News just in from the FLBA: The Report from Francis Plowden – the Review of Court Fees in Child Care Proceedings – was published yesterday. Francis Plowden recommends (unsurprisingly?) abolition of fees for Local Authorities bringing child care proceedings. The Government has accepted this recommendation, and will implement it in April 2011 alongside the next three-year funding settlement for English local authorities. The full report can be read here.
Although I have not had time to read it for myself I understand that Francis Plowden concludes that “the increased fees are an additional complication to an already complicated field and, specifically, added to the immediate costs of what was already more expensive than other ways of safeguarding children. The new arrangements also seem to be more expensive to administer than the previous arrangements”; he commented that he was “struck by how complex the arrangements for safeguarding are, how poorly understood the interdependencies are by outsiders, but also by some working within the area, and by the poor quality of data. These factors perhaps contributed to the decision to raise fees, which was based on a number of misconceptions.”