Cafcass's Response to Increased Demand for its Services: Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
HC 289, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2010-11
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Cafcass's management could not have predicted the sustained increase in care cases from November 2008. The report, 'Cafcass's response to increased demand for its services: Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (HC 289)' discusses how Cafcass had to deal with an extra 200 new care cases each month from November 2008 - around 40% more. Simultaneously, the courts needed advice on hundreds more children involved in family breakdowns.
Between November 2008 and July 2009 the number of children involved in care and other public law proceedings without a dedicated family court adviser grew from around 250 to 1,250. Cafcass was not well placed to respond efficiently and effectively because it had only partly resolved known organisational challenges around management information, IT systems and staff engagement by the time demand started to increase. Cafcass increased its capacity and, between August 2009 and June 2010, reduced the proportion of children without a family court adviser, from 10% to 2% in care cases and from 34% to 5% in family breakdown cases.
The Department allowed Cafcass to bring forward £4.6 million from the 2009-10 and 2010-11 budgets and gave Cafcass an extra £4.8 million. The cost increases do not represent a failure of value for money.
Cafcass is now implementing a £10 million transformation programme that should allow it to improve how it deals with future fluctuations in demand. In order to be successful, these changes will require greater organisational cohesiveness and improvements in staff morale.
|Format||Paperback||Published||28 Jul 2010|
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