Each council will have a chief child protection social worker if a key recommendation from Eileen Munro’s final report is taken up by the government.
Called a principal social worker, this role would take lead responsibility for practice in the local authority. They would, however, also be actively involved in the frontline, reporting those views and experiences to all levels of management to inform local authority decision-making processes.
The presence of this practitioner, Munro said, would lead to a better understanding of how senior management decisions impact on frontline social work.
Munro’s final report on England’s child protection system is published today. In it she also calls for a national chief social worker. The report said the national figure should cover both children and adults’ social services in order to recognise “the interconnectedness of issues facing children and families as well as not unintentionally dividing the social work profession”.
In an interview before the report launch, Munro told Community Care: “That national chief social worker would have the network of principal social workers as a voice of practice. What I want to build up is the voice of practice, not the voice of management, which seems to have been dominant in the sector”:
The report also emphasised the importance of keeping systems and procedures local rather than relying on top-down instruction from the national government.
Munro pointed to the integrated children’s system (ICS) as a prime example of an aspect of child protection that needed to be designed locally:
The government has yet to give a formal response to the review’s recommendations. Munro has put pressure on the question of funding by insisting her report be accepted in full, leaving no option for cherry-picking recommendations to save on costs:
To receive live updates of other recommendations within Munro’s report follow @ComCareChildren on Twitter.