UKCORRUPTFAMILYCOURTS

June 26, 2011

ESPONSE TO THE INTERIM REPORT Private Law Only: Section 8

Filed under: Secret family courts — nojusticeforparents @ 11:56 pm
.                      NEW  APPROACHES  TO CONTACT

56 Perrers Road London W6 OEZ                                          020 8748 1081     oliver@cyriax.co.uk
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________




RESPONSE TO THE INTERIM REPORT

Private Law Only: Section 8



SUMMARY

The Interim Report (“IR”) of the Family Justice Review has miscarried.
_____________________

The Review’s Effect

 In brief:  

the IR contains a  number of good ideas 

however, the IR’s main thrust is more-of-the-same, i.e., “churning” 

in addition, the IR will make things worse in important respects

  Further, the Review has overlooked the only viable reform proposal on the table.

The upshot is that the IR proposes: 

to spend time and money on making things worse

                as opposed to 

saving time and money by making things better  

      An Inconsequential Review
    
The deficiencies at Items 2 (ii) and 2 (iii) above are easily substantiated:

2 (ii):  the main thrust of the Review is to transfer management of the same defective legal system (which the IR acknowledges as defective) to a different administrative body. This is to tread water. 

           
           
           This bureaucratic exercise will cost millions, and take years (during which no progress will be possible) with no prospect of any particular improvement when concluded.    

2 (iii): the insistence on open-ended mediation, conducted without a framework, and without a time-scale, merely delays access to the Courts. 

This is to make problems worse. Both parties will attend mediation knowing that no solution can enforced upon them for the interim.  This favours the unreasonable parent. Problems will entrench. 

Similarly, Parent Information sessions cannot assist if (also as a result of there being no framework) they have no worthwhile information to impart. 

Aside from a transfer of management to a new quango, the main direction of the Review is to construct a new indeterminate ‘antechamber’ (or limbo) of mediation, education and good intentions – as a terrain to be traversed – before parents enter the same defective legal system. 

The Review’s thinking is not understood. 

     Missing the Wood for the Trees

The Review’s observable accomplishment - of taking action that is not useful - is matched by its decision not to take action that is useful. As outlined at Item 2 above:

the Family Justice Review is in receipt of fully-authorised proposals, agreed by leading professionals, to reform this sector

the Review overlooked these proposals

these proposals were sanctioned by the High Court judiciary in 2003

these proposals represent the solution to the problems of the family   
           law system identified by the Review

The Review’s primary achievement, at least in private law, is to prevent the useful proposals (which were and are agreed Conservative family policy) going forward to the Minister, in that the department and the Review insisted that:

  -  these useful proposals must first undergo the Review’s ‘robust methodology’

-  as a prelude to the Review declining to consider these same proposals 

on the basis that they are “outside the remit” of the Review 

This type of administration, at best inept and at worst mischievous, does not bode well. 


RECOMMENDATIONS

The Review has miscarried. No ground is made good: 

- the proposals to set up a new Family Justice Service should be shelved until a useful purpose can be identified for this project 

- the proposals for mediation and parent information classes should be put on hold until they have received commensurate thought

  - the actual proposals to reform the family law system in relation to children 
    (i.e., the NATC EI project) should carry forward to the Minister in the usual   
    way 

      SUBSIDIARIES

The main planks of the Review are as above: make parents go to mediation, and set up a Family Justice Board. 

There are many subsidiary proposals in the Review. These can be safely left on one side for the purposes of this paper, but they merit passing attention. The disparate offerings fall prey to the single dominating error that vitiates the Review. It gave no thought to first principles, and, in particular, to the sole issue in every contact dispute: what are the child’s best interests in terms of post-separation contact?   

if we do not know this, and are not concerned to know, then how can (e.g.) an “information hub” provide parents with useful information; and, how can parents know which parent is liable to penalised by costs for being “unreasonable”? 

And so on: there is little point in trying to find a way to do things better if we do not know what we are trying to do. 
 
in the alternative, if we do know this, the Review is otiose: it could and should have proceeded ‘Straight to Go’ by a proper restructuring of the legal system based around these principles - as set out in the reform project it overlooked.

Either way, the Review did not reach its starting point. It tried to run before it could walk. 

There is no joined-up thinking. 

These pages now turn to two inter-related topics:

        what went wrong 

the overlooked problems and their overlooked solution 

 
      WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE REVIEW

The Review was independent in name only. 

