The Cafcass framework takes immediate effect and means that, for the first time, Cafcass will be inspected as one national organisation. This makes it unique in Ofsted’s remit.
Cafcass is currently sponsored by the Department for Education and has statutory functions (under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000) in family proceedings where the welfare of children is or may be in question.
We hope that concentrating inspection activity on Cafcass as a single organisation will be the most effective way for Ofsted to support continued improvement, enabling Cafcass to respond to inspection findings and learning across the whole organisation.
We have also published the outcomes of the Cafcass consultations that we ran earlier this year – one with adults and one with children and young people. We are grateful to Cafcass and all those who responded and worked closely with us to develop this framework.
The Cafcass inspection will be unannounced and delivered over a four-week period (three in local Cafcass offices). It includes a focus on national functions and case tracking on site across seven or eight Cafcass local service areas.
Ofsted will evaluate the effectiveness of the new national inspection of Cafcass to ensure that future planning in 2014/15 remains the most appropriate means of supporting and challenging Cafcass to be ‘good’ or better.