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New research into Independent Social Work Experts

New research from Oxford University has challenged concerns about duplication and delay through the use of independent social work (ISW) assessments in Family Court proceedings. On the contrary, the report argues that delays might be reduced by the earlier appointment of ISW experts.


The Oxford study examined independent social work expert reports and found that they added considerable value in cases of high complexity.

Reports provided transparent, forensic, evidence-based assessments which gave clarity around complex issues, supporting better welfare decision-making for children and families within Family Courts.

Indeed in the light of the proposed six month target for completion of cases, the research suggests that without access to ISW experts, courts may be severely hampered in attempts to speed up proceedings.

The researchers argue that results to date challenge critical views about ISWs and the work that they do. They indicate that ISWs could make an important contribution to the success of the family justice modernisation programme.



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