Letter: Welfare record

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The Independent Online
Sir: I feel I should set the record straight about the findings of the Probation Inspectorate's review of court welfare work ('Are the children better off now?' 27 November). The inspectors who carried out the review found a high level of skills and commitment among the probation officers carrying out this work, which involves dispute resolution and the provision of information to the court in divorce and separation cases involving children, and a high level of satisfaction among the judges and magistrates who deal with the cases.

The review did identify problems associated with monitoring workload at national level, not least because of the variety of ways in which probation services approach the task, but I must make it clear that there is no way in which Martin Hennessey's word 'shambles' could be an appropriate description for any aspect of court welfare work.

Yours faithfully,

GRAHAM W. SMITH

HM Chief Inspector of Probation

Home Office

London, SW1

2 December

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