The Times reports today on the Ofsted inspection of Cafcass operations in Kent, Surrey and Sussex (the title of the report erroneously refers to 'social workers', rather than 'Cafcass officers'). It doesn't make good reading. Ofsted "found a waiting list of 150 cases, delays of six months for some families, inadequate assessments of the impact of domestic violence in most cases and a failure to refer cases to local authorities where there were concerns for the child’s welfare." I can certainly attest to some of this, especially the delays. I don't, however, blame the officers involved. I agree with Harry Fletcher of the National Association of Probation Officers, who is quoted in the report as saying: “Cafcass was put together too hastily. It has been underfunded since the outset. There are not enough staff and there are too many cases, resulting in unacceptable delays.” I also note that the report pointedly mentions that the chief executive of Cafcass, Anthony Douglas, earns £147,000 a year.
Quite what such a damning report will do for the morale of overstretched Cafcass officers, one can only speculate.