About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

A Christmas Miscellany

If you are reading this blog on Christmas Day I would say shame on you & get a life but a) I am writing it and b) from the news it seems as if many of us are doing everything but spending quality time with our loved ones and even if we do there are dire consequences.

The Guardian says that more than 5 million people are expected to log onto the internet to search for shopping bargains.

The Times says that 3 out of every 4 UK Blackberry users admit that they will be checking their emails before opening their Christmas presents.

The Guardian predicts that couples are expected to succumb to the double whammy of the credit crush and the usual pressures of Christmas according to the Local Goovernment Association.

You're not even safe if you are at home in the bosom of your family from the hazards of candles, Christmas trees & decorations and so on so the DfCS has produced
Tis the Season to be Careful - an advisory booklet on how to avoid the dangers of the festive season at home.


Here at least is an example of someone with the right Christmas spirit approach to the credit crunch from the marvellous Post Secret



Maybe we should stick to celebrating the Winter Solstice !

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Damages for child abuse allegation

Local authorities and their insurers clearly have a difficult tightrope to walk. In an earlier post I referred to the successful litigation against a local authority for failing to protect a child from abuse by removing him from home. In this Times article a local authority has agreed to settle a claim arising from false allegations of abusive behaviour on the part of parents. As Masterman J said in the case: “It is undoubtedly true that social services departments have in recent years operated with inadequate resources and under immense stress and run the risk of attracting equal criticism whether they remove a child or whether they do not.”

Forced Marriage Act & Dr Abedin

The BBC reports that now Dr Abedin is back in the UK (having been assisted to return by cooperation between the UK courts & the Bangladeshi courts courtesy of the Forced Marriage Act, she will apply for an annulment of her marriage.

Open courts: DJ Gerlis comments

Readers may be interested in these, as usual, intelligent comments by DJ Gerlis on the question of media access to the courts.

A modern day abduction

Reporting restrictions were lifted by the President to allow a gay father to give publicity to his search for the son he had with a lesbian woman whom he fears may now be in Australia (Times) .

Suzanne Holdsworth acquitted

One person with a Christmas to look forward to is babysitter Suzanne Holdsworth who was cleared of the murder of Kyle Fisher after a retrial in which medical experts gave evidence about the child having a highly unusual brain. See the
Times , Telegraph , Daily Mail & the BBC whose Newsnight programme ran a supportive campaign.

The local Gazette focuses on the evidence she gave at the second trial regretting a lie she had told at the first trial.

Suzanne was originally convicted of murder in 2005. She spent nearly three years in prison before the Court of Appeal granted her appeal in May 2008 and ordered the retrial. Cleveland police, however, declined to offer an apology and said it would not be re-opening its investigation into the two year old's death.

Vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults who lack mental capacity will benefit from a joined-up approach in responding to concerns about those taking decisions on their behalf and the way they are protected from abuse, according to guidelines published by the Office of the Public Guardian on 17th December (see the MoJ press release . The policy documents and guidance itself is on the website of the Office of the Public Guardian here .

Negligent local authorities

Christmas it may be but the family law news shows no signs of abating.

From the Times comes this piece about local authorities being sued for negligence for failing to protect children from abuse (by removing them into care) with more details here .

Monday, 22 December 2008

Pensions

John Bolch of Family Lore and soon to be as well known no doubt for Family Lore Focus (family law news and comment) has a couple of interesting posts recently on money matters. First is this one on discounting pensions and second this one on Macleod v Macleod on post-nups .

The Ancillary Actuary Blog has posted three articles on Why Women Lose Out? in relation to pension distribution - Part 1 , Part 2 & Part 3 , followed by an online debate .

Civil partnerships not quite all the ticket?

The Guardian reports on the government's attempts to support Austria in declining recognition of civil partnerships . The government backed down following a debate in the Lords but continues to argue that the court should not require pan-European recognition of same sex marriages (civil partnerships come close but are not quite the same, apparently).