In practical terms, this Review was conducted by and on behalf of Whitehall and the  civil service -  in the context where the lead Whitehall department has an unbroken record of maladministration - to conceal - going back until at least the mid 1990s. 

The well-known results of this type of venture (Nothing are as anticipated .

These propositions are made good in the Appendix One, A Recipe for Failure.


THE OVERLOOKED PROBLEMS AND THEIR OVERLOOKED SOLUTION

An independent observer coming to this sector for the first time can hardly fail to be struck by two salient facts: 

(i)      recommendations in Section 8 cases (about how much contact should be introduced how quickly in what circumstances) are customarily made by an agency called “CAFCASS”

(ii)     CAFCASS’s recommendations are given great weight by the Court in each case; and, in the great majority of cases, the CAFCASS recommendation is ordered by the court

On these facts, it is self-evident both that the common determinant of contact orders are the recommendations of CAFCASS (which represent the way the law is interpreted and applied); and hence, that the recommendations of CAFCASS underpin the integrity of the private law Family Law system in relation to contact.

An independent observer, armed with this knowledge, would soon direct his attention towards CAFCASS.

The “bottleneck” through which family law cases pass is this: are CAFCASS officers appropriately trained?

The Review did not get this far. Eighteen months were spent on peripherals, while the primary issue went unaddressed. 

A little spadework, conducted below, will confirm the upshot: that neither the department nor the Review -

knows how the law is interpreted

knows what the law is

It follows that neither the department nor the Review are well-placed to make useful contributions. 

They have not reached first base.

This point is made good herewith, under these two headings in the Appendices:

   	(i)   Not Knowing How the Law is Interpreted

		(ii)  Not Knowing What the Law is

     CONCLUSION

This brings us back to where we began: this Review, just like its departmentally-led predecessors, is a sterile exercise in churning; and, this Review was so-constituted that it did not and could not identify the problems it was supposed to address; and that, as a result, it overlooked the solution; with the end-effect that, to quote, the Review proposes: 

     “to spend time and money on making things worse

                as opposed to 

     saving time and money by making things better”

A reasonable working assumption, to be overturned on good evidence, is that the Review went just as wide of the mark in public law. 

That is outside the scope of this paper.

As far as private law is concerned, the Review has come to nothing. 

Perhaps we can now go back to where we were, before the Review was interposed by the department. 

As at the start of the review-process, there is still only one viable proposal on the table; and, there will still be no progress in the management of Section 8 applications until this proposal, or some equivalent variant, is adopted; because, until this proposal (or its equivalent) is adopted, the problem that has to be addressed will not have been addressed. 

The first three pages of the relevant proposal are re-submitted in the immediately ensuing pages for the Review’s first attention. Thereafter this document turns to the Appendices:

The Composition of the Review: A Recipe for Failure?

2.  Detailed Workings Showing that neither the Review nor the department:

- knows how the law is interpreted 

- knows what the law is

 3. Are CAFCASS officers trained in what sort of recommendations to make?
N.A.T.C.                      NEW  APPROACHES  TO CONTACT

56 Perrers Road London W6 OEZ                              020 8748 1081     mail@cyriax.freeserve.co.uk
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________



THE FAMILY JUSTICE REVIEW

Save where noted otherwise, the comments in this document 
apply only to private law Section 8 disputes




The 2010 submission to the Review – page 1



Re: The NATC “Early Interventions” Pilot Project



“This is the way forward … it would be incomprehensible if the Pilot Project did not receive official sanction from the DfES and the Department for Constitutional Affairs. 

The Pilot does not involve a huge investment; it would achieve savings in money and court time; it should produce much better outcomes for parents and children.”


The Honourable Mrs Justice Bracewell DBE,
       15 July 2003, Hardwicke Building, Lincoln's Inn







NATC 29.9.10




The 2010 submission to the Review – page 2




From Family Law 2004, quoting Family Law 2003:

 “The EI project, formally submitted to the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) on 8 October 2003, after 8 years’ development, was fully specified, properly designed and costed. It commanded across-the-board professional support. The position at that time was clear cut: 

‘The need was not so much for an open‑ended inquiry into what to do but the more proactive task of ensuring that an early interventions trial actually occurred. ([2003] Fam Law 455)’



It is now 2010.

