Support the #Respect4SocialWork campaign today and celebrate the social work profession.
Make an Enquiry
Contact Us

Cafcass accused of diluting role of children's guardians

Cafcass has been accused of 'diluting' the role of children's guardians and minimising their legal obligations.
Nagalro, which is the professional association for Family Court Advisers, Children’s Guardians and Independent Social Workers, have accused Cafcass of disseminating inaccurate information on its website.
The association highlighted recent judgements which have reinforced their view that "children’s interests are being compromised".
It cites Leicestershire County Council v AB & Ors [2018] EWFC 58 held on 31 August 2018, in which the judge was unable to rely on the evidence of the children’s guardian. In another case, the children guardian’s appointment was terminated for an abdication of her responsibility as the children’s guardian and acting contrary to the interests of the child in R v A Local Authority & Others [2019] EWFC 49 (Fam).
A statement issued by Nagalro outlines how in June 2019, the association became aware of inaccurate details on the Cafcass website, specifically the page that explains to parents the role of the Children’s Guardian in care proceedings.
Nagalro says the association wrote to Julie Brown, interim Chief Executive of Cafcass prior to Jacky Tiotto's starting date as chief executive in September, explaining its concerns; particularly that the information does not accurately reflect the legal powers and duties of the guardian and that it may impede guardians in carrying out a thorough investigation on behalf of the children whose rights and interests they represent.
Nagalro also highlighted the website to Cafcass which explains the children’s guardian’s role accurately and in plain English and suggested that this should replace the Cafcass publication.
"We are disappointed that we have now received a reply from Cafcass declining to change their website content. Nagalro urges Cafcass to review their policies in the light of the evidence of the service failings revealed by recent court judgements and to provide accurate information to the public and practitioners," said the statement.
"The powers and duties of the children’s guardian are clearly set out in the Children Act 1989 and the associated Family Proceedings Court rules and are designed to ensure that children’s guardians are able to exercise the full extent of the legal powers available to them in order to safeguard each child’s welfare," the association concluded.
A spokesperson for Cafcass told Community Care that it was “disappointed” by Nagalro’s press release, describing it as “a misrepresentation” of ongoing discussions between the two parties.
“Contrary to what Nagalro has stated, Cafcass is actively considering our current content on the role of the guardian,” the spokesperson said. “Cafcass recognises that the guardian is the independent voice of the child in court. As with all our content, information on our website must be clear and accessible, particularly for those children and families facing care proceedings who are at a critical point in their lives.”

Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

A look back at 2022 with WillisPalmer's Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins…


2022 saw people trying to get back to some degree of normality following the Covid-19 lockdowns, restrictions and school closures that we had faced for the previous two years. However, the impact of Covid-19 continued and many services experienced, and continue to experience, backlogs and difficulties, including those services relating to children and families.

Social worker [...]

Read Full Story

John Lewis Christmas advert highlights important messages regarding foster care and looked after children


Every year people are excited to see what the theme of the John Lewis & Partners Christmas advert will be. This year's advert reminded our Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins, of all the times she arrived at the homes of foster carers with children or young people who were anxious, scared, worried and hungry, having just [...]

Read Full Story

The WillisPalmer Christmas Tree Decorating Competition 2022

Who Wins..? You Decide!

We have two Christmas trees at the WillisPalmer office and this year the staff upstairs are going to compete with the staff downstairs to see who has the best decorated tree... and we want YOU to decide on the winner!

Tree 1 - Downstairs 

Tree [...]

Read Full Story
Children First is an online resource for professionals working with children presented by WillisPalmer, providing you with the latest news, features and interviews.
Subscribe Today

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram