Clause 2 - Monitoring contact

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:45 pm ar 14 Mawrth 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Children, Young People and Families), Department for Education and Skills, Minister of State (Education and Skills) (Children, Young People and Families) 6:45, 14 Mawrth 2006

I will now address the hon. Gentleman’s points. There is a process going on within CAFCASS, but before I go into that I shall say a little about funding.

We are working with CAFCASS to finalise the funding for 2006–07. Although the baseline of £100.8 million will be unchanged, we have identified additional capital funding of £1.8 million for a new CAFCASS IT system, and we are looking at other priority capital projects. That is important, because one of the processes that CAFCASS needs to continue—the chief executive has already made good progress—is refining the way in which it approaches certain cases. For instance, it needs to eliminate its backlogs—it has been given extra money with which to do that, initially for one year and then extended for two—and to put its business into a steady state. It has made great progress, and that has depended on its refining the ways in which it goes about some of its business. For example, it has reduced the arguably unnecessary amount of time taken on some cases in order to concentrate on more difficult work.

CAFCASS has done well in recent years in coping with rising demand and staying within budget. The chief executive has embarked on the process and that is showing results. Therefore, the process needs to continue so that it can get to the steady state in which it will be able to accommodate its extra responsibilities. I believe that it will do so, thanks to the process through which it is going and the additional resources that we have provided, which will help it, through the IT system, to refine the way in which it does things. It is critical that, through improved case management and a reduction in report writing, the judiciary should be able to assist CAFCASS in managing the demands that the courts make on it.