Munro review is being implemented on the ground, insists chief social worker

Isabelle Trowler says she has seen ‘reassuring’ evidence that many authorities are introducing new ways of working and cutting red tape

Isabelle Trowler
Isabelle Trowler, chief social worker for children

Eileen Munro’s recommendations for improving child protection services in England are being implemented at a local level despite a recent silence on the subject nationally, chief social worker Isabelle Trowler told delegates at Community Care Live yesterday.

Trowler, who is chief social worker for children and families in England, was responding to a comment from an independent social worker in the audience at Question Time, during which he said it felt like the momentum of change started by the Munro review had been lost.

He said: “The government commissioned Eileen Munro several years ago to look at ways to make social work a lot more viable for us, to free us up to go out and do our jobs properly.

“But not once today have I heard, even from the government officials, anything about her report or recommendations. What’s happening with Munro? I’ve not heard of anything being taken forward.”

Trowler replied: “Eileen’s report was very focused on the fact that we needed a whole system change, that what we’d seen in previous decades was very incremental tweaking of the system and she was advocating that we need to do things very differently.

“To my mind there are two things going on that link to Munro: one is about practice skill and knowledge, which we’ve talked about [earlier in the debate], and also the innovation work through the Department for Education.

“Some of the proposals that are coming through from a significant number of local authorities that I have seen are really reassuring.

“People are now trying to operationalise the vision that Eileen had for a different way of working: much less bureaucracy, very focused on direct work, being able to harness practice skills, supervision, etc.

“I think the innovation programme is really important, there’s a lot of money attached to it; I’m talking to local authorities and chief execs that are holding the reins on this. It’s an opportunity to radically rethink things.”

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One Response to Munro review is being implemented on the ground, insists chief social worker

  1. Dr Andrew Durham May 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Isabelle Trowler is deluded. Most Children’s Services Departments are very stretched and under resourced, and tied up in dealing day to day with what is coming through the door. This leaves very little time and scope for anything else. The Governement has only provided platitudes and a continued plethora of targets and inspection. The role of the child protection social worker is not respected or valued, and only draws attention when things go wrong.