CAFCASS interview recording policy
J Erasmus made this Freedom of Information request to Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service
Dear Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service,
You recently stated in a reply to a question on what your interview recording policies are that "a practitioner may refuse a request because it can inhibit frank discussion, and such recording is not always entirely reliable."
Could you please elaborate exactly what you mean by this statement as I do not understand. On what grounds could it inhibit frank discussion, and how could the recording not always be reliable? If you could state specifics it would be greatly appreciated, as that statement is very vague and gives no specific reason for a CAFCASS practitioner to deny a request for interviews to be recorded.
Dear J. Erasmus
Re Frank discussion: The main reason why practitioners object to the tape recording of interviews with service users is because practitioners believe that the tenor of the interview can be altered.
If you have a query about your own individual case please do contact your practitioner directly.
Dear Governance - Cafcass,
Thank you for the reply. Glad you pointed out the main reason, but myself and many other parents would still like to know what other reasons / grounds a CAFCASS practitioner could have to object to interviews being recorded. I`m sure you are aware that many parents have spoken publicly and written online in several blogs and on forums about certain CAFCASS practitioners not reporting truthfully on what was said in interviews with children, and what the children`s wishes are. We all need clarification on EXACTLY what grounds a CAFCASS practiotioner could object to an interview being recorded, as the CAFCASS reports to the courts are seen as pivotal evidence when cases are being heard so I`m sure you can agree that they have to be truthful.
Dear Mr Erasmus
I must refer you to the response provided in the FOI response: Cafcass does not have a specific policy on the recording of interviews.
Specific reasons for the Practitioner objecting to tape-recording an interview will be specific to each case.
Cafcass has no additional information to provide.
Dear Governance - Cafcass,
Thanks for clearing that up. Seeing as you do not have any policy regarding requests for the recording of interviews and can not elaborate on the vague answers you gave, it is clear that if such requests were denied it would be against the child`s Human Rights, and the reason for the denial would have to be fully justified in writing as instructed to me by a QC. Further to this, seeing as it would be against the child`s Human Rights and also against CAFCASSs own policies to protect these rights, the fact that CAFCASS has no set policy/ies for preactitioners to follow regarding the objection/denial against interviews with children being recorded, I see no reason whatsoever why a CAFCASS practitioner would have ANY right or reason to object against interviews being recorded in any circumstances. Why try and hide from the truth in the first place! Surely no CAFCASS practitioner would ever say or ask anything in an interview with a child that could be seen as inappropriate by the child`s parent/s or anybody else.
Thank you once again for clearing that up, I will be showing your reponse to the CAFCASS paractitioner dealing with my child should she deny or object to a request for future interviews to be recorded.