The department has delayed the EI project for seven years

The 2010 submission to the Review – page 3


CONTENTS
___________________________________________________________________________


PART 1: Recommendations 								p 4


PART 2: Overlooking the Solution 							p 5

  The reforms the department hopes to frustrate						p 6
  
  Reasons why 							 			p 11

  Getting the Law Back to Front 								p 12		

PART 3: Problems: how, why, and what has gone wrong 			p 13

Credentials of the NATC and the EI reforms						p 14
The 2003 and the 2010 efforts to prevent the EI reforms 				p 15
The Benefits Foregone 									p 17
Family Law in Jeopardy 									p 19
The Project 										p 20
Getting Things Wrong									p 23
Getting Things Right									p 26
Chronology  										p 28
Getting the Legal Framework Right							p 29
EI: the Fruits of Reason 												p 29
Triage													p 30
Some Sample Papers 													p 33


PART 4: The Maladministration of Family Policy 					p 37

   CAFCASS Training													p  44

PART 5: A Note on Presumptions							p 46


RESPONSE TO THE INTERIM REPORT

Private Law Only: Section 8
_______________________________________


APPENDICES


The Composition of the Review: A Recipe for Failure?

2.  Detailed Workings Showing that neither the Review nor the department:

- knows how the law is interpreted and applied

- knows what the law is

 3. Are CAFCASS officers trained in what sort of recommendations to make? (No)


APPENDIX 1 

The Composition of the Review: A Recipe for Failure?

There is a close correspondence between:

     -  the unique and disabling oversights of the Review

     -  the unique and disabling oversights  of the lead Whitehall department 

What the department did not know, or did not want to know, the Review did not find out. The same striking errors-of-commission, and the same striking errors-of-omission, and the same striking lapses of logic, are evident in each. The fingerprints of one are the fingerprints of the other.  

The question arises of whether this was an independent Review. 

It is perhaps better considered as a Whitehall ‘self-assessment’ of the type commonly conducted by and for civil servants, with the common outcome of:

paving-over established error  and
providing a department with displacement activities

There were six panel members on the Review,  supported by three senior departmental officials, with some half-a-dozen in-house Whitehall staff assigned from the Ministry of Justice. 

The panel was intended to review a legal system: 

only one panel member was a lawyer 
the Chair was unfamiliar with this sector 
panel members were unpaid
some or most of the panel did not attend some or most of the time
some or most of the submissions to the Review were not read

With the exception of the single judge, we thus have:

an absentee, part-time panel of laymen
led by a family law novitiate and Whitehall insider
supported and organized by numerous full-time paid Whitehall staff
working to Whitehall’s direction and behest

The calibre and intent of the Whitehall staff is a question. 

Of the three senior departmental officials, the most knowledgeable was from the lead department in this area: the MOJ’s Director of Civil, Family and Legal Aid Policy.

This person, who has been employed in this sector for approaching twenty years,  remains unaware that CAFCASS are not trained in their job (1996). She was a long-standing consenting member of the policy unit for the period when the department based its activities (2000 and continuing?) on the fallacy that a presumption of reasonable contact was already in place. 

It is reasonable to rate this person as the most knowledgeable salaried Whitehall official on the Review; and to opine that she knows little or nothing of material import about this sector (see over). 
 
The part-time amateur panel was surrounded by its full-time professional civil service staff.  

The panel’s time was disbursed going down (or being led down) the wrong tramlines, talking to the wrong people about the wrong things - with the end-result that the department has been left free to re-repeat the same gross and obvious mistakes into their third decade. 


N.A.T.C.                      NEW  APPROACHES  TO CONTACT

56 Perrers Road London W6 OEZ                              020 8748 1081     mail@cyriax.freeserve.co.uk
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sarah Albon
Director of Civil, Family and Legal Aid Policy
The Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
London SW1H 9AJ

27 September 2010

Dear Sarah Albon

The 2010 Obstruction of Family Policy (Private Law): An Abuse of Process ? 

I refer to our meeting of 24 September 2010:

you agreed that the law is the opposite of what the department says it is (in the Green Paper, Parental Separation)

it follows that the Ministry has conducted, and conducts, its policy on a delusional basis

for instance, you confirmed that actually there is no principle in law to prevent all material child-parent contact from being stopped for no material reason; but, you do not appreciate that, if this is the outcome one parent wants, this outcome will occur as a matter of routine       

in addition, you had yet to discover that CAFCASS, on whom the Courts place reliance, has no training in what recommendations to make; and, keeps no records of the recommendations they make: as drawn to the Ministry’s attention for 14 years

Insouciance on this scale (the above are mere samples) has a natural counterpart in institutional inutility and a prolific wastage of public funds. In this vein, you are playing an active role in stopping the Tory Minister from being briefed on the EI project, which:

 was and is “a key point” in Tory family policy
 saves hundreds of millions of pounds p.a. – by a simple change to procedure
delivers the legal framework the department says is, and should be, in place

Indeed, as you have not read the EI project papers, you cannot brief the Minister on this project, which (i) has a full implementation plan and (ii) the endorsement of the relevant senior professionals. Instead, you are embarking on a blank ‘review’ - open to all-comers - to find out what the problems are - which the EI project has already resolved.    

