UK Family Law Reform

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----- Original Message -----
From: Michael.HOWARD@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
To: dave.mortimer@tiscali.co.uk
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2005 10:20 AM
Subject: In no sense has there been any abandonment of the Early Interventions initiative

Dear Mr David Mortimer

Thank you for your email of 6 February to the Secretary of State. I hope you will understand that the Secretary of State receives a large amount of correspondence and is unable to reply personally to each one. I have been asked to reply to your email on behalf of Ruth Kelly and Margaret Hodge, who are part of the same ministerial team, working together on the issues you raise as well as with their counterparts at the Department for Constitutional Affairs.

The Family Resolutions Pilot Project is piloting a model of dispute resolution in child contact cases, without needing full intervention of the court. It is one of a range of measures the Government is implementing to encourage and support parents devise themselves practical and flexible contact arrangements, in the best interests of their children. The Pilot is being run in the Inner London Family Proceedings Court, Brighton County Court and Sunderland County Court. It will test the effectiveness of group discussions in raising parents awareness of their children’s needs, following their parents’ divorce or separation. Then, with the aid of the Parenting Plans and the advice of a CAFCASS officer, participation in the Pilot will help parents to develop contact arrangements themselves.

The Pilot Project is overseen by a Steering Group made up of representatives from the Department for Education and Skills, the Department for Constitutional Affairs, CAFCASS and the judiciary. The Pilot’s Design Group was made up of representatives from the aforementioned, as well as family law solicitors and the parenting organisations, RELATE and the Parenting Forum.

In no sense has there been any abandonment of the Early Interventions initiative as proposed by NATC - rather an adaptation. We have been well aware of the Early Interventions proposals and how it links to what is practiced in other jurisdictions. In fact this informed planning of the Family Resolutions Pilot Project. However, there are sound reasons why we could not adopt Early interventions as proposed by NATC to our own jurisdiction. Early Interventions would be compulsory with a legally enforceable minimum of contact time for both parents. The Children Act 1989 (England & Wales) does not have a legal presumption of contact. The principle of the Act is that the interests of the child are paramount, not the rights of parents. Furthermore Family Resolutions is not compulsory; it can only work if people want to engage with it. There is, though, a clear expectation among the Judges, legal advisors, court staff and welfare organisations that the normal procedure involves participation in the scheme. Responsible parents and other parties applying for contact are unlikely to decline to be involved in a system which will give the best chance of satisfactory resolution at the earliest opportunity.

I also attach a table for your information that shows the differences between FRPP and Early Interventions.

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Robson
FAMILIES IN CHANGE TEAM
VULNERABLE CHILDREN
jennifer.robson@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
http://www.dfes.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2005/0006316

----- Original Message -----
From: dave.mortimer@tiscali.co.uk
To: Michael.HOWARD@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2005 3:55 PM
Subject: Family Law: DfES efforts to deceive the public are no basis for national policy

Dear Mr Howard,

Thank you for your email of 2 March signed by Jennifer Robson. Many of the assertions the Department makes are:

- blatant untruths
- gross distortions
- overt contradictions

Efforts to deceive the public are no basis for national policy.

The departmental failure to introduce Early Interventions after its DCA approval has wasted something like £500 million a year - backdated to October 2003. This was when a Mr Bruce Clark - without telling anyone - first decided to discard EI and embark on a jaunt of his own.

We have here, embodied in your email, an attempt at a cover-up; which involves the Department in further deceptions, compounding those recently exposed in the Guardian. I paste below a sample of corroborative corresopondence indicating the problem's gravity.

What formal channels are open to the public to lodge a complaint against individual civil servants on points of mendacity and mismanagement?

I set out some considerations below, and look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Mortimer

The 'Misconduct and Mismanagement' Issue

The attachment you supply contradicts the email which you say it supports.

The text of the email asserts - quite falsely - "In no sense has there been any abandonment of the Early Interventions initiative as proposed by NATC"; the attachment confirms, in a long list, the Department's outright abandonment of EI.

In a further twist, this attachment (like the main text itself ) is vitiated by confusions and distortions.

Both the email text and the attachment incorporate demonstrable factual errors.

Many seem deliberate.

Redress: the Appropriate Procedure?

Presumably the reality is that you personally are not the source of these and other lies. So there is no point in lodging a complaint against you. It would have to go higher.

Here's the way I understand things.

The source of these misrepresentations could be Bruce Clark himself. This would tally with his initial unauthorised hi-jacking of the Early Interventions programme - see bleow - coupled with his consistent pretence thereafter (since EI was the approved project) that he was still implementing the programme he had in fact decided to kill.

As noted in the recent ConAffCom report, this course of dealing has undercut the Green Paper.

There is no point in complaining about Bruce Clark to Bruce Clark. And, on the basis of the correspondence below, presumably Athea Efunshile (who I believe to be Bruce Clark's boss) would have to protect Mr Clark; otherwise, she puts herself on the spot for failing to control a subordinate. The same might apply to Ms Efunshile's superior.

How high must we go in order to open this up? Is the place to start the Permament Secretary, who I understand to be Normington Clark? You will see from the copy letter below that serious issues are involved.

Althea Efunshile and Bruce Clark
Safeguarding Children & Supporting Families
Department for Education and Skills
Caxton House
Tothill Street SW1H 9NA

REGISTERED DELIVERY

17 June 2004

Dear Althea and Bruce,

EARLY INTERVENTIONS: Replacing an Agreed Project with its Opposite

I refer to my letters of 12 April, 19 April, 5 May, 14 May and 3 June 2004 to which a substantive reply is awaited. Might I summarise the position?

There are widespread concerns, within the professions, public and media, that you have replaced a professionally approved-and-designed project with its opposite.

That is, on 8 October 2003 the DCA received a detailed proposal for the NATC Early Interventions Pilot Project - which has the written support of the DCA Minister, the President of the Family Division, the High Court Judiciary, the Family Law Bar Association, the 03/04 Chair of the SFLA and the Coalition for Equal Parenting; and strong support from leading child development psychiatrists.

Instead of implementing this finished project, you took it as an invitation to start on design afresh with “no in-built assumption in favour of an already existing model”. This backwards step, dismantling nine years’ development work, has to date yielded no more than a DfES concept which is not viable on first principles. I quote the record:

“DfES Project Management 8 October 2003 to 11 May 2004

project delivered to DfES in turnkey condition

· core papers mislaid

· core papers unread

· key feature overlooked

· project replaced by its opposite

· key appointments made on lack of project familiarity

· project originators excluded

· project divested of almost all relevant expertise” NATC / DfES 14.5.04

May I have your comments?

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Cyriax

-----Original Message-----
From: dave.mortimer@tiscali.co.uk
Sent: 14 March 2005 12:35
To: Janet.COULL-TRISIC@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
Subject: Family Law: DfES efforts to deceive the public are no basis for national policy

Dear Janet,
I referto my email of 4th March 2005 to Michael Howard. Would you be good enough to reply setting out the appropriate procedure for lodging a complaint against him and/or our his superiors for issuing false information.
Yours sincerely
David Mortimer

----- Original Message -----
From: Janet.COULL-TRISIC@dfes.gsi.gov.uk
To: dave.mortimer@tiscali.co.uk
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 2:49 PM
Subject: Family Law: DfES efforts to deceive the public are no basis for national policy

Dear Mr Mortimer

I think the most appropriate action would be to address your concerns to our Permanent Secretary, David Normington. You can write to him at:

DfES
Sanctuary Buildings
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT

Regards

Janet

"The cost to the good citizens for their indifference in public affairs is to be ruled by evil men"

http://www.human-rights.org/confraud.htm#records

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