London – May 2015 – Encryption services provider, Egress Software Technologies, today announced that Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) uses Egress Switch Secure Email and Egress Switch Secure File Transfer to protect and control sensitive personal data. Certified and accredited by UK Government, Egress Switch enables Cafcass to provide the highest levels of information security to meet data protection regulations and send information to third parties, such as service users, local authorities, and legal professionals.
Jonathan Boshell, IT Change Manager at Cafcass, explains: “Every year Cafcass advocates for over 140,000 children and young people in family courts throughout England. The nature of this work means that we often deal with information that is sensitive and that we wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands. Measures such as secure postal services have been in place for some time now. However, we are increasingly sending information by email, as this is quicker and more convenient for the families and agencies we work with, and also helps us move towards the government’s Digital by Default Service Standard. As such, it is crucial that we are able to communicate both securely and electronically with our external recipients who are not in secure email networks. We selected Switch Secure Email and Switch Secure File Transfer to meet this need.”
To date, over 2,000 licences have been deployed across the organisation in order to ensure that all Cafcass staff can use Egress secure email, with a growing network of registered third party recipients using the service. Boshell continues: “Switch Secure Email is the only email encryption product and service with CESG Commercial Product Assurance (CPA) certification and Pan Government Accreditation (PGA). As such, it is the most suitable choice for securing the information classified as OFFICIAL that our Family Courts Advisors (FCAs) need to send. In addition, Switch is free for Cafcass’ recipients to use when communicating with Cafcass employees, and is simple to use by entering a password set up by the recipients themselves. As a result, we rolled the service out to all staff members so that any emails containing sensitive information can be sent using Egress Switch Gateway.”
As the organisation recommends Switch for all emails containing sensitive information, there was a need for a user education programme to run alongside the technology implementation. This involved not only engaging Cafcass employees, but also the wider network of organisations that Cafcass needs to communicate with regularly.
Emily Halliday, Information Assurance Officer at Cafcass, explains: “We implemented Switch for all Cafcass users on the same day. As this was a change in the way our contacts received information from us, we recognised the importance of raising awareness with both staff and our recipients about how Switch helped us meet our data protection needs, in order to encourage user uptake. When Cafcass emails arrived encrypted, we met with some initial resistance amongst a few recipients. However, once the simplicity of using Switch and its information security benefits had been explained, in addition to the fact that the service is free for them to use, we have seen a positive uptake in third party users.
“To support these internal efforts, we have received strong support from Egress to further raise awareness with our third parties and help them with any queries or difficulties.”
Kelly McCann, UK Sales Manager at Egress, comments: “Cafcass plays a crucial role in safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in the UK and we are delighted that Switch is helping to protect the highly sensitive information that needs to be shared as part of this process. In partnership with Cafcass, our Technical Services and Customer Service departments will provide ongoing support to their users through training and educational seminars, which are also integral to promoting the importance of data security to their external third parties. We look forward to continuing to help Cafcass derive these tangible data security benefits, in addition to reducing their reliance on postal services and supporting the Digital by Default initiative.”
Cafcass was set up on 1st April 2001 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act, which brought together the family court services previously provided by the Family Court Welfare Service, the Guardian ad Litem Service and the Children’s Division of the Official Solicitor’s Office.
It is a non-departmental public body accountable to Chris Grayling, MP, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). It works within the strategic objectives agreed by its sponsor department and contributes to wider government objectives relating to children.
Cafcass helps 140,000 vulnerable children and young people each year who are going through the family justice system. Its experienced Family Court Advisers become involved in cases when children are subject to an application for care or supervision proceedings by social services (public law) or in an adoption applications (public law). Cafcass also helps when parents who are separating or divorcing can’t agree on arrangements for their children (private law).