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Contributor(s): Professor Eileen Munro

Released on 15 April 2010

Baby P, Victoria Climbié - the names have become symbolic of the failures of the child protection agencies. Professor Eileen Munro, a former social worker herself and now an expert on child protection reform, believes that more attention needs to be given to the system, rather than just the individuals, that allowed these tragedies to occur. In this short film, she explains that only allocating blame to individual social workers and managers can leave the impression that the problem has been successfully fixed. But if the problem is systemic, then merely punishing and removing the culpable individuals simply sets the stage for the next case to occur. As Professor Munro says, "Human error is where you should begin to ask questions rather than where you should stop." Inspired by improved air safety procedures, she explains that the aim should be to design systems that work with the limits of human reasoning, and make it "easier for people to the right thing and harder for them to do the wrong thing".

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