Local Family Justice Board – November 2016 Newsletter

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Welcome to the first issue of the Greater Manchester’s Local Family Justice Board’s Newsletter.

Set by the national Family Justice Board, in delivering against its high-level aim, the Board’s Terms of Reference have a particular focus on four aspects of system performance: –

  1. i) reducing delay in public law cases and making progress against the proposed 26-week time limit for care cases;
  2. ii) resolving private law cases out of court where appropriate;

iii) building greater cross-agency coherence; and

  1. iv) tackling variations in local performance

Our local goal in producing a quarterly newsletter is to keep our stakeholders informed and involved. Since we want the newsletter to be as relevant as possible to you we thought the first should provide you with a “who’s, who”

 

Chair                                                   Shirley Brown (HMCTS)

Deputy Chair                                     Jonathan Broad (Manchester City Council)

Observers                                          Family Designated Judge, Her Honour Judge Newton

District Judge Berkley (Lead on Education and Training) and Paul Brearley – Magistrate

LFJB Sponsor                                    Adam Lennon (HMCTS)

ADCS Group                                      Sarah Gatenby (Bolton), Jackie Gower (Bury), Amanda Amesbury (Manchester), Kim Scragg (Oldham), Jill McGregor (Rochdale), Sharon Hubber (Salford), Dominic Tumelty (Tameside), Katherine Mackay (Trafford), Andrew Webb (Stockport), Cathy Rooney (Trafford), Jayne Ivory (Wigan),

CAFCASS                                            Sandie Hayes / Deborah McCallum

Legal Representation                     Alison Bull (Mills-Reeve Solicitors (Mediation)), Donna Roberts, (Stephensons (Public Law – Family Law)), Alison Woodward (Deanscourt Chambers (Bar Representative – Family Law))

Legal Aid Agency                             Jackie Johnson / Sarah Shepherdson

Greater Manchester Police           Vanessa Jardine

HMCTS                                               Sue Brooks, Barbara Stone, Julie Webster, Janette Plunkett, Karen Brandon, Mark Hoath, Simon Vowles,   Patrick Ward and Simon Dodgshon

Depending on local needs a Local Family Justice Board may wish to consider other representatives for full or ad hoc membership or for specific pieces of work. To support actions arising from the Local Family Justice Board, the Public Law Outline Sub Group and Private Law Improvements Sub Group, both meeting quarterly.

Working collaboratively with the Board and sharing information, the Greater Manchester Family Court Forum, Chaired by Designated Family Judge, Her Honour Judge Newton was established in October 2012 to encourage and promote interdisciplinary working in the family justice system locally. It seeks to identify and disseminate best practice and to share information with the Local Family Justice Board and other agencies concerned with practice, procedure and performance in the family jurisdiction.  By forming working groups, projects or initiatives designed to change or improve working practices in Greater Manchester are taken forward.  Regular training events are organised by the Education and Training Committee by way of lunchtime workshops and day conferences, often in partnership with other agencies.  There are 4 Sub Groups which support actions arising, those are the Family Criminal Interface Group, Expert Sub Group and Domestic Abuse Sub Group, Adoption Committee and Voice of the Child Sub Group.  Check out the Family Court Forum website if you haven’t already – http://www.gmfcf.org/gm-family-court-forum.html

Finally, the Greater Manchester Local Authority legal child care leads meet quarterly with a keen focus to discuss and achieve consistency wherever possible in practice across GM.

Here’s a snapshot of LFJB news and reminders from 2016: –

  • Outstanding feedback from the Education Committee’s lunch time learning sessions at the Civil Justice Centre. Don’t miss the next one. Check out the website
  • District Judge Stephens leading the way on access to justice for litigants in person –reports have been fed back to the Family Justice Council on sharing what we great practices have in Greater Manchester. Next project is to make aware to litigants in person what information is available before they actually attend court
  • Private Law – timeliness and FHDRA, figures for June 2016. The cluster is currently at 24.4 weeks with a financial year to date with 23.8 weeks in June. FHDRAs – 88.4% within 6 weeks and are now the best performing in the region.
  • The Court, Cafcass and Greater Manchester Local Authorities are reviewing and refreshing the s7 and s37 Local Protocol
  • Greater Manchester’s average case duration of care and supervision proceedings is 26.1 weeks. The percentage outcome of cases resolved in 26 weeks is XXX%. The national average May – March is XXX. The national target which is 65-75%.       The average number of s31 care and supervision hearings per case is XXXX% which is better than the national average of 5.2% and better than the national target.
  • Calling all Social Workers – don’t replicate in the Final SWET what’s already in the Initial SWET
  • Legal Practitioners – make sure your meaningful contribution to Court Orders is made known before you leave Court – you might not get another chance to input.
  • Legal Practitioners – Public Law Outline Meetings – have you got the right representatives attending those meetings?       Private Practice please liaise with your Legal Aid Agency Representative, GMLA’s
  • Don’t copy the judiciary into emails unless you have been specifically asked to
  • Public Law Court Bundle – maximum page number is 350 pages unless the Judge has given you permission to increase
  • Next LFJB Quarterly newsletter will be February 2017 with the LFJB Conference being held on 15th February 2017

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