§ Mr. Laurence Robertson
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the workings of the Family Court Welfare Service; what plans he has to reform it; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Quin
[holding answer 3 March 1998]: The performance of probation services, including work on family court welfare matters, is subject to independent review to ensure they provide a satisfactory service to the courts and the public by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Probation. They recently published a report of a review of family court welfare work. This found that judges and magistrates praised and valued the work of court welfare officers.
As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the full range of services provided to the courts on child welfare matters within family law, including that provided by the Probation Service, is under consideration.
I refer the hon. Member to the reply my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) on 16 February 1998, Official Report, column 465, which announced that further work was to be pursued on the provision of the range of services currently provided to the courts on child welfare matters within family law by the Probation Service, Guardian ad litem and Reporting Officer Service and the Official Solicitor's Department and which set out the detailed terms of reference for that work.