Guardianship

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 22nd February 2021.

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Photo of Jess Phillips Jess Phillips Shadow Minister (Home Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what oversight there is to ensure court and children’s guardians carry out their role effectively and safely.

Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The work of children’s guardians employed by Cafcass is internally assessed in line with its quality assurance and impact framework. Cafcass has a number of internal case supervision and quality assurance processes, which are a top priority for the organisation, particularly in relation to the quality and impact of work and its added value for the child.

There is a rolling area quality review programme which looks at the quality of service provided by Cafcass within a specific service area. This programme includes feedback from children. Cafcass has also developed and implemented a series of Performance Boards across the country to share learning, good practice and develop improvement plans. These boards bring together members of the management team to review practice, continue to build on existing strengths and commit to an annual improvement programme.

Externally, the Ministry of Justice monitors the work of Cafcass as an arm’s length body through a proportionate system of oversight in line with the Cabinet Office’s ‘Partnerships with arm's length bodies: code of good practice’. This includes reviewing Key Performance Indicators and quality data on a regular basis, along with quarterly holding to account meetings with senior Cafcass executives.

Cafcass’s services are subject to inspections by Ofsted and received an overall judgement of outstanding at its last inspection, with a finding that “a rigorous, strength-based performance framework supports the delivery of good and outstanding services nationally and locally”. Children’s guardians provided by Cafcass are all qualified social workers registered with Social Work England, the specialist regulator.

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