There has been a sharp decline in Cafcass's use of its self-employed Children's Guardian practitioners, according to a new survey by Nagalro.
The professional association for children's guardians conducted a survey of its members which revealed that of the 96 responses only 68 were acting as Children's Guardians in at least one case. More than half had four cases or fewer, and most are no longer being allocated new cases. Nagalro estimates that within six months only a handful of self-employed contractors will still hold cases.
When Cafcass started in 2001 there were over 750 self-employed contractors in the service. According to Nagalro, Cafcass now employs only 130 contractors.
Ann Haigh, Chair of Nagalro said: "At a time of unprecedented increases in public law cases it is concerning that Cafcass has chosen to largely dispense with its self-employed workforce. Our employed members report very heavy workloads which too often leave them unable to provide the level of service they see as necessary."