Guardians ad litem win six-week fixed fee suspension

A six-week temporary suspension on fixed-fee proposals for
guardians ad litem was agreed last week.

Cafcass – the Children and Families Court Advisory and Support
Service – agreed that all current cases and cases taken on by
guardians ad litem before 12 May would be paid on current hourly

National Association of Guardians Ad Litem and Reporting
Officers (Nagalro) chairperson Susan Bindman said: “We are
absolutely delighted. We have set up an effective negotiations
framework. But we continue to seek the advice of our legal

Nagalro and Cafcass are due to meet again next week to discuss
on-going problems over the new arrangements.

Meanwhile, Bindman rejected comments made by the Lord Chancellor
during questions in the House of Lords last week in which he
described the dispute as “old-fashioned employment relations

“We regret the attempt to reframe the issue of quality in public
services and that of independent, but accountable, professional
discretion into the arena of a minor employment dispute,” said
Bindman. “That is a disservice to the guardians ad litem and to the
children they serve.”

The Lord Chancellor’s Department officially launched Cafcass
this week. The service will advise the courts on issues such as
local authority care arrangements, adoption and contact or
residence applications.

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