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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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How to protect children better

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Meg Munn MP recently chaired a meeting of the Child Protection All-Party Parliamentary Group on the work of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) and their role in the child protection system. They heard from Professor Eileen Munro, Maggie Blyth, director of the Association of Independent LSCBs, Simon Kearey from the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and Graham Archer from the Department for Education.

Professor Munro expressed concern that there is a widespread view that all children can be protected all of the time. In reality, social workers work with uncertainty, managing risk in order to make intelligent decisions.  This fact has to be recognized; automatically blaming social workers when things go wrong makes it hard to recruit to the profession. Simon Kearey echoed the importance of taking a balanced view about how social care is doing, identifying good practice as well as failings.

Maggie Blyth spoke about the importance of multi agency working, and ensuring that appropriate resources as well as expertise are available to Local Safeguarding Children Boards. She highlighted that Ofsted’s report on neglect reinforced this method of working, along with the importance of wider oversight.

Graham Archer, a child protection professional from the Department for Education, identified the problem of variable performance by LSCBs. This included wide variation in the quality of Serious Case Reviews following a child’s death.

The general discussion included questions as to whether local boards have the right powers, and if there is sufficient coordination between government departments. The arrangements concerning publication of Serious Case Reviews were discussed, and how their quality could be improved.

Meg said:

"It became clear through discussion that MPs can find it difficult to hold local agencies to account for their contribution to child protection work due to the complexity of the system. It was agreed that the All-Party Group will examine how that might be improved by providing better information to MPs."

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