Cafcass produce webinars as a form of training for their staff. You can read about the webinars from 2016 in our post here on Cafcass Webinars 2016 and 2017 which show you a list of webinars and the attendance rates.
If you ask for copies of the webinars Cafcass respond to say:
This webinar was a live discussion and so Cafcass does not have a copy of the webinar to disclose. An audio recording of the webinar discussion was produced however this contains discussion of cases by staff and so contains personal information of staff and service users.
Disclosure is therefore exempt under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Earlier this year Anthony Douglas gave a webinar on Parental Alienation. Only a handful of FCAs attended this webinar on Parental Alienation and you can read about this in our post entitled: Cafcass Parental Alienation Webinar Training
Anthony Douglas also held a webinar on Emotional Harm as you can see from the table below:
|Webinar||No. of staff who attended
the webinar (this includes all staff, not just FCAs)
Here are the attendance figures a researcher has obtained through a FOI request:
|Region||Service Area||Number of FCAs January 2017||FCAs who attended Anthony Douglas Parental Alienation Webinar||FCAs who attended Anthony Douglas Emotional Harm Webinar|
|Tyneside and Northumbria||A1||54||2||0|
|Durham, Teesside, North Yorkshire, York, Cumbria and Lancashire||A2||109||3||2|
|South Yorkshire and Humberside||A4||65||2||1|
|Hampshire, The Isle of Wight and Dorset||A6||51||0||2|
|Avon, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Thames Valley||A7||86||2||2|
|Cornwall, Devon and Somerset||A8||68||1||2|
|Cheshire and Merseyside||A9||100||3||0|
|Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire||A10||51||1||0|
|Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire||A11||67||3||0|
|Birmingham, the Black Country, Shropshire and Worcestershire||A12||97||3||1|
|National Business Centre, Coventry, Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire||A13||66||2||0|
|Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire||A14||117||1||2|
|Greater London (Public Law)||A15A||146||5 in total for A15a and A15b||3 in total for A15a and A15b|
|Greater London (Private Law)||A15B||85||see row above||see row above|
|Surrey and Sussex||A16||57||2||3|
|N/A (Self Employed Contractors)||SEC||2||0||0|
We have included the viewing rates for the Parental Alienation webinar alongwith the numbers of FCAs employed in each Service Area to provide comparisons for completion rates.
Why is this important?
Here we have the Chief Executive of Cafcass Anthony Douglas, who has just released an interview saying that Parental Alienation is so serious that it should be considered a form of child abuse and acknowledging that his employees need more training on it, then giving all-hands webinars on Parental Alienation and another one on Emotional Harm… and yet hardly any of his FCAs can be bothered to attend?
In any other organisation this would be seen as a definitive vote of no confidence in the Chief Executive. In any other organisation the Chief Executive would be called upon to resign immediately. In any other organisation there would be a flurry of memos and director level instructions to all employees that they must immediately attend follow-up webinars or explain themselves.
Time for Anthony Douglas to go
It’s time for Anthony Douglas to go.
He needs to be replaced immediately by a Chief Executive who ensures that Cafcass FCAs are fully trained, fully qualified, and fully accountable for their professional standards, their qualifications, and their CPD (continuous professional development).
In a Family Law system designed for combative parents there is no real allowance for the views of children and any understanding of how Family Law ultimately impacts on children most of all.
We speak for the children in Family Law so that, finally, the children have a voice.