The Family Justice Board, chair by David Norgrove, has set out the actions the Board and its partners will take to achieve the Government's vision of a family justice system that supports the delivery of the best possible outcomes for all children who come into contact with it.
The Family Justice Board was established in March 2012 as part of the Government response to the Family Justice Review. The Board's overall aim is to drive significant improvements in the performance of the family justice system.
The Family Justice Board Action Plan to Improve the Performance of the Family Justice System (pdf) sets out 13 actions the Board intends to carry out over the next two years. These are:
Action 1 - Complement / support action on case management led by the judiciary, (including publication of the family court guide) to ensure that more robust and effective administrative processes and better case tracking systems for care cases are in place within the family courts.
Action 2 - Eliminate the unnecessary commissioning of expert reports and improve the timeliness and quality of those that are commissioned.
Action 3 - Improve local authority social care practice including work to ensure that the effective court-related social work practice already seen in some areas is extended to all.
Action 4 - Ensure the timely appointment of guardians, provision of high quality and timely analytical reports to the court and effective representation of children's interests.
Action 5 - Ensure that self represented litigants are able to negotiate the family justice system effectively.
Action 6 - Work through the Family Mediation Council (FMC) to achieve a harmonised system of accreditation for family mediators and better regulation of those services.
Action 7 - Improve the identification of risk to children or vulnerable adults through non-court services and develop practical tools and guidance for use by these services.
Action 8 - In partnership with Judicial Office, develop and implement revised pathways for private law cases.
Action 9 - Monitor and improve performance across the system.
Action 10 - Improve the quality and consistency of management information, research and advice available on the family justice system to help improve system performance.
Action 11 - Establish an effective network of Local Family Justice Boards (LFJBs) that drive performance improvement.
Action 12 - Develop an inter-disciplinary workforce strategy that provides everyone in the family justice system with the appropriate training and support to enable further development of skills and knowledge.
Action 13 - Develop and implement a system-wide communications strategy to publicise and secure support for Family Justice Board's reform agenda.
The Plan runs until 2015, three years after the Board's creation, and will be reviewed and updated annually. The Plan currently focuses on actions the Board will deliver by 2013 and 2014. Further actions for 2015 will be included in subsequent iterations, as the Board carries progress reviews.