Face to face Hearings – what to expect now
The first face to face Hearings will restart the week of Monday 13 July. If you are due to attend a Hearing on or after that date, you will receive a letter from the Children’s Reporter, along with some extra information about what to expect when you arrive at your Hearing.
Things will be a little bit different than before. Here’s some information which will help you prepare for your Hearing…
You will have been advised who is attending your Hearing in person in advance of the Hearing. You should only attend if you have been invited to the Hearing. If you would like someone to accompany you, please contact the Reporter as soon as possible as this may require the Reporter to make alternative arrangements for your Hearing. We are trying to limit the number of people in Hearing rooms to ensure social distancing.
Please do not attend if you, or anyone in your family, or anyone you have been in contact, with shows symptoms of Covid-19 such as a high temperature, fever, continuous cough or a loss of taste or smell, or if you are waiting on the results of a Covid-19 test, contact the Reporter immediately and they will make alternative arrangements for you to attend your Hearing.
As you have been asked to attend a Hearing in person, this counts as an essential reason for travel. Have your Hearing letter with you as proof your journey is essential and remember to bring any other papers you need for your Hearing with you too.
It’s important that how you travel to your Hearing is safe. Please follow the government advice on travel.
If you can travel by private vehicle then you should do so.
If you would normally use public transport to attend a Hearing, please leave additional time for your journey (and check your local bus / train provider for any route or time changes).
You now need to wear a face mask or scarf on public transport, so please ensure you have the necessary face covering for all those travelling with you (further information on travel and Coronavirus can be found on the Scottish Government website).
You will be able to claim your travel expenses when you arrive at the Hearings Centre. Speak to the Receptionist who will organise that for you. It would be helpful if you had any receipts to share with the Receptionist.
Please arrive as close to your Hearing time as possible and on arrival please proceed directly to reception. Please do not socially gather outside the front door or within the reception area.
There will be signs in reception advising you to follow good hand hygiene practices when you are in the Hearing Centre. Hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities will be available for your use throughout your visit.
You’ll be asked to confirm that you do not have any, or been in contact with some who has, symptoms of Coronavirus. You will also be asked if you are waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test. You will be asked to leave the Hearings Centre if you say ‘Yes’ to any of these questions and alternative arrangements for your Hearing will be made.
Please make sure you follow any signs directing you around the Hearings Centre and ensure that you stay at least 2 metres away from anyone else who is not in your family/care group.
The Hearing may be slightly different to what you may have been used to. There may not be panel members or other partner agency staff at the Hearing as they may attend virtually, but it is likely you will know that before you arrive. The Reporter will inform you how the Hearing will proceed and will be there to answer questions you may have on the arrangements.
You will not be required to wear a face mask in the Hearing, as we will be strictly applying physical distancing arrangements. If, however, for a very exceptional reason that a face mask is required, you will be provided with one before your Hearing starts.
Please remain within your allocated seat at all times. This is to ensure that we can meet the physical distancing requirements within the Hearing Room. If you have young children attending with you, please ensure that they do not move about the Hearing Room, and as much as possible stay as close to your allocated area within the Hearing room. Unfortunately, we’ve had to remove all our toys and games from the Hearing Centre to reduce any Covid-19 risks, but any child or young person is welcome to bring along their own toy, which should be taken away with them at the end of the Hearing.
If you need to leave the Hearing for any reason, let the Reporter know and they will be able to help. The health, safety and wellbeing of everyone in our Hearing Centres are our priority, so listen carefully to the Reporter and / or Receptionist about the use of the Hearing Centres.
Toilet facilities are available in the Hearings Centre, but it is likely that there will only be one person allowed in at a time (unless you are accompanying a child).
You should follow the directions around the Hearing Centre which will take you to the exit. Please ensure that you thoroughly wash your hands or use the hand sanitiser available before you leave the Centre. Please encourage any young children to do the same. We thank you for helping us manage our Hearing Centres safely.
If you are concerned about attending the Hearing or you see something that’s not right, please contact the Reporter so that they can take appropriate action.
If you have any questions before your Hearing, please contact the Reporter. Their contact details will be on the letter sent to you. You can also access email addresses and phone numbers for our local teams here.