Cafcass apologises for hostile relations

The Children and Family Court Advisory and
Support Service has apologised to self-employed children’s
guardians over the hostile relations that have marked the first
year’s operation of the government’s unified family welfare

“I am sorry for the hurt that has been caused
to many of you by the Project Team [which set up Cafcass from the
Lord Chancellor’s Department] and by Cafcass over the past 18
months,” said Charles Prest, Cafcass director of legal services, to
guardians at their annual conference in London this week.

Prest said that he hoped most guardians would
“wish to continue to work under one of the two contracts” proposed
last month (News, page 9, 28 February). The issuing of contracts
marked an end to the long-running dispute, which had included a
High Court ruling in September that Cafcass had acted unlawfully in
withdrawing the option of self-employment from the guardians.

Revealing that he had considered resigning on
two occasions in the past year, Prest added: “I do hope you will
feel there has been a change in tone from Cafcass since

Although there were still “difficulties”
ahead, “you might be beginning to believe that we will listen”, he

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