The Department for Education has published research into the recommendation of the Munro Review to reduce statutory guidance on children’s safeguarding, in order to promote local autonomy and increase the scope for practitioners to exercise their professional judgement. Proposed measures included removing the distinction between initial and core (in-depth) assessments and associated (fixed statutory) timescales for their completion.
The research was carried out by the Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC), which evaluated the impact that the more flexible assessment practices being tested by the eight trial authorities (Westminster, Knowsley, Cumbria, Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Islington) have had on practice and service responses to safeguard children from harm.
The research concluded that:
"The vast majority of social workers and managers were in favour of the single assessment process and perceived that a return to the distinction between initial and core assessments and rigid enforcement of statutory timescales would be a retrograde step. However, delay and drift is an ever present danger in the context of competing demands at the front door. In this context a notional upper time limit for initial visits to see the child and for the completion of single assessments was welcomed by professionals. Early supervisory input is also critical to establish a realistic and child-centred timescale for the completion of a proportionate assessment."CWRC's report can be found here. There is also a news story on Community Care.