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Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Education and Skills written question – answered on 6th June 2007.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Children, Young People and Families)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills

(1) what action is planned to be taken on (a) workforce satisfaction with management and (b) workloads following the 2006 Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service staff survey;

(2) whether he plans to publish statistics on the ethnicity of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service caseload;

(3) how many vacancies there are in each Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service region in both (a) public and (b) private law;

(4) how many parents in 2005-06 were referred to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service following an application of the court; and how many had already participated in mediation;

Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills

These are matters for the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass). Anthony Douglas, the Chief Executive, has written to the hon. Member with this information and a copy of his letter on will be placed in the House Library.

Letter from Anthony Douglas, dated 5 June 2007:

I am writing to you in response to the five of the seven Parliamentary Questions that you tabled recently:

140264—To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what action is planned to be taken on (a) workforce satisfaction with management and (b) workloads following the 2006 Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service staff survey.

An action plan is being prepared in response to the recent Cafcass staff survey including a stronger staff engagement strategy. There are no plans to change existing guidance on workloads, which has been in place for 3 years, and which has been agreed with Cafcass's trade unions. Cafcass believes it does have to take additional steps to increase workforce satisfaction with some aspects of the way in which the organisation works, and will be seeking the views of staff and trade unions about how this can best be done. Cafcass is determined to provide its service users with the very best possible service it can within the resources available.

140265—To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, whether he plans to publish statistics on the ethnicity of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service caseload.

Cafcass has been implementing a new Case Recording System during the year. As a result diversity data is not yet complete or robust enough to publish this data in its annual report. For 2006/07 Cafcass intends to publish this data in future years, starting in its annual report for 2007/08.

140266—To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, how many vacancies there are in each Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service region in both (a) public and (b) private law.

The table below indicates the vacancies as at 31 May 2007. Cafcass does not categorise practitioners into private and public law.

Region FCA vacancies (whole time equivalents) Support worker vacancies (whole time equivalent)
East Midlands 2.5 1.5
Eastern 10.71 9.4
Greater London 9 0
North East 0 1.85
North West 6.5 7.3
South East 1.5 1.73
South West 1.5 2.5
Southern 0.5 4.0
West Midlands 4 4.0
Yorkshire and Humberside 5.5 6.0

140269—To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, how many parents in 2005-06 were referred to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service following an application of the court; and how many had already participated in mediation.

In 2005-06 we received 26,144 applications for section 7 reports and 645 applications for Family Assisted Orders. Neither Cafcass nor Her Majesty's Courts Service keep statistics on how many of these had participated in mediation prior to application.

140272—To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, what the policy of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service is on co-parenting.

Cafcass policy is to consider all options, including co-parenting. It will recommend co-parenting to a court if in a specific case, it considers that it would be in the best interests of the child or young person concerned.

A copy of this reply will be placed in the House Library.

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