Learning and improvement
Our strategic plan (2019-23) which we published last September, made it clear that learning and improvement is a key priority for Cafcass. What we mean by this is that we will be prioritising activities that enable us to hear from people or to consider our practice when it is clear that we could have done better. We hope to be able to listen more intently and talk more openly about why we have got things wrong and to take time considering what our action needs to be to put it right but also to be able to demonstrate our learning in the practice system. In June, the Ministry of Justice published their Expert Report on ‘Harm in the family courts’, which included feedback from children, families and professionals and included important feedback for us. In response, we have set up our first Learning and Improvement Board. Our plan is that working with specialist charities, the judiciary, local authorities, people with lived experience of domestic abuse, our family justice young people’s board and Family Rights Group, we will be able to learn, reflect and plan our improvement.
We will begin this work with a baseline audit as part of the learning review we have committed to undertake. This will (along with the recommendations in the Ministry of Justice report) help us to describe the improvements we want to make as well as to notice and celebrate where we have practice strengths. The new board will be able to influence and focus those improvements at its second meeting in January 2021. I will ensure that we share that learning.
Importantly the Learning and Improvement Board will help to moderate our internal audits, giving us feedback on our practice and the areas in which we need to improve. We are looking forward to this partnership and have a strong belief that the Board is a step in the right direction in our learning and improvement journey.