Directors of children’s services are angry that the government intends to delay the move to a systems-based approach for serious case reviews (SCRs) recommended by Professor Eileen Munro in her review of child protection in England.
In its response to the Munro Review published today, the government said it would consider the evidence and opportunities for using systems review methodologies for SCRs during the second half of 2011. Tim Loughton told Community Care: “More work does need to be done on how we develop that much smarter version of serious case reviews. Eileen Munro has been critical that they don’t do the learning job we need them to do and this needs to be worked on.”
However, the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) said while some of Munro’s recommendations, such as those around training, would take time, others such as scrapping assessment timescales and changing the approach to serious case reviews could be implemented immediately and without delay. The government has promised to scrap timescales by the end of this year.
The ADCS also said the amount of prescriptive government guidance should be slashed in other areas not just for those working in child protection.
“Instructions for social workers working with children in care and in adoption and fostering services would benefit from similar revisions [recommended by Munro] in order to allow social workers to use their skills in building relationships and offering support to vulnerable young people.
“Some recommendations, such as those relating to serious case reviews, could be implemented immediately and we urge government to act quickly where this is possible. We agree that a systems methodology is a far more effective learning tool in reviewing serious cases as it allows the formulation of different, more challenging questions than the existing model and as a result yields more detailed and useful findings.”
One example of a systems-based SCR model was developed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie). The Scie model differs from traditional models in that it relies on a review team that reflects the professions involved in the case. Scie also places a stronger emphasis on the inclusion of family members and service users in the review process.
The Scie model is currently being piloted in a number of local authorities and the government said the results of these pilots will be considered in their final decision.
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