Who Wins According to the Munro Report?
The recently completed Munro Review of the United Kingdom’s child protection system found that the “demands of bureaucracy” had become so great that the capacity of child protection organisations and their staff to work directly with children and families was being hindered. Practitioners and managers told the review that the demands of observing statutory guidelines, meeting targets and adhering to “local rules” had become so extensive that their ability to stay “child-centred” was compromised. In addition, complaints were received that, in becoming “so standardised” through the requirement to comply with these guidelines, targets and rules, UK services were no longer able to provide the range of responses needed to respond to the variety of needs with which children and families often present.
So the question is…Are these features of Queensland’s child protection system? And if so, are they features of Government child protection services only or do they also apply to non-Government services?
A while ago, a child protection practitioner commented to me that he had left his employment with a non-Government organisation to return to his former job with the Department of Communities because the non-Government organisation was now even more “bureaucratic” than the Department. What do you think this worker meant by those comments?
In response to these concerns, the Munro Review recommended a “radical shift” away from a “central prescription” of statutory guidelines, targets and rules towards helping child protection professionals to exercise “more freedom” in making use of their professional expertise in assessing need and providing the “right help”. In place of “unnecessary or unhelpful prescription”, the Munro Review recommended that this be replaced by a focus on firstly, only the “essential rules” that enable multiple agencies to work together effectively and secondly, the “principles that underpin good practice”.
Professor Munro noted that these recommended actions were necessary to move the UK child protection system away from being a “compliance culture” towards becoming a “learning culture”.
How would you describe the culture of Queensland’s child protection system – as a “compliance culture” or as a “learning culture”? Is this a description that applies to the child protection system generally or is it one that is confined to your organisation only or maybe a bit of both?
These are not easy questions to ponder and answer – they require debate. Your answers to this survey can assist us in generating the ideas that can inform this debate.
Click here to take the survey!
Lindsay Wegener – PeakCare Executive Director