The Munro Review of Child Protection recommended reducing statutory guidance on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children 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.
Between March and September 2011 the Secretary of State for Education issued formal directions to eight local authorities (Westminster, Knowsley, Cumbria, Hackney, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth and Islington) to test more flexible assessment practices.
The Childhood Wellbeing Research Centre (CWRC) was commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to undertake a piece of rapid response work between April and July 2012 to independently evaluate the effect that the flexibilities granted to the trial authorities have had on practice and service responses to safeguard children from harm.
A mixed methodology was adopted to investigate the effectiveness of conflating the initial and core assessments into one assessment and the possible effect of the local determination of timescales for assessments and when the initial child protection conference should be held following a strategy discussion?