The Pre-Proceedings Protocol for cases where Local Authorities are considering whether to take children at risk into care was introduced by the Designated Family Judge for the Bristol area HHJ Wildblood QC on 1 July last.
At Judge Wildblood’s request and with the knowledge and support of the President of the Family Division, a team of former practitioners, now researchers, from the University of West of England is conducting some research on the workings of the Bristol area Protocol and its effectiveness. We are also researching a similar protocol used in Chester. We shall be talking to everyone involved, from children to Judges. The researchers very much welcome the views of private practitioners who work in the field and have experience of the Protocol. We are particularly interested if you also have experience of the situation before the Protocol was introduced.
We intend to report to Judge Wildblood and HHJ De Haas QC (Designated Family Judge for Cheshire and Merseyside) and to the President in mid-March. What we report will be taken into account by the President in his consideration of a possible national protocol, and by Judges Wildblood and De Haas in their consideration of the effectiveness of the local protocols.
If you do public childcare work, we are looking to conduct reasonably short interviews with you either face to face or over the telephone. We are mindful of the pressure of time in practice, and will be as quick as we can. But the length of the interview will depend upon how much you have to say. We are doing the interviews during January and February.
We hope you will recognise the importance of the work and that it is worth taking a little time out from the day job to participate. After all, you are/will be affected by the outcome.
If you want more information or are willing to participate, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org