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Blending systems thinking approaches for organisational analysis: reviewing child protection in England

Lane, David C., Munro, Eileen and Husemann, Elke (2016) Blending systems thinking approaches for organisational analysis: reviewing child protection in England. European Journal of Operational Research, 251 (2). pp. 613-623. ISSN 0377-2217

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ejor.2015.10.041


This paper concerns the innovative use of a blend of systems thinking ideas in the ‘Munro Review of Child Protection’, a high-profile examination of child protection activities in England, conducted for the Department for Education. We go ‘behind the scenes’ to describe the OR methodologies and processes employed. The circumstances that led to the Review are outlined. Three specific contributions that systems thinking made to the Review are then described. First, the systems-based analysis and visualisation of how a ‘compliance culture’ had grown up. Second the creation of a large, complex systems map of current operations and the effects of past policies on them. Third, how the map gave shape to the range of issues the Review addressed and acted as an organising framework for the systemically coherent set of recommendations made. The paper closes with an outline of the main implementation steps taken so far to create a child protection system with the critically reflective properties of a learning organisation, and methodological reflections on the benefits of systems thinking to support organisational analysis.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 The Authors © CC BY NC ND 4.0
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2016 11:56
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 15:27

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