In praise of the CAF

Your article on the Common Assessment Framework (0-19, Joint Working, December 2005) was very interesting and thought-provoking, but I wanted to highlight a number of issues.

Derby City has been implementing the CAF since an early pilot in 2002. Since May 2005, over 350 front line practitioners have taken part in the national CAF training and, in September, the Children and Young People Strategic Partnership agreed a city-wide rollout of CAF. As a result, over 100 common assessments have been completed with children, young people and families.

Your article focused on some of the challenges of implementing CAF. While I am realistic about the issues, we have found that the positives outweigh any negatives. For example, one head teacher commented that the CAF provided a very useful way of engaging a pupil’s family, of holistically assessing their needs, and of asking parents potentially difficult questions.

The workforce has been ready to accept and implement CAF because of the examples where it has worked well. The “time and capacity” issue, which often presents itself as a challenge, is overcome by examples where CAF has helped to rationalise assessments and has lead to appropriate referrals and service provision.

We have a clear implementation strategy that involves key stakeholders and a CAF champion group that addresses implementation issues. We engage and involve local parents and carers through a training course, which has received positive external evaluation on effectively embedding CAF into communities.



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