Government forced to defend ‘slow progress’ on Munro

The Department for Education's head of safeguarding defended the government's progress on implementing Eileen Munro's recommendations

Tim Loughton revealed Munro's progress report would be published in weeks
Tim Loughton revealed Munro's progress report would be published in weeks

The government has been forced to defend its ‘slow progress’ on implementing Eileen Munro’s recommendations, amid warnings that social workers are becoming ‘disillusioned’ with the lack of activity.

Delegates at Community Care Live yesterday questioned the Department for Education’s head of safeguarding Jeanette Pugh, with one social worker telling Pugh he and colleagues felt “disillusioned” and asking how she would appraise the government’s progress.

Pugh hit back, saying she disagreed with accusations that progress had been slow and believed Eileen Munro’s progress report would make that clear.

“I disagree that progress isn’t happening and you’ll see in Eileen Munro’s report that there is a lot of innovation going on around the country,” Pugh said.

“We are looking at changing the whole system and of course we’d always like to move quickly but I think we have made good progress…and the overall climate and tone of the debate has changed considerably.”

She continued: “You will always hear our ministers talk in a supportive and encouraging way about frontline social work and I think that is as important as changing statutory guidance. But we also want to create a framework that gives people the freedom to innovate.”

Social workers have previously spoken of their frustration at the length of time it has taken for Eileen Munro’s recommendations to be implemented – such as scrapping statutory assessments and timescales for councils – and her progress report published.

Pugh said the government needs to “keep going and accelerate the pace as much as we possibly can”, confirming the imminent publication of Munro’s progress report.

Speaking at Community Care Live on Wednesday, children’s minister Tim Loughton said the government would publish an “unadulterated” version of Munro’s progress “in a week or so”, followed by the public consultation on the proposed revisions to Working Together.

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