Just in case anyone has missed it ‘The Office’ is a British ‘mockumentary’ sitcom, first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 9 July 2001’
However, my jaw dropped when I read this weapons grade nonsense from the Cafcass spin ‘engine’. The last two paragraphs would be too implausible and cringeworthy even for an episode of “The Office’. But, once again, real life is even stranger than fiction. Before putting the virtual pen to paper I had to wait a day and check that it was not April fools day nor was this a spoof.
The article trumpets a drone of hollow slogans (emphasis added):
Commenting on her new role, Teresa said: “I jumped at the chance to join Cafcass, given its strong commitment to evidence-based practice to improve outcomes for children and families. Cafcass has a unique opportunity – with its national perspective, skilled workforce, investment in research and data, and commitment to innovation – to be the engine of change across the family justice system and wider family policy. I am really looking forward to working with staff across the organisation to make that happen.”
Cafcass’ Chief Executive, Anthony Douglas, added: “Teresa is a high-performing top strategist in our sector and can help us to drive our own service and the family justice system forward as we seek to find the best ways to help some of the most vulnerable children in the country.”
This statements betray corporate aspirations that would certainly be sectionable under the Mental Health Act 1983 if they had been uttered by the ‘man on the Clapham Omnibus’..
Just in case anyone is in any doubt, about either their status or what Cafcass are actually required to do, there are some strong clues about what this beleagured organisation should be focussing on in their title. i.e ’Cafcass’ is the ‘Children and Family Court Advisory and Support SERVICE’.
Section 12 of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 describes what Parliament wanted of Cafcass when they were set up
’12 Principal functions of the Service.
(1) In respect of family proceedings in which the welfare of children is or may be in question, it is a function of the Service to—
(a) safeguard and promote the welfare of the children,
(b ) give advice to any court about any application made to it in such proceedings,
(c) make provision for the children to be represented in such proceedings,
(d) provide information, advice and other support for the children and their families.’
Cafcass statutory responsibilities and duties are therefore pithily expressed and unambiguous in the enabling legislation.
It has to be said that I have personal experience of some excellent Cafcass workers but I think that most of us also have experiences we’d rather forget and we would prefer them to just focus on getting the simple things right: like doing their jobs and addressing identified problems like dismal attitudes to training, (See https://voiceofthechild.org.uk) dealing with the prejudiced ‘mindset’ possessed by some of their workforce (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sewELMUGs_o) and safeguarding our children by simply being professional and keeping up.
At a time when their workforce complain increasingly of over work and pressure it seems like managerial madness to embark upon yet more hollow and vacuous PR.
Do mindless slogans convince anyone or ever make cogent arguments?
Out of interest, is anyone actually taken in by latest Cafcass’ spin?
See for yourself here and please tell cafcass what you think!, https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/2018/03/06/teresa-williams-starts-cafcass-director-strategy/