This session was about the implementation of the Munro review recommendations and was introduced by Jeanette Pugh the safeguarding lead for the Department for Education (DfE). The government has accepted all the Munro recommendations albeit some in principle, Jeanette emphasised three key themes:
- trusting front-line professionals
- reducing bureaucracy and prescription
- being child centred.
She said that Eileen Munro was very clear that the government and others shouldn’t ‘cherry pick’ from the recommendations they had to be taken as a whole.
Jeanette then provided an update work in hand. Ofsted have consulted on their new inspection framework and will be trialling this later in the Autumn. More flexible approaches to assessment are being piloted and in resposnse to a question form Steve Richards (Sutton), Jeanette said it is expected that interim guidance will be available in December. In Government, links are being made with work on the health service reforms and the families with multiple problems initiative. Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) are training people in the systems approach to serious case reviews (SCR) but we are still waiting for this to be applied to a real SCR case.
Frankie Sulke from Lewisham contrasted the new independent review officer (IRO) guide with the intention to reduce the prescription – the point was well taken! There were questions about the new role for Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) and discussion about whether a new duty to provide early help was the right approach. Thee were no firm answers on these points, DfE were very clear they wanted to work in partnership with the sector, ‘co-production’ was the buzz word, but the clock is ticking and there is an awful lot of detail to be sorted out in the next few months before we can say the Munro principles are operating in practice.