In the name of the father

I was curious to read in the Telegraph the other day of the Government's plans to force mother's to name father's on the birth certificate, with a view to ensuring that they can be pursued for maintenance. Curious for two reasons: firstly because I understood that one of the 'reforms' resulting from the establishment of CMEC was to do away with the compulsion for fathers to be pursued for maintenance when mothers were on benefit because the CSA had not been able to cope with it (and no doubt it netted little for the public coffers and was certainly of no direct benefit to the mothers or their children). Secondly, this would have the effect of making it compulsory to give unmarried fathers parental responsibility. Why not just give them PR in any event?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Finally openness about opening up the family courts

You will surely not have missed the government's announcement this week about opening up the family justice system to media access. Access will be subject to court's powers to restrict or extend the media's ability to report! Other steps being taken include piloting the publication of judgments & relaxing the rules on disclosure.

The Ministerial statement

Responses to consultation

The President's Response to the announcement

The Telegraph

The Independent

Comment by Yvonne Roberts in the Guardian

The Times claims all the credit for this policy development:

The main announcement

What has changed on the long walk to freedom?

How the Times helped to right a wrong

Family courts: case studies

A nose bleed, then children in care

Nothing to do with Baby P then? Or with a cynical attempt to cut costs by putting people off going to court?

Social Services roundup

A number of stories about social services:

Ed Balls announced that six councils will pilot the contracting out social work services for looked-after children to "independent practices" from 2009-11 . I don't know where the independent sector is likely to find social workers from. Even before baby P LGA was finding two thirds of councils were struggling to recruit . Post Baby P, unsurprisingly, morale at Haringey is severely damaged . Surely the proposed new ad hoc visits from Ofsted so that they can voice their concerns will do wonders for the attractiveness of the profession? Not to mention the knowledge that expert teams are being sent into 9 authorities who are deemed below par: see the Telegraph , Daily Mail , & the Times .

Let loose the dogs of war


Back to the serious papers, the Times reports on custody battles over dogs . I would find it hard to believe but for a story I heard in the West Country the other die about parents being asked to choose between the dogs and the children - they chose the dogs and the children ended up in care. When a man's best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.

Baby A

Yet another case where social services are said to have failed a child has been identified in Doncaster which has published a serious case review about child A (pdf file) . The concerns are summarised in Community Care . In common with the Baby p case, Doncaster social services seem to have taken information from a family at face value. For less sympathetic coverage, see the the Mirror (which tells us that the Baby A case is one of three cases subject to the serious case review procedure in Doncaster. The Doncaster Free Press announced more recently that there are 5 such enquiries underway. The Daily Mail this weekend highlights that the SCR itself concludes that the Doncaster SSD was inadequate, chaotic & dangerous.

Community Care also covers the Manchester murder case in which the young mum accused of killing her children was also known to SSD as does the Daily Mail . Both the police and social services are reviewing their response to this case in which the mother called for police help an hour before the children were killed and social services had closed the file. Yet the Manchester Evening News reports that the annual Ofsted review found the social services department to be adequate (the same as last year).

Another Manchester case is the subject of a serious case following a couple being jailed over a baby's death (see also the BBC coverage . The child had not been the subject of a child protection plan. The baby died of pneumonia, was severely underweight and at post-mortem was found to have sustained rib fractures.

Children's Plan review

The Government has announced a new £200 million co-location fund to bring health, education & social care services together. The announcement comes one year after the children's plan was implemented & the government has announced a raft of other measures including a new social work taskforce & 3000 children's centres. Could this soon mean really only one department dealing with children and only one website to search for government policy & publications on children? I am not holding my breath. See here for the Children's Plan one year on & progress reports & here for Community Care's coverage

Missing children

Not content with being responsible for hundreds of deaths each year and the general misery of UK children, Community Care reports that local authorities have lost another 400 a year . These are children who are supposed to be looked after. To cap it all it seems that half of all trafficked children have gone missing from care.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Can Cafcass cope?

Not with the post-Baby P spike according to Anthony Douglas talking to Community Care .

ADCS on safeguarding inspections

The Association of Directors of Children's Services has criticised plans for unannounced annual safeguarding inspections of councils, despite ministers making them a key plank of their response to the Baby P case, according to Community Care .

Thursday, 18 December 2008

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Community Care reports on the government's commitment to making the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child “a reality in the UK”, a minister said last night. Children’s minister Baroness Delyth Morgan told a meeting in the House of Lords that the government was “no longer afraid” for the convention “to be the basis of all policies”.

