In our work, Cafcass has to demonstrate procedural fairness, a lack of bias and an evidence base for each recommendation we make to court. It is crucial that when we start our work with children and their families, or other professionals, we have made it clear what we will do, when and why. Our work aims to achieve the same outcome in every case – a better life for the child in question. We have to practice transparency throughout our involvement, including afterwards, by being able to reflect with those we have worked with on whether we were able to help in the way we said we would. Inside Cafcass, we place great store by a philosophy of ‘you said, we did’, in relation to any sensible suggestion from service users about how the organisation and our services can improve.
It is important that we reach out to the people we work with and will be working with in future, using a range of media to do so. We are considering a programme of gaining feedback on our work via phone calls, text surveys, exit questionnaires and a permanent opportunity to comment to us via our website. We have just launched three videos, aimed at parents, children and young people, which explain the family court process. We have also refreshed how information is presented on our website, directing users to sections for children and young people, or sections for grown-ups, and then pointing users to the area that will help them find the information they need.
We want our website to be welcoming, friendly, and full of useful information and encouragement. It is part of our service, not separate from it. Our website should help children and families to understand how the family justice system will work for them and we also want it to be a source of support during a tough time.