I rather think the Minister should now be told. On reflection, don’t you? Otherwise, we’ll waste bags of time and money. Can I please hear with a date in Jonathan Djanogly’s diary? 

Yours sincerely,


Oliver Cyriax
APPENDIX 2

Detailed Workings Showing that neither the Review nor the department:

know how the law is interpreted and applied

know what the law is
_______________________________________________________________________

Preamble

An independent observer coming new to this sector can hardly fail to note: 

(i)     that recommendations in Section 8 cases (about how much contact should be introduced how quickly in what circumstances) are customarily made by an agency called “CAFCASS”

(ii)   that CAFCASS’s recommendations are given great weight by the Court in each case; and, in the great majority of cases, the CAFCASS recommendation is ordered by the court

On these facts, it is self-evident both that the common determinant of contact orders are the recommendations of CAFCASS (which represent the way the law is interpreted and applied); and, that the recommendations of CAFCASS  underpin the integrity of the private law Family Law system in relation to contact.

An independent observer, armed with this knowledge, would soon direct his attention towards CAFCASS.

The “bottleneck” through which family law cases pass is this: are CAFCASS officers appropriately trained?
______________________________________________________________________________________

The Review: Not Knowing How the Law is Interpreted
      
Cursory inquiry of CAFCASS will confirm that CAFCASS gives its officers no training on:

(a)    how much contact should be introduced 
(b)    how quickly  and 
(c)    in what circumstances 

Further inquiry will confirm that these three factors, taken together, are the issue in every contact dispute point and the point of every CAFCASS report.

The match is exact. In  every Section 8 report on contact, the agency’s task is to recommend:

(a)    how much contact should be introduced 
(b)    how quickly  and 
(c)    in what circumstances 

This is CAFCASS’s job. It is:

(a)    the job on which the court relies on CAFCASS as experts

(b)    a job for which CAFCASS is untrained

On this single point, and for this single reason (which is gross and obvious) the family law system is:

- running on empty

- built on sand

- suspect, tainted, mismanaged, inflammatory, dangerous and inchoate 

In addition, needless litigation may be fomented each year in its tens of thousands of cases.  

Persons of conservative temperament habitually agree that it is easier to put things right when you understand what is wrong.

If actual conduct is anything to go by, the department has adopted the nostrum that ignorance, including self-imposed ignorance, is bliss. This attitude appears to have  permeated the Review’s thinking. Fifteen years on, neither the Review, nor the department, have taken on board the fact that CAFCASS - whose job it is to make contact-recommendations that are “in the child’s best interest” - has no guidance on what the child’s best interests actually are - in respect of contact.  

Some or most case-outcomes are tainted at a stroke. 

This position, of the utmost gravity, has been fully known to, and unacted upon by, the department since the middle of the decade before last. Further enquiry, from those who know about these things, would establish that this same 
oversight :

(i)    has been in unbroken place since the creation of the FCWS in the 1970/80s

(ii)   first came to light on 10 June 1996, i.e., sixteen years ago

  (iii) has subsequently been drawn to the department’s attention many 
         thousands of  times in writing (documentation available)

    AND

                     (iv) the first remedial step remains untaken, by CAFCASS or the department

      The Extent of the Gaffe

The root of the problems in the family justice system is that CAFCASS is not trained. 

To put this oversight in a proper light, CAFCASS officers have yet to receive the first indication on whether, in a case involving the same two normal parents,  normal contact should be introduced: 

(a) in seven minutes 

              or

(b) in seven years

However, this is merely the “how quickly should contact be introduced” point: just one of the four variable indices in assessing how much contact should be recommended. The second axis, on which CAFCASS  officers are equally at sea, is this: what constitutes normal contact anyway?  And the third, what might constitute a normal parent ? And fourth, what other factors should effect a case’s outcome ?

