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Confusing promises to deal with delays in care proceedings

Date:8 APR 2010

THURS 25/03/2010 - The Ministry of Justice has taken the unusual step of producing a 26 page document setting out a list of promises that the Government, its agencies and local authorities will do in order to reduce delays in care and supervision proceedings.

According to the Ministry of Justice's press release "a new inter-agency approach to reducing unnecessary delay in care and supervision proceedings will come into force on 1 April 2010. This recognises that only by working together as a partnership can we reduce these delays". The partnership includes local authorities, Cafcass, the Legal Services Commission and Her Majesty's Courts Service.

The document, Establishment of a system-wide target for reducing unnecessary delay in care and supervision proceedings, then sets out a series of promises that the various agencies will commit to do. These include: "We will work with Cafcass and the courts to ensure that at least 97% of public law cases have a guardian allocated to them". However, it does not mention when the guardian will be appointed or how the Ministry of Justice will achieve this.

The document makes numerous weighty statements, such as "It is vital that local partners working within the care proceedings system work together and find local solutions to local problems". This is then followed by another promise, this time about improving monitoring performance.

The second half of the document is full of definitions and formulae that resembles a GCSE Maths exam.

To download the document, click here.