an independent sector organisation. 

Please email us, if you want to know more about the types of reviews that we offer.

We help in cases where severe difficulties have been identified which cannot be rectified by internal processes, and the circumstances don’t meet the criteria for involving the formal regulators.

Along with a final report that aligns to the agreed terms of reference, we aim to provide a number of clear and implementable recommendations to improve the quality of patient safety and care.

Examples of situations when we help

We provide independent, professional advice when concerns have been identified in the following areas:

  • Diagnostic and treatment practices
  • Concerns about a individual or team functioning 
  • Effectiveness of care planning and assessment
  • Excess serious incidents
  • Leadership
  • Complex organisational matters relating to clinical management and service delivery
  • Whistleblowing
  • Quality assurance of an internal review process
  • Assessment of governance processes

Types of review

We can carry out three types of review, depending on the context of the review :

  • Service review – in this review we provide an expert opinion in relation to concerns about a specific clinical service. This normally involves us examining documents, a site visit and meetings with relevant people in the service.

  • Individual/Team review – in this kind of review we provide an expert opinion on how a person or team is functioning. This normally involves a site visit, meetings with relevant people and examining documentation.

  • Case note review – in this type of review we provide an independent expert opinion on whether the assessment and clinical management of a patient or patients is acceptable. We assess the care provided against approved/evidence based documents such as Good Psychiatric Practice, CR154, Good Medical Practice and any other faculty specific guidance, depending on the details of the case.

We will only accept commissions for an Invited Review from the Executive Director (of Medicine, Nursing or Social Work) or Chief Executive of bodies that provide mental health care.

However, terms of reference (ToR) can be developed with less senior managers (normally medical managers).

Once the review has been commissioned and the Terms of Reference (ToR) agreed, the tasks related to organising the review can be delegated to other members of staff.

The Invited Review Service won’t conduct a review if:

  • A GMC Fitness to Practise investigation is underway

  • We do not have consent from doctors who may be subject to criticism

  • The Police or Counter Fraud service is involved

  • The Medical Director or CEO hasn’t commissioned the review

Operating principles

For more information on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges ‘Operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare’ please visit the AOMRC website.

We encourage an early confidential discussion if you’re considering commissioning an Invited Review.

The initial approach should be made via email to the IRS Programme Manager by the organisation’s Medical Director, Nursing Director or Social Work Director with the knowledge of the Chief Executive.

Once we have established the scope and timeline of the review we will help draft a terms of reference with the commissioning organisation. We believe that the identification of appropriate terms of reference is an essential element of a high-quality review.

Please email with any enquiries.

We are always open to recruit reviewers from all clinical backgrounds to be part of a review.

 If you are interested in joining the team, please email

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