Cafcass's response to increased demand for its services - Public Accounts Committee Contents

Supplementary memorandum from Cafcass

Questions 53-60 and 65 (Mr Bacon): The cost of redundancies

Cafcass initiated a restructuring of its National Office and Corporate Service support functions in 2009. As a result of this exercise the individuals affected were entitled to contractual benefits. The payments made to each employee are detailed below.

Job Title
    Costs (£)
SeverancePension Total

Employee 1
20,800.00 20,800.00
Employee 28,939.00 8,939.00
Employee 355,439.85 103,242.00158,681.85
Employee 435,511.19 24,411.0059,922.19
Employee 55,209.49 5,209.49
Employee 664,814.00 64,814.00
Employee 717,799.13 17,799.13
Employee 815,062.42 15,062.42
Employee 946,136.00 46,136.00
Employee 109,425.81 9,425.81
Employee 11 Corporate Director
Sherry Malik
Employee 12 Corporate Director
Lamorna Wooderson
164,610.7827,913.00 192,523.78
Employee 13 Corporate Director
Jane Booth
44,893.8517,003.00 61,896.85
Employee 1415,844.89 15,844.89
Employee 1511,655.00 11,655.00
Employee 1637,363.00 37,363.00
Employee 1712,242.00 12,242.00
Employee 1817,705.00 17,705.00
Employee 1912,570.28 12,570.28
Employee 2017,472.20 17,472.20
Employee 2120,223.23 20,223.23
Employee 227,183.02 7,183.02
Employee 235,103.10 5,103.10
Employee 2417,631.00 17,631.00
Employee 2514,191.74 14,191.74
Employee 260.00 0.00
Employee 2716,897.00 16,897.00
Employee 284,493.00 4,493.00
Employee 2913,769.00 13,769.00
Employee 3032,323.57 32,323.57
Employee 312,838.35 2,838.35
Employee 322,105.00 2,105.00
Employee 339,903.00 9,903.00
Employee 3413,966.88 13,966.88
Employee 3518,733.10 18,733.10
Employee 369,366.55 9,366.55
Employee 376,918.47 6,918.47
Employee 384,372.59 4,372.59
Employee 392,128.76 2,128.76
Employee 4027,090.00 27,090.00
Employee 412,752.00 2,752.00
Employee 422,215.84 2,215.84
Employee 432,159.00 2,159.00
645,400.94 421,920.001,067,320.94

  The restructuring programme resulted in 50 posts being deleted from the organisation's structure.

  The table above outlines payments made to 43 of these staff under the Cafcass Severance and Voluntary Early Retirement (VER) Scheme during this period.

  Seven staff left as a result of the restructuring but did not meet eligibility criteria for benefits under the Severance or VER scheme and therefore no payments were made.

  The restructuring achieved cashable efficiency savings of £2.7 million from 1 April 2010.


  Cafcass operates a severance scheme which provides benefits to individuals who find themselves in a redundancy situation. Redundancy is a last resort once other options have been exhausted, eg redeployment to other posts. If a redundancy is unavoidable, the Cafcass scheme provides the following payments:

    — 1 week for each year of service up to the age of 23;

    — 2 weeks pay for each year of service between ages of 23 and 41;

    — 3 weeks pay for each year of service age 41 and over; and

    — these payments are subject to a limit of 66 weeks pay.

  The severance payments outlined in the table above are based strictly on length of service and contractual pay only using the schedule outlined above. There were no enhancements made to any of the individual severance payments made.


  Subject to eligibility, staff that are made redundant and are aged over 50 (55 from 1 April 2010) may also be entitled to early release of their pension benefits under the Local Government Pension Scheme.

  The pension figures in the table constitute the employer costs of the "actuarial strain" of releasing pension benefits early in line with the Pension Scheme regulations.

  Staff must meet strict eligibility criteria and be members of Cafcass' pension scheme, operated by West Yorkshire Pension Fund to access VER payments.

  The pension payment and costs are based on pensionable service in the scheme only. No added years or enhancements were provided to any pension payments made.

Questions 86-93 (Chair, Mrs McGuire): Sick leave

  The table below plots out the number of days lost to sickness amongst Family Court Advisers (FCAs) and amongst all other staff in 2009-10 and in 2010-11 to date. It then compares the two years to produce the year on year change to days lost to sickness.

Year on Year—days
AprMay JunJul AugSepOct NovDec JanFebMar
FCA days lost—2009-101,185 1,2051,4401,999 1,8131,6101,784 1,6781,3091,483 1,1031,303
FCA days lost—2010-11951 1,0431,3511,262 1,030
Difference +/-%-20% -13%-6% -37%-43%
All other staff days lost—2009-10 562540724 796654755 870793556 624509656
All other staff days lost—2010-11 476464590 567494
Difference +/-%-15% -14%-19% -29%-24%
Total days lost—2009-101,747 1,7452,1642,795 2,4672,3652,651 2,4691,8622,093 1,6001,947
Total days lost—2010-111,416 1,4791,9271,829 1,524
Difference +/-%-19% -15%-11% -35%-38%

  The data above highlights that there has been substantial reduction in sickness absence between 2009-10 and 2010-11. The average days lost for FCAs in 2009-10 was 16.4 (based on 1093.7 FTE—full time equivalent) and since 1 April 2010, this is now averaging 13.0 days (based on 1044.1 FTE). This is projected to reduce to 10-11 days by 31 March 2011. Cafcass is also currently in the process of recruiting a further 40 FCAs so the FTE figures will increase from October 2010.

  Cafcass recognise the impact of sickness absence and there is a corporate focus on managing this in a supportive and business focussed way.Managers prioritise this and work in close partnership with HR to support improved attendance at work, and take formal action to challenge sickness where appropriate.


  From April 2009 to August 2010 formal procedures have been invoked in over 225 sickness cases. In 35 of these cases, staff have left the organisation as a result of ill-health capability or retirement.

  Preventive work (stress audits, well-being days) have been undertaken in 14 hotspot teams with the majority showing a decline in sickness absence.

  Early intervention has been particularly successful in tackling sickness absence (eg: 95% of staff absent for more than 20 days are now referred to Occupational Health). The standard practice is for all staff to be referred to Occupational Health after two weeks of continuous absence.

  Short and long term sickness absence are regularly monitored in Human Resources Management Information reports with analysis of trends and patterns shared with operational managers. Challenge and support to improve sickness absence is regular feature of Service Improvement Meetings (SIMs) and supported by HR.

  There is a specific focus on tackling long-term sickness absence. There were 43 staff on long-term sick leave at the end of July 2010—this has been reduced to 28 staff as of end of August 2010 and is currently down to 18 staff as at 17 September 2010.

  There is an active ongoing promotion and early intervention of Employee Assistance Programme support, specifically the Confidential Care and Counselling (CiC) service for stress, depression and anxiety cases.


  The reasons for the increased FCA sickness rates in 2009-10 include:

    — the new performance management framework (over 165 staff going through some form of performance procedures during this period) and substantial increase in work for the organisation. This intensive performance improvement drive did impact negatively on absence and turnover in the same period, with poor performers replaced with competent new staff;

    — performance management linked to Cafcass' pay system, from April 2008. The significant tranche of staff had their performance appraised in April and May 2009. Only staff assessed as satisfactory or better were eligible for pay progression;

    — robust performance management through direct supervision under the Quality for Children Framework (Q4C); and

    — targeted support and intervention under the Cafcass Performance Conduct Policy.

September 2010

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Prepared 11 November 2010