We will now not be having our panel next month - it's going to have to be May.
Part of this is because our SW has been out of the office a lot so she hasn't been able to schedule a final appointment (I'm still not clear if she needs to see both of us but she definitely needs to see Mr Spouse) in time to send them the paperwork. But she also slightly worryingly said that it was partly because she had "not had all the overseas checks back". If she's waiting for them to come back, she'll be waiting a really long time.
We originally understood that we had to make "best efforts". We've had our FBI one back but the CA form was sent off with a check for payment, which hasn't been cashed. One of my African countries wrote back (after 2 months) to say we'd sent the wrong form of payment (so we sent the right form about 3 weeks ago). So, my paperwork is in their office, but there's no way they'll be writing back inside a month from now. The other country, therefore, has had our paperwork for 3 months. Again, we aren't holding our breath.