Action for Children backs Munro report
The charity Action for Children has welcomed recommendations on child protection but said many social workers still feel powerless to intervene to stop abuse or neglect.
Today Professor Eileen Munro published details of progress, following the publication of her Government-commissioned review of the child protection system.
She said a "culture change" was underway in the child protection system but outlined an urgent need to now accelerate reforms to create a more child-centred system.
Shaun Kelly, Head of Safeguarding at Action for Children said:
"Recent research from Action for Children has revealed that over half of social workers feel powerless to intervene when they suspect a child is being neglected.
"Social workers must be given the space and time to fully assess a child's needs and identify the tailored support required, and we therefore welcome the Government's progress in empowering social workers to exercise professional judgement and take more flexible approaches to assessment.
"It is disappointing, however, that Professor Munro's recommendation to introduce a statutory duty for local authorities to provide an "early offer of help" has not yet been taken up.
"Professionals have told us there are not enough services to offer help to all children at risk of, or experiencing, neglect at an early stage. It is vital that the Government works with Local Authorities to increase family support services that intervene early and prevent harm to children.
"We know that the current balance of statutory duties upon authorities leaves very little room for the commissioning of early intervention family support, particularly with local budgets so stretched."
Professor Monro said that while reforms had reached a "watershed moment", the process now needs to move faster with more prescription and bureaucracy stripped away so social workers are able to focus on giving children and young people the help they need.
"I believe there are many front line managers and social workers who now have the confidence to exercise their judgment and provide effective help, based on the individual needs of a child," she said.
"However, I am concerned there are also some who are uncertain how to do this and I hope the examples of good practice that I have included in this report will lead further change."