Taking these four variables together, all of which have escaped preliminary definition, it is apparent, first, that CAFCASS subsists in a “cloud of unknowing” that vitiates the  Section 8 sector as to its generality; and, that any recommendation  (including opposite recommendations on the same facts) can equally be put forward “in the child’s best interests”; and, that the discretion accorded to CAFCASS is in the order of thousandfolds; and, that no CAFCASS recommendation can be assessed (because  all are equally valid, whether molehills-into-mountains or mountains-into-molehills); and that, in this context, anything can be a matter for protracted litigation; and, that recommendations which happen to be in the wrong ballpark could have deleterious consequences of the first water - extending for decades - not excluding e.g. the unwarranted loss of a child and the unwarranted loss of a parent. 

There are, of course, more serious issues than the wrongful removal of a child. Nonetheless, for almost all time, and through almost all history, such an affront has rightly been ranked an injury of the first magnitude. But the obvious cause of such happenstances, routinely, on a national scale, by a distorted process of law, has been tolerated by the department with equanimity for decades.  

This oversight has serious administrative consequences: 

CAFCASS cannot resolve disputes in advance by telling parents what should happen (because it does not know) 

mediation cannot work to optimal effect (because no-one knows what should be ordered if the parents cannot agree)

training is impossible in any significant way

parent information classes are misdirected

All this has passed by the Review and the department, 1996-2011 and continuing. 

Every previous Review has likewise closed its eyes to these facts. 

It is self-evident that if CAFCASS is the prime determinant (or a prime determinant) of court orders made under the Act, the Act would work better if CAFCASS made the right sort of recommendations rather than the wrong sort of recommendations. 

It is likewise clear that if CAFCASS cannot say what is right or wrong in any given category of case (it has yet to recognize that there are categories of cases) it should not do so; and similarly, it is plain that if CAFCASS did know what it was doing, it would hardly have to do it.

Elementary logic of this type remains beyond the department and beyond CAFCASS, and beyond the reach of the Review. 

Ancillary consequences are that neither the department, nor CAFCASS, nor the Review, have thought it worthwhile to find out what case outcomes actually are.  All three agencies are oblivious to the output of the system of which they are part. The upshot is that none of these entities can know how the law is interpreted. CAFCASS does not know, because (i) its staff act to no definable template and (b) it keeps no records and (c) neither does anyone else. All we have is one Cloud of Self-imposed Unknowing - as envelope to the next Cloud of Self-imposed Unknowing – with these contiguous lacunae, impervious to thought, entered via a lapse of even greater proportions, detailed below - which similarly has passed the Review by.  

B. The Review: Not Knowing What the Law is

The department does not know what the law is. Unsurprisingly, this same oversight was inherited by the Review.

This means that the department (and the Review) were doubly unsighted: not only by not knowing what does happen in its caseload, but also by not knowing what should happen in its caseload - and, by definition, not knowing if there was a difference between the two. 

The department’s difficulties in this regard are historic. These difficulties constitute a further barrier to constructive thought: 

for many years, the department  was content to rely on the proposition that, whatever the law was, it was “in the child’s best interests”

by the early 2000s, a feeling arose that flesh might perhaps be put on these bones

in the early 2000s, the department duly made a guess at what the law was

the department guessed wrong, getting the law back to front  

The department now seems more to think that there is no such presumption, with occasional side-pronouncements that there should not be a presumption of contact at all, and the allied difficulties that, if every case is different, it would be wrong for there to be a presumption.

These difficulties are compounded by a departmental lack of knowledge on what the desired presumption might mean, and whether it might already exist, and (i) whether it can be defined and (ii) whether it should be defined and (iii) who might apply it if it was defined.

This means that the department and the Review face a further intellectual hurdle of formidable proportions. 

The problem is that, unbeknown to the department, invisible concepts (like the “presumptive framework” of Children Act litigation) actually have a meaning – and, this meaning takes form as institutional realities in the here-and-now.  This realization too lies in the department’s future – but, dependent on whether or not there is a presumption of meaningful contact, and dependent on whether it is desirable for there to be one, the various family law agencies within the department’s remit have for years: 

(a) either been doing the right thing, or 

(b) been doing the wrong thing 

Agencies produce results because they are “geared” to produce them. 

If this gearing is wrong, these agencies (one by one) have to re-geared. 

No-one knows this. No-one knows who or what has to re-geared, in what way, when, or how, or why. The concept is not yet on the horizon. 

Overlooking the Solution

To put this another way, the department does not know (and has no means of knowing) what has to be changed, or how, or why – both as to the law itself and as to the institutions that process the law. On all these issues the department (and the Review) are at sea, with decades of confused and circular deliberation in store, before the core problems are even approached. 

