Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Good news from Munro

Eileen Munro’s review seems to be developing on the right lines. On the BBC’s Today programme this morning she told John Humphrys that more rules do not make children safer and that social workers trying to protect children are often distracted by filling forms and following procedures. She argued that professionals should be spending more time working directly with children, trying to understand how they feel and what they want to happen.

These are conclusions with which it is difficult to disagree. Child protection social work must be child centred. And procedures need to support good practice, not impede it. There is mounting evidence that huge procedural manuals and data driven recording systems, such as ICS, are obstacles to getting the job done and barriers to meeting children's needs.

The BBC also reports that Munro believes that formal time scales can distract social workers from making sound decisions. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-12323806)

Again this is good common sense. Completing an assessment before some vital piece of information can be made available is actually a waste of time – because the assessment may have to be revisited. Holding a child protection conference on a date within the required timescales, but on which key participants are not available to attend, is equally counter-productive.