Getting beneath the surface: Scapegoating and the systems approach in a post-Munro world

Ruch, Gillian, Lees, Amanda and Prichard, Jane (2014) Getting beneath the surface: Scapegoating and the systems approach in a post-Munro world. Journal of Social Work Practice, 28 (3). pp. 313-327. ISSN 0265-0533

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The publication of the Munro Review of Child Protection: Final Report (2011b, Department for Education, London) was the culmination of an extensive and expansive consultation process into the current state of child protection practice across the UK. Despite the concern about ‘blame’ within the report, there is, surprisingly, at no point an explicit reference to the dynamics and practices of ‘scapegoating’ that are so closely associated with organisational blame cultures. This paper examines this gap in understanding of the recurrence of shortcomings in child care social work practice and suggests that unless the dynamics of scapegoating are more fully understood, new developments, such as the systems approach advocated by Munro, will fall short of their potential impact. A critical review of existing understanding of scapegoating is presented and the paper concludes by outlining initiatives to counter the detrimental effect of scapegoating of everyday practice.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 02 Jul 2014 Special Issue: Child protection after Munro – Reflections three years on
Uncontrolled Keywords: Scapegoating, Systems Approach, Trust, Reflective Spaces, Post, Munro
Subjects: Children, Young People and Developmental Pyschology > Child Abuse - Social Work
Department/People: Adult and Forensic Services

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