Cafcass: technology is key to providing outstanding service

From receiving the worst possible rating, to being outstanding a decade later, Cafcass CIO Robert Langley describes the organisation’s digital journey

Utilising the right technology has the potential to transform lives, but arguably nowhere is this as apparent in the case of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass).

Cafcass works exclusively in the family courts in England and employs about 2,300 people, plus a flexible workforce, who ensure that children's voices are heard in the family courts.

Appointed by the courts, the organisation works across private and public law and supports more than 140,000 children and young people each year.

For Robert Langley, who is Chief Information Officer at Cafcass and also part of the organisation’s corporate management team, technology is crucial to ensuring that children and staff are supported: from enabling hybrid working to providing case workers with the tools they need.

Cafcass has gone from being rated by Ofsted, the inspector, as inadequate in 2008 to being ranked as outstanding a decade later, representing an impressive turnaround which was driven by a single-minded focus to improve how the organisation works. 

“I arrived as part of a new team of people coming into all sorts of different parts of the organisation to transform Cafcass, because we were pretty low as an organisation,” Langley explains. “In that first 10-year period, we took ourselves in stages, up through the rankings. And we came out in 2018 as an outstanding organisation overall, which everybody's incredibly proud of. That's the best possible verdict from the inspectors, so from the worst possible to the best within a decade is quite a turn around.”

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