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A summary of the Munro review of child protection: progress report: moving towards a child centred system

NSPCC briefing


July 2012

This briefing summarises the key points from The Munro review of child protection: progress report: moving towards a child centred system.  The report looks at areas of progress since the 2011 review and identifies areas in need of greater attention.

 


The Munro review of child protection: progress report: moving towards a child centred system (2012) provides an overview of developments one year on from the publication of Professor Eileen Munro's review of the English child protection system (Munro, 2011). The report identifies areas where change has already taken place, but emphasises the need for faster progress. Some of the developments and areas in need of greater attention are outlined below.

Key updates

  • The revision and reduction of statutory guidance, such as Working together to safeguard children (HM Government, 2010) and Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families (DH, 2000), has been agreed, but is not yet in place due to the need for consultation.
  • Until new guidance is published local authorities are either unwilling to introduce reforms in case plans change, or unable to fully implement reforms without the freedoms new guidance will give them.
  • The new role of Chief Social Worker is being advertised. It should allow for the coordination of approaches at a national level to prevent local variations resulting in inter-authority incompatibilities. The Chief Social Worker will also advise government and challenge on professional development.
  • The local authorities currently trialling exemption from statutory timescales have found it frees professionals to focus on the quality of their work, but also increases the responsibility on managers to monitor timeliness.
  • Ofsted's revised framework for inspection of local authorities (Ofsted 2012) was introduced in April 2012 focusing on the impact of services on children and their families. Ofsted is now developing a multi-agency inspection framework to focus on cooperation between services.
  • Work is taking place on developing the skills of social work professionals. The Social Work Reform Board and its future successor the College of Social Work have a number of plans in place to improve both initial education and continuing professional development.
  • Local authorities have started to recruit their own Principal Child and Family Social Workers (PCFSW). The role is designed to ensure that a senior manager in each LA will still be directly involved in frontline services.
  • Local learning is being encouraged through peer review.
  • At the case level, case management analysis and improved consultation with children is encouraging learning.
  • The Government has produced new data requirements expressed as performance information as opposed to indicators or targets.
  • The Learning Together to Safeguard Children (SCIE) model is being developed by Social Care Institute for Excellence, and an increasing number of LSCBS are adopting its systems approach to learning from serious incidents.
  • Provision of "early help" is improving through better interagency working.  Examples of areas where improvements have been reported are given in the report.
  • Social care departments are implementing a number of reforms, including: promoting reflexive practice, changing supervision systems, using motivational interviewing, using evidence-based interventions, improving feedback to professionals making referrals to children's social care, and using the Signs of Safety and Reclaiming Social Work approaches.

Conclusions

In Munro's conclusion she:

  • warns against the "cherry-picking" of recommendations, and emphasises the need for a systematic culture change
  • acknowledges the challenges posed by the widespread restructuring of services and funding cuts
  • stresses that current changes offer an opportunity for massive and permanent change, but it is down to local authorities to implement changes in the spirit intended by the review
  • and underlines the importance of moving away from a blame culture and towards an acceptance of uncertainty and risk, allowing local authorities the confidence to develop their own approaches to child protection.

Read: The Munro review of child protection: progress report: moving towards a child centred system (PDF).

References

Department of Health (DH), Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) and Home Office (2000) Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families (PDF). London: The Stationery Office (TSO).

Fish, S., Munro, E., & Bairstow, S. (2008) Learning Together to Safeguard Children. London: SCIE.

Her Majesty's Government (2010) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). Nottingham: DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) Publications.

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

Munro, Eileen (2012) The Munro review of child protection: progress report: moving towards a child centred system (PDF). [London]: Department for Education (DfE).

Ofsted (2012) Framework for the inspection of local authority arrangements for the protection of children (PDF). Manchester: Ofsted.


 

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