No retreat on bid to end delays within a year

Cafcass will press ahead with controversial plans to eliminate backlogs through early intervention and more efficient practice.

Despite warnings from staff representatives that the Every Day Matters programme will lead to a worse service, chief executive Anthony Douglas told Community Care he would produce plans later this month to implement the agenda.

Douglas said this would include more use of duty teams to pick up cases when they come in, to help achieve his target of eliminating backlogs in the service by April 2007.

He said the proposals would be unveiled at a conference on 22 May hosted by Sir Mark Potter, president of the High Court’s family division, to help secure the buy-in of the judiciary, who will play a vital part in implementing the programme.

Cafcass will also produce new draft national practice standards, replacing existing norms drawn up in 2003. The standards will cover timescales for allocating cases, taking account of children’s “needs, wishes and feelings” and risk assessments.

Douglas said Cafcass had gained a positive six-month review of its performance on domestic violence from the courts inspectorate, following a damning inspection last October.

Cafcass also learned this week that staff in London, the South East and eastern England would be entitled to help with their housing through the key worker living programme.


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