Surrogacy & Statelessness

The Times reports on Hedley J's call yesterday for a review of Britain’s surrogacy laws after making a ruling that rescued baby twins from a legal limbo, which had left them “marooned, stateless and parentless” in Ukraine. The children faced being brought up in a state orphanage because conflicting laws prevented their Ukrainian surrogate mother and the British couple who paid her £23,000 from being recognised as their legal parents.

There is further comment on the case here .

The full judgment is on the main Family Law Week site here .

Cut the Cuts?

Desmond Browne QC has highlighted the risk to vulnerable children which will flow from public funding cuts in his inaugural speech as Chairman of the Bar.

Forced Marriage Act & Dr Abedin

Dr Abedin has been freed from Bangladesh following the making of an injunction under the Forced Marriage Act, which whilst not directly applicable in Bangladesh seems to have influenced the authorities there to intervene. The story is also covered by BBC .

Baby P roundup

A final few Baby P stories as the press starts to move on to other scandals?


The Times covers the Baby P petition from the Justice March for Baby P calling for a public enquiry.

The Telegraph picks up on Sharon Shoesmith's claim that child protection services in Haringey should be commended 6 months after Baby P died.

The Times again on the link between Baby P's family through a relative involved in a child sex ring

The Guardian deals with MP Barry Sheerman accusing Ofsted of complacency

The Independent reveals that 3 children a week die from abuse according to Ofsted. See also the Telegraph.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Children & Adoption Act 2006

Today the contact provisions of the Children & Adoption Act 2006 came into force. An article outlining the new provisions is expected on the main Family Law Week site soon. In the meantime here are some helpful resources.

The MoJ announcement

Family Proceedings (Amendment) (No 2) Rules 2008 SI 2008 No 2861

Family Proceedings Court (Children Act 1989) (Amendment) Rules 2008 SI 2008 No 2858

Magistrates Courts (Enforcement of Children Act 1989 Contact Orders) Rules 2008 SI 2008 No. 2859

Revised Children Act forms

Practice Direction: Applications in the Magistrates' Court to Enforce Contact Orders (pdf file)

Lord Chief Justice's Practice Direction on Disclosure of Information to the National Probation Service (pdf file) (applicable to magistrates' courts)

President's Direction: Disclosure of Information to National Probation Service (applicable to County Courts & the High Court)

President's Guidance to Cafcass


Pink Tape's blogpost

Pink Tape's updated blogpost

Times article suggesting the reforms may backfire .

Top tips to eliminate child abuse


This radical 10-step programme to eradicate child abuse by PC Bloggs made my laugh out loud as she often does and I thoroughly recommend her book Diary of an On-Call Girl

Shoesmith sacking now official

ITN reports that Sharon Shoesmith has now been formally dismissed by Haringey Council and she will not receive any compensation package.

Magnanimous in victory

Both sides in the Briscoe libel case have given interviews about their experience with Constance Briscoe admitting in the Times that she would have resigned if she had lost but she will not be hounding her mother out of her home to get the costs back and Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell seemed unrepentant in the story I read earlier in the Independent but it seems to have disappeared from the website. Libellous perhaps?

Websters appeal against adoption

The Daily Mail and the Telegraph report on the Websters have been to the Court of Appeal this week to try to overturn an adoption order (made following care proceedings in which they were accused of breaking their child's leg). All 3 of their children were removed and placed for adoption in January 2005. Judgment has been reserved until January.

Forced Marriage Act

The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force in November - see this announcement on the MoJ website . The Act enables courts to prevent forced marriages and order those responsible for forcing another into marriage to change their behaviour or face jail. It also provides recourse for those already forced into marriage.


UK lawyer Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE has leapt straight in and is using the Act to try to prevent the forced marriage of a UK born 33 year old trainee GP in Bangladesh, the Independent reports (and Sky News and the Daily Mail . The Act is not directly enforceable in Bangladesh but orders issued in the UK have been reflected in orders in Bangladesh requiring the family to produce the doctor to the courts. Unfortunately so far they have not complied.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Social services scandals & the case for reform

A couple of interesting contributions to the debate on what lies at the bottom of the recent child protection scandals.

