Time for Children - Cafcass Public Law work 2009
Cafcass Public Law Work - a survey of Nagalro members
Cafcass Public Law Work – a Survey of Nagalro Members
In 2009 Nagalro became increasingly concerned about the anxieties expressed by our members who were working for Cafcass, whether employed, bank staff or self-employed contractors, about their ability to deliver a quality service to the vulnerable children subject to public law proceedings. Reference was made to ever-increasing bureaucracy, inconsistent procedures and onerous styles of management leading to a lowering of morale. An increasing number of our members, both employed and self employed, decided to stop practising as children’s guardians. They told us of their sorrow in reaching this decision, which was in response to the difficulties of working within Cafcass, rather than anything inherent in the role. To manage the problems facing Cafcass, the President of the Family Division published Interim Practice Guidance setting out short-term measures to be put in place. Cafcass also produced Operational Priorities for August 2009 to April 2010. The expressions of anxiety and stress from our members increased dramatically.
In response to the considerable confusion across the country about what was happening to children’s cases, Nagalro’s Council decided to ask our members to provide first-hand evidence to present to decision-makers. This report presents the results of this survey of Cafcass public law work; it makes distressing reading. Against a background of a limited budget and an increased demand for its services, the data and case examples demonstrate how the changes in practice and demands from Cafcass management are having a negative impact on the work guardians do with the vulnerable children for whom the service was created. We hope this report will be used constructively to inform the future functioning of the family justice system and improve the outcomes for the children at the centre of proceedings.
Download survery here