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----- Original Message -----
The important things tomorrow is to establish strategic points from which things like this will follow. We are reasonable prepared - give us our thoughts that we do not screw up in the delivery. I would have a few quibbles over details since neither EI or FR was in my view ready to run, but the EI was on strategically the right lines and FR is not.
Thanks for your reply, as FNF chair, confirming:
- that Whitehall has implemented the wrong pilot project
- that the intended and agreed EI reforms were scrapped
This strikes the great bulk of your members as a Golden Opportunity for FNF:
- the original EI project gives your members almost everything they want
- support for the EI project within the legal establishment has grown
- the EI project could be re-started tomorrow
You can play a decisive part - tomorrow - in bringing forward the cause of reform.
FNF can suggest to the Select Committee that the original EI project be reinstated.
Your members, and parents everywhere, look to you for this firm lead.
Here's an idea. Rather than waiting to be asked on the point, why not make the point to the Committee anyway, as a priority... irrespective of whether the question is directed at that point. I can assure you that this step would garner you widespread support and esteem.
See the debate in 'Family Law' - the brilliant article by Caroline Wilbourne in the issue before last and a letter from me in the current one. Yes, the attempt to achieve what is best for the children by promoting 'parenting plans' which was to us the key feature of early interventions has been subverted but another attempt to get the parents to relate better to each other. Now that can only be for the good, but its scarcely a serious change in itself. There needs to be presumption that unless there some child-centred reason to the contrary that the children are entitled to have both their parents seriously involved in their lives, and that attempts by one parent to reduce the other to a subordinate or marginal status will not be accepted unless there are sufficient grounds. The pilot projects have gone ahead without parenting plans, which have still not been produced, although things are happening on this front.
- have already been agreed by the legal establishment
- were passed for implementation by the Minister
- were hijacked and destroyed in Whitehall
If you let the Committee know this, the EI reform process could be rapidly reinstated. But, as far as I can see, you simply propose to talk about the defects in the law... not about the agreed reforms to remedy those same defects. You are prepared to talk about the problem - but not the solution to the problem. This takes things many years backwards - and, of course, leaves your members high and dry. Could you get back to me?
The question is really very simple.
Will you, or will you not:
- mention the original Early Interventions reforms in a constructive light?
- tell the Committee that these EI reforms were hijacked in Whitehall?
Best regards Dave
PS. You say that the evidence you will give is dependent on the questions you are asked. But this is a little bit of a simplification. The EI issue can be mentioned at the top of your evidence, irrespective - as it should be: the original EI project (i) gives your members just about everything they want (ii) has been accepted by the legal establishment. So, the EPC can serve its members by striving to put this point forward - or, I suppose, neglect its members by striving to keep this point back.
As always, my goal is to focus on the defects in the law, which I think is far more crucial. I'm not sure whether Jon or Celia intend to deal with it. We have only 45 mins between the 3 of us which means we'll probably each only be able to deal with 2 or 3 points max. In any event, our evidence will be led by the questions put to us.
Happy New Year! Tony
----- Original Message - At 21:41 08/01/2005, you wrote:
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