Cafcass has completed the pilot SSPID programme, which provided a helpline to separating parents in five areas within England.
More than 7,000 calls have been received by the helpline since the pilot programme launched in 2014. Of these calls, more than 2,000 were eligible to be allocated to a Cafcass Family Court Adviser, who provided information and guidance on the most appropriate dispute resolution pathway.
An analysis and evaluation of the pilot programme, and the learning from it, has been shared with the Ministry of Justice to inform the ongoing family justice reform programme, as well as developments in our own work. As a result a new pilot is currently being developed which will seek to test whether offering tailored packages of out-of-court interventions is effective at diverting parties from court.
The evaluation found that users were generally very positive about how helpful they found the service. Of over 600 callers surveyed, 84% would recommend the service to someone in a position similar to themselves.
We are grateful to our family justice partners for promoting the service to users. Almost half of referrals to the service came via third party family justice services such as Citizens Advice, schools, contact centres, doctors, and other professionals. We are contacting stakeholders to provide further information about the decision to end the pilot, and what this means for existing cases.