WillisPalmer is continuing to provide our expert social work and psychological services during lockdown. We are utilising technology alongside safe working practices in line with government guidance to enable us to continue supporting vulnerable children and families.

Call 01206 878178 to discuss your requirements.
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 Gov.uk 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.

CQC rates Gender Identity Services at Tavistock and Portman inadequate


The Gender Identity Development Services at Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s London and Leeds clinics have been rated inadequate by The Care Commission and told to improve their services and waiting times significantly.

Inspectors carried out an announced, focused inspection at the trust in October and November due to concerns raised by healthcare professionals and [...]

Read Full Story

Attendance rates during lockdown are placing schools under ‘tremendous pressure’


Schools have been placed under ‘tremendous pressure’ as a result of attendance rates being much higher in the current national lockdown than in the first lockdown in March 2020.

Department for Education statistics reveal that:

- Attendance rates were 21% in state-funded primary schools on 13 January in comparison to 4% between March and May 2020.

- In [...]

Read Full Story

Unidentified child abuse is pervasive - it affects every aspect of your life


Clare Jerrom talks to Dr Anna Preston about leaving the NHS after 16 years, joining WillisPalmer as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, taking a lead on the quality assurance of all psychological reports and why it is imperative that vulnerable children experiencing neglect or abuse are identified immediately and sign-posted for help.

When Dr Anna Preston [...]

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
Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Contact Us

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

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