East End Hamlets recognised in national review of child protection

THE head of an independent review into child protection in England called for an end to a tick-box culture today when she visited the East End, saying paperwork was at risk of replacing proper social care.

Professor Eileen Munro visited Tower Hamlets Overland Centre in Bow this morning (Tuesday) with Tim Loughton, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, to study care services at first hand.

Prof Munro said: “The development of bureaucracy was done with very good intentions. It’s a matter of when it gets too much, it gets out of balance.

“I think the anxiety around missing a case of child abuse has distorted things.

“People have got over-controlling all the way down the system. They think, ‘If you can control it more, we can make children safer’, whereas in fact it is doing the opposite.”

The Munro Review of Child Protection was created after a number of high-profile cases in recent years that have highlighted failings in the protection of young people.

It recognises Tower Hamlets council as ‘an example of innovation, transformation and good practice’ in the field of children’s social care.

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Entitled The Children’s Journey, the review looks in depth at the way authorities support a child’s journey – from when they first need help, to when they receive it.

Highlighting the constraints often experienced by the professionals working most closely with vulnerable children, the review emphasises the need for reducing bureaucracy, placing families at the centre of assessments, and greater multi-agency working.

Speaking at the launch, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “We are honoured to have been involved in such a high profile report, especially since it highlights the core values that all of our social workers adhere to.”

Tower Hamlets council’s Corporate Director for Children, Schools and Families Isobel Cattermole said: “Our Family Well Being Model has enabled us to look differently at social care in Tower Hamlets, ensuring that we take a solution focused approach to how we work with each family.

“Involving families throughout their journey with us enables us to understand the intricacies of each case, providing the best outcomes for children.”

Commissioned by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, this review is the second following the publication of an initial report in June 2010.

The final report will be published by Professor Munro in April 2011.