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COUNCILLORS SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED IN FAMILY COURTS, SAYS HARMAN

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Councillors should attend family courts to see how decisions are being taken, families minister Harriet Harman said...
Councillors should attend family courts to see how decisions are being taken, families minister Harriet Harman said this morning.

BBC Radio Four's Today programme reported that social workers are anxious that opening the family courts to the media and the public, as proposed by the government, will mean their work is under greater scrutiny.

But Ms Harman told the Today programme that greater transparency should mean more public confidence in the process of dealing with sensitive issues, such as taking children into care. But the anonymity of families would be guaranteed by law.

'The public can't value a system if they don't really know what's going on,' she said. There should be 'better involvement of local authority councillors', with elected members and also MPs going into courts.

The minister said she wanted to see, 'more involvement of the outside world, better inspection, the media allowed in but still keeping absolute personal privacy.'

DCA consultation paper Confidence and confidentiality: Improving transparency and privacy in family courts

Written ministerial statement

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