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September 23, 2009

Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service) is finding it difficult to meet its primary aim of “putting children first” because too many of them are seeking its services.

Gatekeeping, though the Public Law Outline (the PLO) having failed under pressure of numbers following the Baby P case and a huge backlog having built up, Cafcass (England) are now offering only a “minimum” or “duty” service until the end of March 2010. This service reduction is supported by the President of the Family Division in the President’s Interim Guidance (the PIG) for England. As for the self-employed Guardian contractors (the SECs) who used pre-Cafcass to be the majority of the professional workforce and whom Cafcass now call their “flexible workforce”– Cafcass has run out of money to pay them and therefore will not be allocating any of the backlog cases to them.

What a mess. Abandon the flexible sector of your workforce exactly when flexibility is needed and display your failure to meet demand in the run-up to a general election when the party most likely to win is committed to abolishing you. Is Cafcass suffering from delusions of immortality, self-defeating personality disorder or just acronym confusion?

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