Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Steady as she goes?

You may or may not like the election result. However, given the fact of a Conservative victory, the re-appointment of Edward Timpson, now as Minister of State for Children and Families, is likely to be widely welcomed, because it is a wise choice. 

While I have not always agreed with Timpson – especially on the issue of privatisation of child protection – he has shown insight and understanding of the needs of children and young people and has generally adopted a cautious, constructive and thoughtful approach.

My advice to him is to concentrate on ways of encouraging small scale achievable improvements  - rather than wholesale reforms - and to encourage the development of a learning culture in which all professionals and practitioners involved in child protection can openly reflect on a day-to-day basis on how and why things go wrong and how error can be mitigated and reduced. Understanding Human Factors is the key.

Moving beyond the Serious Case Review should also be an early objective. Looking again at the issue of introducing a critical incident (or near-miss) reporting system would be an excellent way forward. The minister might like to ask his civil servants to fish out the proposal on this to his innovation initiative that I co-authored and which they unceremoniously trashed last year.