A review of child protection and social work has recommended that some central control be removed from social workers to allow them to use their expertise.
Home affairs editor Mark Easton explained that reform of the social services was caught in a "paradox" between allowing professionals more freedom, and increasing accountability when mistakes are made.
"Rules have their place", Professor Eileen Munro, who is leading the review for the government, told Today presenter John Humphrys.
But child care professionals "should be accountable to how much they are helping children", she said.
"At the moment we're judging them by how well they are managing bureaucratic processes."
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