Performance unaffected by rising workload, says Cafcass

A rise in the number of care cases handled by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service last year did not affect its performance in allocating court guardians to children.

Its annual report, published today, said half of children had a guardian allocated within two days, a similar figure to 2004-5, despite a 4.7 per cent rise in demand.

However, this fell well short of a target for next year set by the Department for Education and Skills for 70 per cent of cases to be allocated within two days.

And in its professional strategy, Every Day Matters, Cafcass set itself a target of allocating all cases within two days by April 2007, despite the fact the government has frozen its budget since 2004.

Cafcass met its key DfES private law target, for no more than 4 per cent of reports commissioned by the courts to be left unallocated 10 weeks before their filing date, with a 3 per cent rate, an improvement on the 3.9 per cent in 2004-5.

Though the number of reports commissioned dropped by 7.2 per cent in 2005-6, Cafcass said it had diverted resources into resolving cases before this stage through dispute resolution schemes.

This has been reflected in the replacement of the existing target with two indicators on achieving successful resolutions in 2006-7.




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