Court directed FGC's

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Havering FGC
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Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:54 pm

Court directed FGC's

Post by Havering FGC » Fri May 16, 2014 3:33 pm

I have had a case where the paternal and maternal famiyl do not wish to come together to agree a plan. The parents have non molestations out on each other and there are risks of violence between other family members. I could not get the famiyl to agree to come together and we could not go ahead with an FGC. However, the court direction states that an FGC is convened and the family must come together and the parents are to be present.
I have been directed to go ahead. I have refused as I do not wish to risk losing my accreditation or the projects. My manager has been told this must go ahead. Any views?

Havering FGC
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:54 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Havering FGC » Mon May 19, 2014 9:46 am

Also, the judge wants minutes from the FGC.

Sean Haresnape
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:38 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Sean Haresnape » Thu May 29, 2014 9:41 pm

My understanding is that the FGC is voluntary and cannot be mandated by the court. I can't see on what basis the court can enforce the family to attend and to do so would in any event run counter to the principles of the FGC process. If the family continue to resist then what powers does the court have to make them do it? I would feel inclined to ask your legal department to explain the legal grounds for the decision and to put this in writing which you could share with the family. This document (http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/ ... r+2011.pdf) which has been developed by FRG with the help of CAFCASS has gone to all courts. It sets out the principles of FGCs and has been endorsed by the Family Justice Council. It would be useful to circulate this within your department, particularly to your legal department.

Sean Haresnape
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:38 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Sean Haresnape » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:06 pm

This was an issue that was raised by three separate FGC services at the network meeting in Hertfordshire yesterday and does feel to be an increasingly challenging issue. Can any other projects who have experienced the court/judge 'directing a family to have an FGC' please post this information on the noticeboard and we can begin to compile info to take forward.

The questions raised in the network discussion about this issue were:
  • What right of reply do FGC projects and families have to the court directing a family to have an FGC?
    What if the timescales offered to complete the process make it impossible to organise the FGC in accordance with the standards and safely?
    What support is available to coordinators and projects in these circumstances?
    What would be the possible consequences for coordinators in not complying with the requirements of the court?
Any thoughts?
Cheers
Sean

Staffordshire FGC
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Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:59 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Staffordshire FGC » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:17 am

We had this issue when we first set up in Staffordshire and we spent some time meeting with the judges to explain the process and worked closely with our legal department delivering training on the PLO and FGC interface. This has meant our legal team are well versed in FGC's and the ethos behind them. we made good use of the FRG guidance you linked in with too Sean.
More often than not here we will get the social workers calling from court to see what timescale we can deliver the completed FGC by and that then informs their directions. if family are claerly saying in court they are willing and ready to go ahead then we usually provide a 4 week timescale but explain it may be 6 depending on the wider family context. We have managed thus far (9 years) to maintain that the FGC is voluntary and that we will explore the FGC with the family if directed at court but do not hold them where families do not agree to it.
We don't take minutes of FGC's here so the only thing the court would have is a record of the meeting detailing who attended, when and where a brief introduction paragraph outlining, the agreed focus of the FGC and what took place before the family had private time and drew up the following plan, then the plan.

Hope that helps!
Rachel

Sean Haresnape
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:38 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Sean Haresnape » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:18 am

Thanks Rachel.

Sean Haresnape
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:38 pm

Re: Court directed FGC's

Post by Sean Haresnape » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:48 pm

Please keep any examples of this coming as we will be updating our guidance the the courts and this information is really useful.

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