Guardians to gain new contracts

Children’s guardians have been offered both
employed and self-employed contracts by the Children and Family
Court Advisory and Support Service.

The move marks an end to a year of hostile
relations over contracts between the guardians – formerly guardians
ad litem – and Cafcass.

All 688 self-employed guardians have been
offered either a contract of full, salaried employment with
Cafcass, or a self-employed contract based on an hourly rate of
£20 (£22.50 in London and eight other areas), which will
include travel, equipment, facilities and professional development

When Cafcass took over the guardian service
last April, the self-employed guardians rejected offers of
self-employed contracts based on fixed fees, arguing for an hourly
rate as a means of ensuring their independence and professional
ability to carry out full investigations of child care cases.

By July, Cafcass had withdrawn any offer of
self-employment, forcing many guardians to consider leaving the
service altogether. But last September the guardians won a judicial
review of Cafcass’s decision, which the high court ruled unlawful,
and both parties have been in negotiations ever since.

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