Abstract for: Reviewing Child Protection in England

This paper gives an account of how causal loop diagramming was used in ‘the Munro Review’, a high-profile examination of child protection activities in England, conducted for the Department for Education. The activities constituting ‘child protection’ and the circumstances that led to the Munro Review are outlined. Two examples of the use of CLDs are then considered: the visualisation of how a ‘compliance culture’ had grown up and, via group model building, the creation of a large, complex CLD of current operations. The paper continues by describing how this work was then used to give structure to the range of issues the Review had to address, and used as an organising framework for the final recommendations. The paper closes with an account of some significant steps that have been taken so far to create a child protection system with the critically reflective properties of a learning organisation, and a reflection on how the use of systems ideas helped bring this about.