The government’s review of child protection, led by Eileen Munro, professor of social work at the London School of Economics, will look at early intervention and transparency as well as at slashing bureaucracy and improving inspections.
Munro, who will lead a panel of experts, said she hoped her work would build on that of Moira Gibb’s Social Work Task Force.
She has agreed to come up with solutions in early intervention, trusting frontline social workers and improving transparency and accountability.
Within early intervention she will look at:
● How the interaction between social work teams and universal services can be improved.
● How Sure Start centres and children’s centres can ensure at-risk families are identified effectively.
● The barriers to consistently good social work practice.
● How other agencies can better help.
Within the area of trusting frontline social workers she will examine:
● How regulation can be simplified and bureaucracy reduced.
● How targets have got in the way of good practice.
● How recording of cases can support the work of professionals.
● How social workers can be given greater professional freedom.
● What can be learned from other countries.
● How poorly performing areas be brought up to the standard of the best.
● Best practice in information-sharing between councils.
Within the area of transparency and accountability the government wants her to consider:
● How more transparency in the system might be achieved to build greater public confidence.
● How serious case reviews can be strengthened and what can be learned from other sectors in this area.
● How risk can be managed so there isn’t a blame culture.
● How inspection can be improved.
● How the system can champion professionals to increase their status.
Children’s minister Tim Loughton said that “for too long now social workers have raised concerns about the amount of time they spend on paperwork and how it takes away from the time they have to spend with children and families which are in desperate need of support”.
Professor Munro is expected to report back within six months.
Tim Loughton and Eileen Munro discuss the review with social workers: