Letter to Unison

Dear UNISON
Re: Cafcass Unison Members

I am writing to make you aware of a serious situation developing with those members of
yours who are employees or sub-contractors of Cafcass.

Cafcass produce reports to the Judiciary in both private and public law cases and these
reports are relied upon by the Judiciary in making their judgements on family arrangements,
most especially those involving children.

Cafcass, as an organisation, have historically deflected any complaints from service users
about these reports as being “the professional judgement of the Cafcass employee” and thus
unchallengeable. Service users are invited instead to cross-examine the individual Cafcass
author of a report at Court.

A number of concerned service users, of which I am one, have been undertaking research
into these reports, into how they are written, into Cafcass’ policies and procedures, and into
the training provided by Cafcass to their employees; your members.

It is horrifying to discover that Cafcass provide little or no training on how to write objective
reports to your members and that the training that they do provide is unfit for use; often
based on second hand, refuted or disputed source material, or out-dated viewpoints.

Cafcass provide a set of tools which they themselves have written, but provide no training on
when or how to use these tools, or indeed an policies or guidance on their use.

It seems to me that at some point in the future either a cohort of service users, or their
grown-up children who have been through this process, will seek to pursue legal action
against Cafcass. Based on the replies I and others have received through multiple Freedom
of Information requests it seems likely that Cafcass will simply hide behind the “professional
judgement” curtain and hang your members out to dry; in other words, any legal action will
have to be targeted at your members who are individual Cafcass employees.

I am happy to provide you with a summary of the research undertaken to date along with the
findings on training, tools, and policies obtained from Cafcass, or to meet you to discuss the
seriousness of this and how it will affect your members.

Cafcass have a duty of care to their employees but are failing them. Your members deserve
better.

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.

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