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London pilot project reduces duration of care proceedings from 49 to 26 weeks

‘Triborough’ research published

A team from the Centre for Research on Children and Families at the University of East Anglia has evaluated a high profile pilot project in London to reduce the duration of care proceedings.

The pilot was a year-long programme running from April 2012 to March 2013, in the 'Triborough' local authorities – Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster. The pilot succeeded in getting the median duration down from 49 weeks the year before, to 26 weeks (based on cases starting in the first nine months of the pilot, and excluding those that went to the specialist 'Family Drugs and Alcohol Court').

This significant change was thanks to concerted effort from the local authority social work and legal teams, private solicitors, the courts and Cafcass. All involved were conscious of the need to balance swifter decision-making with proper requirements of fairness and thoroughness.

The key findings were as follows:

The researchers were Dr Chris Beckett, Dr Jonathan Dickens and Sue Bailey. The full report is available here.