Statistical Review 2017 – 2018 

Thank you to all the accredited contact centres that have submitted returns every quarter this last year on the flow of referrals, the number of children and families using your centre, your volunteers, staff and availability. This is much appreciated and provides NACCC with valuable information with which to campaign on behalf of contact centres on a national level. Information that you have provided show that 17,827 children across the UK spent valuable time with a separated family member at a contact centre run by 3,555 volunteers and 1,044 members of staff. Without your centre these children may have lost touch with their parent (and the impact of this is explored in our Lostparents film). This is an amazing achievement and such an important contribution to the lives of these children and their families.

Rise in parents self-referring to contact centres

As predicted following the changes in legal aid, the number of parents self-referring (without the assistance of a solicitor, Cafcass or mediation) to supported contact centres has increased by over 10% over the last 4 years and now represent 42% of referrals (i). Over the same period the proportion of solicitor referrals has dropped by a similar amount from 45% to 31% in 2017-18 (ii). There has also been a similar rise in self referrals to supervised centres over the last four years, now representing 20% of referrals (iii).  NACCC responded to the changes in legal aid by developing its online Safe Referral platform, which is accessible to parents, grandparents and others needing to access a supported contact centre without the assistance of a solicitor, mediation service or Cafcass officer.

Child contact centres not being used to capacity…

NACCC has asked its centres this year to report on their potential capacity and actual use. Figures indicate that centres offering supported contact are only being used to 36% capacity and centres offering supervised contact are being used to 61% capacity (iv). It is not known whether this is particularly with those centres offering a range of contact services or those offering just supported contact. This might indicate that promotional work needs to be done in the centre’s locality to advertise their service and therefore increase the number of referrals. Thanks again to everyone who has submitted returns.

(i) 2014-15 29% of referrals to supported contact centres were self-referrals.

(ii) 2014-15 45% of referrals to supported contact centres were solicitor referrals.

(iii) 2014-15 11% of referrals to supervised contact centres were self-referrals.

(iv) See 2017-18 NACCC statistics analysis – Total sessions available vs Total sessions booked.

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