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BASW consultation response to Public and Private Law Interim Reports

Member feedback shows some agreements but also pinpoints what is lacking in both reports

BASW England and SWU have completed our survey of members and formulated our response for both, the Department for Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) ‘Children Cases in the Family Court consultation’ on public law, and for private law.

The full summary of our contributions to the Private Law report can be read here,  but key highlights are as follows:

  • We agree with cutting out process driven activities, no one would argue with this but there will be gains and losses which need analysis
  • Out of court services sounds great but adequate funding is desperately needed
  • It’s not realistic for social workers to train court professionals on mediation and conciliation, especially in an environment of unmanageable caseloads and demand
  • Alternative means of conciliation is not a bad concept, but “shuttle mediation” is not ‘meaningful’ mediation
  • More analysis earlier on in the process to prevent people by-passing necessary systems is welcomed

The full summary of our contributions to the Public Law report can be read here, but key highlights are as follows:

  • We support the principal of having continuity of the social worker and welcome recommendations for better multiagency work and a renewed focus pre-proceeding work and management of risk
  • We support the sharing of good practice and development of the conference chair and IRO role
  • We support the emphasis on the need for good relationship-based model during pre-proceedings and Public Law Outline in accordance with the BASW England 80/20 Campaign
  • We support a more collaborative approach to sharing information between local authorities and CAFCASS
  • More guidance is needed on the aftercare (post court) arrangements for Special Guardianship Orders on what to expect in terms of practical and financial support from local authorities

Further information