A government pilot scheme to resolve contact disputes between separated parents was blighted by a lack of local leadership.
None of the three family resolution pilot projects, in Brighton, inner London and Sunderland, had a local management committee to govern the programme, an evaluation from the University of East Anglia finds.
And in no area did the relevant professional groups – the judiciary, lawyers, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service and Relate – ever meet each other.
This contributed to the low number of referrals to the pilots – 62 – and the fact that only half of these completed the programme.
A parallel study of in-court conciliation schemes found that 76 per cent of parents reached agreement.
● Evaluation of the Family Resolutions Pilot Project at www.dfes.gov.uk