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A summary of the government's response to the Munro report

NSPCC briefing

July 2011

Related resources


The child protection system in the UK (factsheet)

Safeguarding children: a shared responsibility

Child protection training 

Serious case reviews

A summary of the Munro progress report

This briefing highlights some of the key points from A child-centred system: the government's response to the Munro review of child protection (DfE, 2011).

In June 2010 the Secretary of State for Education asked Professor Eileen Munro to conduct a review of the child protection system in England. 

In May 2011 her findings were published as The Munro review of child protection: final report: a child-centred system (Murno, 2011). 

In July 2011 the Department for Education published the government's response to Professor Munro’s report addressing her 4 reform themes and 15 recommendations.

Overall response

The government agrees with Professor Munro that the system has become too focused on compliance with rules and procedures and has lost its focus on the needs and experiences of children and young people. It is also agreed that her recommendations need to be considered in the round and in partnership with other services.

Valuing professional expertise (theme 1; recommendations 1, 2, 3 and 4)

Government agrees that professional practice has been driven too much by compliance with regulation and rules. They will oversee a reduction in the amount of regulation, and revise the statutory framework to place greater emphasis on the value of direct work with children and their families, and for more evidence based practice.

Performance information will be used more intelligently. External inspection will focus on the effectiveness of help provided, and children and families' experiences, and will be conducted on an unannounced basis.

Government will try to capitalise on opportunities for existing IT systems to be used to improve information sharing in child protection practice.

Sharing responsibility for the provision of early help (theme 2; recommendations 8, 10 and 13)

Government will work with partners to create change in how local agencies coordinate their work in order to maximise existing resources and increase the number of preventive services offered. Local arrangements will be more transparent, meaning professionals will be better placed to act when they have cause for concern.

The report notes that early intervention for teenagers will be given the same importance as for young children, and a non ring-fenced early intervention grant has been made available.

Developing social work expertise and supporting effective social work practice (theme 3; recommendations 11, 12, 14 and 15)

Government agrees social workers should be more concerned with the effectiveness of help provided rather than compliance with procedures. The need to improve the knowledge, skills and expertise of social workers throughout their career, from training to continuing professional development (CPD) is recognised.

Government will work with the Social Work Reform Board (SWRB) to incorporate the development of specific capabilities necessary for child and family social work into the professional capabilities framework (Social Work Task Force, [2010]).

From 2012 these capabilities will explicitly inform social work training, professional development and performance appraisal. The need for a career path allowing for ongoing work with children and families and a stronger voice for practitioners in management and government is acknowledged.

Strengthening accountabilities and creating a learning system (theme 4; recommendations 5, 6, 7 and 9)

Government agrees that multi-agency working is critical for accurate needs assessment and provision of the right help, and that clear lines of accountability are vital.

The child protection system will need to become better at monitoring, learning and adapting, and to this end government propose to work towards revising the statutory guidance on the role of the Director of Children's Services and the Lead Member for children's services and to consider the methodology used by local safeguarding children's boards (LSCBs) when serious case reviews are undertaken.

Better dissemination of local good practice will be explored.

Serious case reviews (recommendation 9)

All of the recommendations are agreed, or agreed in principle, apart from recommendation 9 which states that LSCBs should use systems methodology when undertaking serious case reviews (SCRs) to:

  • help develop a "typology of the problems that contribute to adverse outcomes"
  • and disseminate learning nationally to improve practice. 
In the meantime, Ofsted’s evaluation of SCRs should end.

Government intend to consider this recommendation further during late 2011, and work with the sector to consider evidence and opportunities for using systems review methodologies for SCRs. Consideration will also be given to ending the evaluation of SCRs in their current form.


Department for Education (DfE) (2011) A child-centred system: the government's response to the Munro review of child protection (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Munro, Eileen (2011) The Munro review of child protection: final report: a child-centred system (PDF). [Norwich]: The Stationery Office (TSO).

Social Work Task Force ([2010]) Proposed professional capabilities framework for social workers (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Related NSPCC resources

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The child protection system in the UK (factsheet)
Child protection legislation in the UK (factsheet)
Answers to frequently asked questions about child protection in the UK.

Child protection training
We offer a range of courses and bespoke training on all aspects of safeguarding across the spectrum of child protection.

Safeguarding children: a shared responsibility
A training pack for anyone whose work brings them into contact with children and families.

Serious case reviews
Our pages on the case reviews of child deaths and serious injury collating guidance, research reports and a list of published case reviews.

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