The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service has
backed down over plans to allow its managers to allocate cases to
children’s guardians with full workloads.
Draft Cafcass guidance on case management protocols recommended
that appointing a child to a guardian when there was no
availability among the team “even if it is not possible to begin
work immediately” might be considered “preferable to
But this led to concerns that Cafcass was trying to “massage the
figures” by reporting to a court that the child had been allocated
a guardian even though they may not have been able to begin working
on the case for several weeks.
Alison Paddle, chairperson of guardians’ organisation Nagalro, said
it could have led to guardians being expected to take professional
responsibility for a child’s welfare when they were unable to work
on their case.
“The child would be taken off the waiting list but wouldn’t have
any protection if the guardian didn’t have time to read the
documents or instruct the solicitor,” Paddle said.
Concern over the wording was first raised in September. But in
final guidance to managers published this week, the wording has
been changed and any mention of allocating a case before a guardian
is ready to begin working removed.
The protocol comes into force from 3 November.