The four core steps the department has to take are: 

to arrive at a correct understanding on what the law is

to arrive at a correct understanding on what the law should be

to define what (ii) above means

to devise a way to apply the law as it should be 

However, before making the attempt, the department (and any successor Review) must first dispose of its preliminary Vestments of Illusion – for instance, by an appreciation that in CAFCASS an institutional unthinkability (an agency that does not know what it is meant to do) has been condoned; and, by an appreciation that the various checks-and-balances, and precepts and principles, relied on by the department and the Review are imaginary.  

To use a metaphor, before useful construction can commence, the site of operations has first to be identified and cleared of rubbish: 

(i)     persons of reasonable capacity, with professional knowledge of this area, could get round this course in an afternoon 

(ii)    the department, and Reviews of the present type, should be allowed anywhere up to half a century for the same task  

It is not clear that this is quite the way to proceed.

Attention reverts to the NATC submission to the Review of 30 September 2011 where the four core points overlooked by the department, which it cannot yet discern, are taken in hand:

      Point 34 (i)  	- resolved

      Point 34 (ii) 	- resolved

      Point 34 (iii) 	- resolved 

      Point 34 (iv)  - resolved

The choice before the Review is whether to waste more lives, and more public money, probably for decades, in a ruminative endeavour to reinvent the wheel. 

APPENDIX C

Q: Are CAFCASS officers trained in what sort of recommendations to make?
A: No
    
    There is no-one home:
__________________________________

-----Original Message-----
From: Oliver Cyriax [mailto:cyriax@cyriax.co.uk]
Sent: 03 December 2010 14:37 To: Shearer, Eileen - Cafcass
Subject: CAFCASS Training: Section 8 disputes

Eileen

We spoke this September.

You confirmed then that CAFCASS practitioners did not have written-down guidance on how much contact to recommend in what sort of circumstances, i.e., on how long the contact-sessions should be, and how fast (and if - and when) contact should progress to the next level.

Various members of your organisation have confirmed that there is, of course, no such guidance - for the simple reason that every case is different - and every recommendation is made in the child's best interests.

Could you confirm this is still the position - and that are no such guidelines?

If by any chance things have changed, I would be very grateful for sight of the documentation.

Many thanks


Oliver Cyriax

________________________

Begin forwarded message:
From: "Shearer, Eileen - Cafcass" <Eileen.Shearer@cafcass.gsi.gov.uk>
Date: 3 December 2010 17:33:29 GMT To: "'cyriax@cyriax.co.uk'" <cyriax@cyriax.co.uk>
Subject: FW: CAFCASS Training: Section 8 disputes

Dear Oliver,
Thanks for your query. You are correct that the situation has not changed.
Best wishes
Eileen
______________________________________________
 
For good measure, the next page sets out the sum-total of available knowledge (zero) passed from the FCWS to CAFCASS in the year 2000 after a quarter of a century. As above, nothing has changed since. By now it is likely that almost the only thing CAFCASS has not considered is its job. The department has known of this deficit, and stood idly by, since 1996. 
CHILDREN AND CONTACT: ‘FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSMENT’
INITIAL COMMENTS on the NEW/FIRST FCWS TRAINING MANUAL – MARCH 2000
(prepared by ACPO Peter Jeffries)
Summary

   No framework is set out. No method of assessment is outlined. Any recommendation 
   can flow from any facts. No indication is given if officers should think in terms of a 50/50 split or 12 hours a year in a ‘contact centre’.  Vague generalisations are followed by rhetorical questions without clarification on what to do or how to do it 

The Totality of Advice on The Service’s Job (73 words):

“HOW LONG: How long should contact last? If visits are very short parent and child may find it difficult to be relaxed with each other. The relationship which currently exists between non-resident parent and child is crucial as are the parenting skills and understanding he/she has of the child’s position and needs
HOW OFTEN: What should be the frequency of contact? The horizons of young children are much shorter than for adults or teenagers”

Any ideas conforming to this template (i.e. anything) will pass quality control
A Brief History of the Welfare Service

      1970s-1996    Officers with zero training write reports on, say, 500,000 children
      1996               Lack of training exposed
      1996-2000      Home Office and LCD obstruct introduction of training

Extent of Training Manual: 21 pages, some half empty; 18 months in preparation
Author: Criminal Probation Officer believed to lack experience of welfare work
Purpose: ‘spoiler’ to prevent implementation of useful guidelines prepared by the Service’s only professional association
Reason for obstructing training: to prevent exposure of (i) prior lack of training  (ii) consequences of prior lack of training
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