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Brian Cantwell: Ofsted, Cafcass and the Courts: The New Private Law Equation

Date:10 JUN 2008

Brian Cantwell Private Law Consultant

In January 2008 the report on the first inspection of a Cafcass region (East Midlands) was published by the Office for Standards in Education Childrens Services and Skills (Ofsted). From April 2007 the responsibility for the inspection of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) had been transferred to Ofsted from Her Majestys Inspectorate of Court Administration (HMICA). The report Ofsteds Inspection of Cafcass East Midlands: Key Challenges and Opportunities concluded that Front line delivery is inadequate and needs to improve urgently. In the body of the report references were made to the likelihood that similar weaknesses would be found in other regions when inspected; an inspection report on another Cafcass region is due in imminently. It can be anticipated that comparable criticisms will be made of the agency as a whole over time and that East Midlands is unlikely to be seen as a unique case.

In this article Brian Cantwell examines Ofsted's method of measuring Cafcass' performance and raises concerns about its suitability.

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