Saturday, 10 August 2013

Is the Munro Review being forgotten?

In the wake of the Daniel Pelka tragedy Bridget Robb, the Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), is quoted by Hayley Meachin as saying that child protection social workers are still not spending enough of their working days seeing children, rather than dealing with paperwork. She adds:

"If all your time is spent preparing for inspections, how can you possibly be expected to improve your practice?"

"… the needs of children are being lost in a target-driven culture; this makes us wonder if the good work proposed by Munro is simply being swept aside."

I agree. It seems to me that there is precious little evidence of much substantial progress on the Munro reforms. If the Government believes that it is enough simply to abridge the Working Together guidance, then I fear that they did not really understand what Munro was saying.

There are no signs of major changes in working practices designed to simplify processes and to abandon local procedural manuals.  Indeed the new Working Together opened the floodgates to creating local procedures at the same time as the national guidance was foreshortened, with what I regard as foolish, and possibly dangerous, talk of ‘local assessment frameworks’.

The Government needs to take stock of where it is on Munro. If her good work is, as Bridget Robb suggests, being swept aside, at least we should be told.

Ministers should be aware that talking the talk while not walking the walk is a role fit only for hypocrites.