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Cafcass

Education written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Education

(1) how many Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service employees are on long-term sick leave due to stress;

(2) what steps (a) he and (b) Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) corporate management are taking to address the workloads of CAFCASS practitioners in offices where over (i) 25%, (ii) 50% and (iii) 90% of practitioners are working a high red or high amber workload weight.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Cafcass is an independent body with its own procedures. Operational issues, including staff workloads and sickness are the responsibility of the chief executive. 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 of the House.

Letter from Anthony Douglas, dated 12 June 2012

I am writing to you in order to provide answers to the two Parliamentary Questions that you tabled recently:

PQ111159 - To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service employees are on long term sick leave due to stress.

Cafcass currently has one member of staff on long term sick leave due to stress.

Please note: 4 weeks (28 days) or more constitutes long term sickness. Fewer than 4 weeks (1-27 days) constitutes short-term.

PQ 111162 -To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps (a) he and (b) Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) corporate management are taking to address the workloads of CAFCASS practitioners in offices where over 25 per cent, 50 per cent and 90 per cent of practitioners are working a high red or high amber workload weight.

Cafcass workloads have increased due to the rise in demand faced by all agencies in the child protection and family justice systems. Cafcass is committed to ensuring every child referred to us receives a service, and our staff are also committed to that objective. In recognition of these increased pressures, we introduced a workload weighting tool in March 2011 on a trial basis. Working with our trade unions, we have been refining the methodology since.

As at 1 June 2012, which is the final month during which data is being produced using the weightings based on the March 2011 trial workload weighting tool, there were 52 teams where 25% or more of the Family Court Advisers (FCAs) were in the high amber or high red bands. There were 28 teams (drawn from among the 52 teams) where there were 50% or more of the FCAs in the high amber or high red bands. There were no teams where 90% or more of the FCAs were in the high amber and high red bands.

Each monthly report is given active consideration by the operational managers to whom it is distributed, with a view to gaining a fuller understanding of the workload pressures that are being experienced by teams and, in the case of first line managers (Service Managers), individual members of staff.

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