When we inspect Cafcass we assess how well it provides advice to the family courts and meets the needs of the children and families who use its services.

Inspection of service areas

At the moment we are concentrating our inspections on the 21 Cafcass service areas.

In the inspection of service areas we meet with a variety of Cafcass staff to focus on leadership and management, the quality of services that Cafcass provides and the outcomes for children and young people. In every inspection we ensure that Cafcass makes the safety of children and young people its first priority.

We use an agreed set of standards to assess whether the service Cafcass provides is outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

To help us reach our judgment we meet with children and young people and their families, consult with judges and local authorities and speak to key stakeholders and user groups. We also evaluate front line practice through direct observation.

We ask Cafcass to provide their own evaluation of how well they meet their statutory responsibilities and the standards required of them.

Each inspection identifies areas for improvement.

We monitor the progress of improvement in those Cafcass service areas where we judge that their service provision is inadequate. This can mean close monitoring and where there are serious concerns it may lead to intervention in the running of a Cafcass service area.