Press release

Children to shape the future of the family justice system

Children are the most important people in the Family Justice system and their voice needs to be heard in proposed reforms to Family Justice.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Children and young people are to have their voices heard at the heart of Government as an independent advisor invites them to gives their opinions on reforming the Family Justice System into a service tailored to their needs.
The innovative Young People’s Guide, drawn up by Children’s Rights Director for England Roger Morgan and published today by the independent panel, is written specifically for young people to accompany the interim report published by the Family Justice Review. It gives them a unique opportunity to participate in the ongoing consultation and their views will be given the same consideration by the Panel.
David Norgrove, Chair of the Family Justice Review Panel, said:
‘Children are the most important people in the Family Justice system and it is vital that they have a voice in shaping its future. The publication of the Young Person’s Guide gives them this opportunity and the Panel will carefully consider what they say.
‘Our recommendations aim to bring children to the forefront by creating greater coherence through organisational change and better management, making the system more able to cope with current and future pressures and diverting more issues away from court where appropriate.’
The recommendations of the review include reforms to the existing Family Justice system to see children and families all the way through the justice system with greater support and more efficiency; reforms to the way existing agencies work with families which deliver results more quickly for children; and a simpler service for families which are separating, aimed at helping them to focus on their children and to reach agreement, if possible without going to court.
Roger Morgan, Children’s Rights Director for England said:
‘I spend a lot of time listening to what young people have to say about how they are looked after and reporting these messages to Government. It is essential that children and young people are told about proposals that will directly affect them and that they are given a voice in the decisions which are made about their future, and I am pleased to have played a role in the publication of the Young Person’s Guide to the Family Justice Review.’
The Family Justice Review Panel will make its final recommendations to Governments in England and Wales this autumn. 
Young People’s Guide to the Family Justice Review with a full summary of the panel’s recommendations

Notes to editors

  1. For further details, please contact the press office on 020 3334 3536 
  2. This week is National Family Week (30 May - 5 June)
  3. The consultation will close on 23 June.
  4. The expert panel were appointed by the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Education, and the Welsh Assembly Government on 16 February 2010. The review is being led by an independent chair, David Norgrove. Panel members include Mr Justice McFarlane, the Family Division Liaison Judge for the Midlands, John Coughlan CBE, Director of Children’s Services at Hampshire County Council, Dame Gillian Pugh, Chair of the National Children’s Bureau, Keith Towler, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Baroness Shireen Richie.
  5. Information about the Panel members conducting the Review:
* David Norgrove is Chair of the Low Pay Commission and Deputy Chair of the British Museum. He was formerly Chair of the Pensions Regulator, Director of Marks and Spencer, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and a Treasury official. He is trained as an economist. 
* Mr Justice McFarlane is currently the Family Division Liaison Judge for the Midlands. McFarlane J has been a judge of the High Court, Family Division, since 2005 
* John Coughlan CBE is Director of Children's Services at Hampshire County Council. John is a respected Director of Children's Services and was influential in establishing the Association of Directors of Children's Services (ADCS). 
* Dame Gillian Pugh, is Chair of the National Children's Bureau. Formerly Chief Executive of Coram Family, Gillian is also a member of the Children's Workforce Development Council, a Board member of the Training and Development Agency for Schools and has held numerous advisory positions to Government departments. 
* Keith Towler is the current Children's Commissioner for Wales following his appointment in 2007. He has previously worked at Save the Children in Wales and NACRO. He will represent children's interests and will also provide a Welsh perspective on the panel's work. 
* Baroness Shireen Ritchie is Lead Member for Children for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. She is Chair of the Children and Young People Board at the Local Government Association and is a member of the board of Cafcass.       6. Government Representatives:  
* Sarah Albon is Director, Ministry of Justice. 
* Shirley Trundle CBE is Director, Department for Education. 
* Robert Pickford is Director, Welsh Assembly Government.
Published 3 June 2011