Making a target work: messages from a pilot of the six-month time limit on care proceedings in England

Beckett, Chris and Dickens, Jonathan (2018) Making a target work: messages from a pilot of the six-month time limit on care proceedings in England. Child and Family Social Work, 23 (3). pp. 390-398. ISSN 1356-7500

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Since 2014, it has been a legal requirement in England and Wales for child care proceedings to be concluded, apart from ‘exceptional cases’, within 26 weeks. When this was first proposed there were concerns that it might lead to poorer decision-making, or to delay being squeezed to either side of the court proceedings, before or afterwards. This paper reports on the messages from a pilot programme to hit the 26-week target that took place in London in 2012-13. The study compared the progress of the cases from the pilot year with those the year before, 180 cases in total, involving 256 children. The local authorities involved were able to achieve considerable improvements in timeliness, not just in the proceedings, but for the pre- and post-court processes too; and the quality and fairness of decisions did not seem to be impaired, in terms of the plans for the children and subsequent outcomes over a period of two years. ‘Targets’ do not generally find a warm welcome in the social work literature, but this paper shows that when collaboratively implemented, with a measure of flexibility and adequate resources, they can be an effective way of helping to achieve positive change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: courts,outcomes in child welfare intervention,management,children in care system,statutory agencies work
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Social Work
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Child Protection & Family Support
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Centres > Centre for Research on Children and Families
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2017 06:05
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2023 13:12
DOI: 10.1111/cfs.12428

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