The Department of Education recently asked the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre to carry out a study into the work of 8 local authorities which are piloting recommendations laid out in the Munro Review. The changes in working relate to the reduction of statutory guidance on children’s safeguarding in order to allow councils and practitioners greater freedom to decide how they conduct their work.
The study found that giving councils more control over child protection assessments may encourage delays in processing cases. Although some changes had been welcomed by social workers and had led to more family visits, there were mixed views about the benefits of streamlined assessments.
Evidence was also found that the lack of clear deadlines meant that some cases would have been closed quickly before the changes but were now being kept open longer thereby possibly leading to delays in more urgent cases.
Warnings were also given that a less rigid format of single assessments could mean that social workers would need more time to complete assessments.