One in the Times comes in the form of a letter from Martha Cover of Coram Chambers in which she makes a identifies a number of problem areas: targets set to lower the number of children on the CPR and in care, the lack of legal planning meetings, the lack of heed paid to the warnings of the Commission for Social Care Inspection that family support was inadequate and SSD thresholds too high. She also links up earlier research into care proceedings (they are not brought without good reason) to the care fees hike in arguing that one fairly obvious way forward is to encourage a climate where care proceedings are issued once again so that a forensic enquiry can determine the right balance between risk and the advantages of family life.

In the Telegraph Alisdair Palmer argues that the system is undermined by a lack of a clear definition of the meaning of risk & "significant harm", particularly with regard to emotional harm. This he suggests is what squares the damned if you do, damned if you don't circle. Social workers spend too much time investigating cases where there is no real risk because they don't know what risk means and too little time investigating cases of real risk for the same reason. This in turn means that inspections and reviews are fairly useless because inspectors too are caught in the same trap. A glance at the comments below from readers is rather startling. Views on the source of the problems range from social workers being stupid, sick twisted individuals or pseudo-qualified box tickers only interested in snooping and ensuring babies are vaccinated to Karen Matthews only getting pregnant so she can claim benefits to emigration resulting in the UK losing its most intelligent minds (leaving behind only half wits, bedwetters & X factor contestants!). I fear we are a long way from an intelligent debate.

Naturally the government's answer seems to tend towards a the establishment of a task force to look at every aspect of social services .

For some reason this passage from Yes Minister sprang to mind.....
'If only you'd had we'd have a departmental enquiry,' he complained, 'then we could have made it last eighteen months, and finally said that it revealed a certain number of anomalies which have now been rectified but that there was no evidence of any intention to mislead. Something like that.' I allowed myself to be diverted for a moment. 'But there was an intention to mislead.' I pointed out. 'I never said there wasn't,' Sir Humphrey replied impatiently. 'I merely said there was no evidence of it.' I think I was looking blank. He explained. 'The job of a professionally conducted internal enquiry is to unearth a great mass of no evidence. If you say there was no intention, you can be proved wrong. But if you say the enquiry found no evidence of an intention, you can't be proved wrong.' (The Complete Yes Minister, pp. 178-9)

The Matthews Case: the theories

Martin Wainwright's comment in the Guardian suggests that we have not been able to get a balanced picture of life in the Matthews family home, because Shannon herself was not called to give evidence by the CPS. I can't say I quite understood his point in relation to the particular case. The details of Shannon's life at home may be interesting and particularly so in the light of an investigation into how many clues there were for social services to pick up but I cannot see their relevance to the criminal trial. I would have also thought that the last thing Shannon herself would have benefited on was more publicity involving journalists poring over her every word. There are one or two details of the 'kidnap' plot which might have been clarified (was she tethered by a leash?) but I wonder how much we would have learnt of any real value. I can see that there are other cases where the legal system is rather knee jerk about children giving evidence. Of course, Shannon could have been called by her own mother. Assuming that the evidence she might have given would have assisted her mother in any way, perhaps we should rather conclude that the only decent think Karen did was not to call her.

You might find it interesting to compare and contrast this early piece by
Beatrix Campbell just after Shannon was found with this piece about we shy away from early intervention at a cost to children. She herself was not able to pierce the veil of deception (I don't mean to get at her - she was hardly alone) despite the quantity of statistics over the years demonstrating the prevalence of child abuse, which interestingly she dates back to Cleveland: I would suggest for the very same reasons that case gave rise to such a scandal. We simply do not want to consider the possibility that it happens, it happens a lot and it is quite often (but importantly not always) the carers who are responsible. Or as Lord Laming would say: respectful uncertainty is a useful tool.

The impact of child protection targets on the case are examined in the Telegraph which suggests that Shannon was taken off the register because of pressure to reduce the number of children on the CPR and that a social worker wanted her to remain on the register but she was overruled. The role of targets is also picked up in the Mail by Steve Doughty who looks at a slightly wider range of targets, and the knock on effect on the pay scale and careers of those who achieve them.

