Munro says ICS can create more problems than it solves

Professor Eileen Munro has described the development of the integrated children’s system (ICS) as a good example of a “failure to learn” and added that many systems in councils actually made errors more likely, rather than less likely, to occur.

Munro’s second interim report, published today, stated that while the problems with ICS have been widely acknowledged, determining a single solution would be very difficult.

“It is unlikely that any one-size-fits-all model of adaptation will be possible because of the different team configurations, service structures and interoperability issues in localities,” her report said.

Munro said there was also the serious issue of post-implementation support for authorities with no in-house ICT expertise if software adaptation were undertaken outside of the supplier contracts. She also highlighted that any change to ICS systems would also be dependent on changes to Ofsted inspection criteria.

The report proposes that  the ICS could, in future, incorporate a variety of media such as digital videos and photographs.Munro said full use of these options could provide “additional and meaningful information to the child” and significantly improve upon what is available with paper documents.

She said there had also been considerable enthusiasm in evidence submitted to her review for reinstating family files while preserving individual children’s files within them.

Munro’s report recommends that local authorities audit their own ICS to see:

● how easily the child’s story can be extracted from the system;

● how efficient their frontline workers feel their systems to be (how time consuming their individual systems are);

● how easily it provides the information they need to inform decision making and clear next steps; and

● how effectively the existing system record what help has been provided to the child and family and what impact this has had on the child’s safety and well-being

More from the second interim report

Social workers should be working more closely with universal services

Munro wants unannounced inspections for all children’s services

Munro looks to health sector for SCR inspiration

Social work management role should be split

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Related articles:

Special report on the Munro review

Munro’s ICS proposal ‘unrealistic’, says expert

Munro should not consider cost, says Loughton

Gove’s axe falls on £15m allocated for ICS improvement

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