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(Family Division; Sir Nicholas Wall P; 25 October 2010)
The first risk assessment by a Cafcass officer identified some serious risks from police information. The Cafcass officer's manager decided the first report should not be sent to court, explaining that this was because of ‘quality assurance issues'. The manager sent the case to another officer who amended the report and filed it. The judge, who was aware that this report was not the original, was concerned that Cafcass was withholding information from the court. The judge ordered disclosure of the original report.
In fact the original report had never been filed, and was not being relied on because it did not meet the terms of the disclosure protocol, not because of quality assurance issues. Under the protocol, Cafcass was not permitted to refer in reports to police information not relevant to the child or to give copy of original information to the parties or their legal representatives. Cafcass apologised for failing to make true position clear to judge.
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