Sonia Sodha in the Guardian suggests that we could learn a lot from the
Finnish approach to the role of teachers in child protection cases and introduce a proper welfare service into schools. I couldn't agree more. There has been a great deal of interest in allocating police officers to our schools. We might have more effective identification of child abuse concerns and plug the gap identified in many of the cases by Ed Balls et al (that abused children are not listened to) if there was someone on hand to do so who was seen as sympathetic rather than likely to arrest.


Barbara Ellen's comment in the Guardian tries to decode how Karen offended the middle classes who did not dare to question her guilt. I would venture to suggest that this is more true for journalists than the rest of us. I don't very often say I told you so but I'm afraid I knew pretty much straight away that something did not add up. However, I do think this kind of comment helps to explain why people are so very angry about this case and politicians are now baying for the blood of all apparently feckless single mothers on benefits.

I found the analysis of Tim Adams in the Guardian extremely thorough and considered. One of his points is that Karen Matthews herself played on the comparison with the McCann case and enrolled the media in covering her story by guilt tripping them about the temptation not to present Shannon's disappearance as sympathetically as Madeleine's. He also makes the very good point that the same people who have been baying for the blood of social workers in Haringey who fell for the lies of Baby P's mother, fell themselves for the lies of Karen Matthews because it is very difficult to recognise when someone is willing to tell such a wicked big outrageos lie or tissue of lies.

The Mirror interviews the mother of Karen Matthews whose own theory is that the kidnap is the best thing to have happened to Shannon because now she is out of her mother's care for good. The article records "Shannon's grandparents told how the police ransacked their house and even accused them of hiding Shannon's body. Gordon, 67, said: "We were treated like suspects, her own grandparents. It was disgusting." Still missing the point that in this situation it is only right for the police to consider everyone as suspects (whilst being respectful in their uncertainty) because look who it turned out to be.

The Matthews Case in a nutshell

Following the conviction of Karen Matthews & Michael Donovan for the kidnap of Shannon, naturally there turns out to be a social services failing behind the Shannon Matthews case in that a psychological report in 2003 apparently concluded that Karen Matthews was unable to prioritise her children's needs above her own. See
Community Care on the council's decision to conduct a serious case review , the Daily Telegraph on Shannon being taken off the Child Protection Register , and on the amount of social services contact with the family. The Times also picks up on a second case in Kirklees in which a child was killed by a violent father, despite his teenage daughters trying to raise the alarm. Channel 4 draws all the strands together in a video clip and you can watch the Panorama documentary again on BBC iplayer .

The Guardian's coverage of the SCR announcement points out that Kirklees Council has a 4 star rating (the highest) as a local authority for efficiency.

Serious Case Review with Baby P overtones

The Guardian reports that a second child death case in Durham has raised similar concerns as that of Baby P - numerous social work referrals, hospital admissions, breathing difficulties, mystery bruising, failure to thrive ending with the child being shaken to death. See the Guardian here and here and in the Telegraph .

Second Haringey case under investigation

Some papers suggested a few days ago that there was a second Haringey case and now the Times has published more details about the case which is to be investigated by the police and the NSPCC with allegations being made that child protection concerns have been ignored. The case is further complicated by the fact that it seems to concern one of the so-called miracle babies, an allegation of inappropriate removal from one foster care and the carer about whom concerns have been raised is the adopter.

NAPO vs OFSTED: seconds away

An heated debate has broken out between Napo & Ofsted about inspections of Cafcass according to Community Care with both sides seeming to say to the other: you just don't understand me. Napo makes the very good point that user satisfaction should not be a pivotal part of a judgment about the success of Cafcass, with Ofsted responding that it is not just the users' perception of the service it inspects, but the quality of the service provided looked at objectively.

Mea maxima culpa?

