Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Education
(1) how many family court advisers are employed by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) in each CAFCASS region;
(2) whether his Department has issued guidance to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service on the maximum number of cases to be allocated to each family court advisor at any one time.
Tim Loughton (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education; East Worthing and Shoreham, Conservative)
CAFCASS is an independent body with its own procedures in place to deal with staff and workloads. The Department for Education does not therefore hold this information and has not provided guidance on caseloads. Anthony Douglas, the chief executive of CAFCASS, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of his response has been placed in the Libraries.
Letter from Anthony Douglas CBE, dated
I am writing to you in order to provide answers to the Parliamentary Questions that you tabled recently:
105104: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many family court advisers are employed by the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) in each CAFCASS region.
Please see the following table which indicates the head count for Family Court Advisors (FCAs) in each Cafcass service area on
|Cafcass service area||FCA headcount|
|A1: Tyneside, Northumbria, Cumbria||51|
|A2: Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire||52|
|A3: Greater Manchester||89|
|A4: South Yorkshire and Humberside||62|
|A5: West Yorkshire||61|
|A6: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight||37|
|A7: Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire||64|
|A8: Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset||78|
|A9: Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire||99|
|A10: Shropshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire||45|
|A11: Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire||77|
|A12: Birmingham and the Black Country||93|
|A13: National Business Centre, Coventry and Northamptonshire||26|
|A14: Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire||94|
|A15: Greater London||157|
|A16: Surrey and Sussex||44|
105107: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department has issued guidance to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service on the maximum number of cases to be allocated to each family court advisor at any one time.
While Cafcass has not issued any guidance to its staff which specifies, the maximum number of cases that may be allocated at any one time, we have been operating a trial workload weighting system, in agreement with our recognised trade union partners, NAPO and Unison. This system is based on ascribing a points ‘weighting’ to the various types and stages of family court cases in which Cafcass is involved. The total points value for each member of staff is then given a red/amber/green banding, with the expected being that staff should generally operate within or close to the green ‘expected’ range, rather than remain in the red or amber ranges.
Though the formal trialling of this workload weighting tool ended in September 2011, we have continued to monitor the workloads of staff using this tool, and we have recently agreed with the unions that a revised version of the tool is to be implemented, with effect from