Family lawyers have joined Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service staff representatives in warning that Cafcass’s professional strategy could reduce the quality of its work.
In its response this week to Every Day Matters, the strategy issued last October, the Association of Lawyers for Children says plans to set national benchmarks for efficient practice “could compromise the independence of guardians” in representing children. It says the strategy assumes that cases taking more time are less efficiently managed and adds “professional, well-informed judgement” should determine how each case is handled.
The purpose of the strategy is to cut delays and backlogs in public and private law.
It has faced stiff criticism from guardians’ professional body Nagalro and trade unions Napo and Unison. In its response, Nagalro said it was driven by a “cost-cutting” agenda that would reduce the quality of service to children.