Putting children first

The Law Society Gazette reports today that Somerset solicitor Martin Davis is to launch a judicial review action against Cafcass because of its ‘unacceptable delays’ in appointing children’s guardians and family court advisers. He is at pains to point out that any judicial review is not aimed at Cafcass staff (who he describes as "extraordinarily committed and hard-working"), but rather at the service itself and its funder, the Department for Children, Schools and Families. I wish him well.

One thing that struck me as odd about the report was the last paragraph, which states that: "Cafcass chief executive Anthony Douglas said he had requested full details of the proposed judicial review, and wanted to hear about any problems with children’s cases so they could be put right." Does he really not know of the problems already? From my own experience I can say that there have been unacceptable delays (in some areas at least) for at least the last couple of years. Surely the chief executive knows about this? Or is it just that he has not been given the resources to put it right?


  1. 'The last couple of years'? Do you still think this is only about funding?

    The Conservatives called CAFCASS 'the bottleneck in the system' in 2004; F4J has campaigned against its appalling service since 2002. It was itself set up to resolve deficiences in the Family Court Welfare Service, but has never performed as it should.

    This isn't about funding; it isn't even about staggeringly inept management; the entire concept behind CAFCASS is wrong, and it will never be fit for purpose.

    I read recently that despite huge summs of money poured in to fund the new parenting programmes, only 26 parents have completed these. This is like the early interventions fiasco all over again (29 couples) and could have been predicted.

    The only mystery is why it has taken an individual solicitor to bring this judicial review when the government should have got to grips with this crisis years ago.

  2. Sack the lot of them, offer their jobs at three times what their wages are and get some decent staff. I have found them to be very poor, couldn't run a bath, let alone a meeting. What they do is too important to be done by them.


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