The post Baby P pendulum seems to have swung full circle with Ofsted's admission that it too played a part in Haringey's failures over Baby P because the Ofsted assessment system is open to manipulation . A rather mealy mouthed admission of guilt some might think - it's our fault but it's their fault really. Also rather ironic since one of the things that school governing bodies are regularly criticised for is not asking the right questions and being too much of a friend to be critical. Just how little effort it might take even for Ofsted to spot a lie dressed up as a statistic is revealed by the Head of Ofsted, Christine Gilbert's further admission that the flaws in the original Ofsted assessment of Haringey in 2007 were revealed by the 2nd day of this one. A rather drastic reform to Ofsted practices was suggested by the Head of Kidscape in the Telegraph a few days ago: Ofsted Inspectors should actually go out on home visits and meet children at risk of abuse. Their own proposal is to carry out annual and ad hoc inspections of all children services' departments: of course, unless they sort out how they are going to do an inspection so they don't get 'fooled' by statistics, this will just mean that they paper over the cracks more often at great expense to the public purse. I've also got to wonder whether the great idea of combining responsibility for education and social work into one service (and subsequently having it inspected by a system developed primarily for education) was such a great one after all.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Child Maltreatment: the Lancet

The Lancet (in conjunction with the RCPCH) has published a series of papers about Child Maltreatment . Key findings include: a far greater incidence of child maltreatment than official statistics suggest; substantial under-reporting of child maltreatment by schools and physicians to child-support agencies; the need for multidisciplinary teams for effective maltreatment prevention; and acceptance of child welfare as a human right. You have to subscribe to see the full text of the articles. A print / online subscription costs £139 pa and online only is £113.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Child protection needs protection?

The post Baby P fallout continues (and looks set to continue for some months given that there is to be a further report in March) with reports of crackdown on children's services in the Independent, which talks of Ofsted's conclusions on the inadequacy of Serious Case Reviews in 28 local authorities.

The Independent also picks up again on the care fees hike and the disincentive on local authorities to issue proceedings.

For an interesting take on the Baby P case (albeit written before the Government commissioned review see this post on the Liberal Conspiracy blog . The main piece argues that it is not such a remarkable story and the comments debate the ways in which it is said the case has been hijacked by those from different parts of the political spectrum.

Another thoughtful comment in the Guardian is that of Andrew Cooper, Professor of Social Work which is a robust defence of social work practitioners. Also in the Guardian, the analysis by Liz Davies (Senior Lecturer in Children & Families Social Work) of the adverse impact of the Laming reforms and John Dixon (President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) comments on the pressures on social workers & how they might be relieved.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The social work viewpoint

Just reading this Guardian comment on the day in the life of a social worker made me feel tired.

Baby P: the Netherlands version

Just in case you had begun to believe that it could only happen in England, the Guardian carries this very interesting story about a Dutch child protection scandal in which a Guardian appointed for the child ended up being prosecuted in the criminal courts (but acquitted).

Consultation on new Family Procedure Rules

The long-awaited draft of the proposed new Family Procedure Rules has been published and are out for consultation on the Ministry of Justice website . The deadline for responses is 27 February 2009.

Constance Briscoe wins libel case

Constance Briscoe's mother has lost her libel action against her daughter, a criminal barrister & part-time Judge and author of Ugly & Beyond Ugly , reports the Times . The books (or at least the first one) are part of the new genre - misery lit - I have read both - I could not really use the word 'enjoy' about them - but they are an intelligent and insightful contribution to the genre.

The heads are rolling

Following the news reported on the main site about the unfavourable review of the serious case review, Sharon "I certainly won't be resigning" Shoesmith has finally been suspended from LB Haringey, along with two other people from children's services according to the BBC . Councillor George Meehan & Liz Santry have resigned.

The Paediatrician who examined the child shortly before his death has now been fully suspended (as opposed to being restricted in the work she could do) ( (BBC) .

Meanwhile the inarguably real villains of the piece, the mother / boyfriend / lodger will not be sentenced for at least three months (BBC again) .

See the text of Ed Balls full speech in the Guardian. See the full Joint Area Review on the DCSF website. Damning is not the word, and unsurprisingly it does not approve of the fact that the LCSB SCR was carried out under the chairmanship of ... Sharon Shoesmith. There is not one single aspect of the organisation of SSD within Haringey which is referred to as being acceptable across the board. There remain persistent complaints about the failure to maintain accurate case records and to keep running chronologies etc. In fact it is so damning it is almost hard to believe and one wonders whether there was any effort made to identify any good practice.