Keeping The Promise – A round up of our recent activity

Posted on 12th Apr 2023
Two young women with their back to the camera making hearts with their hands above their heads

There is a huge amount of work going on throughout SCRA to Keep The Promise, with a number of new improvement projects beginning to take off which we are excited to share with you…

Pre-Hearing Planning Meeting

Members of SCRA’s Keeping The Promise Team held a Quality Improvement planning day with Our Hearings, Our Voice (OHOV) where the group spent the morning brainstorming ideas around how children and young people might be better supported and prepared to participate in their Hearings. They discussed how Pre-Hearing visits might be re-imagined to incorporate more in-depth Pre-Hearing planning and the development of a toolkit to be used to support preparation of children and young people.

The second part of the day used Quality Improvement methodology tools to map out the current process for scheduling a Hearing, before mapping how the group imagined the optimum process should look like.  An empathy map was completed to really understand from a Hearing- experienced young person their thoughts, feelings and perceptions of the current process and what they want, need or hope for future Hearing preparation. The next steps for the project team are to come together to determine how the ideas and vision of the young people can be brought to life within a pilot Locality.

Working with solicitors to improve practice

The Promise recognises the importance of Solicitors in the Hearings System in upholding the rights of children on the edge of, and within Scotland’s system.  The Promise recommends that lawyers working in the Children’s Hearings system act in a way that is accessible, understandable, not overtly adversarial and that they should have knowledge and understanding of the care system, trauma and additional support needs.

OHOV shared with us some of their experiences of solicitors within Hearings. You can listen to a short audio clip here.

It is important to note, this does not represent everyone’s experience of solicitors in Hearings and many people have positive experiences. However, we want to work with partners to make sure this is always the case. SCRA’s Keeping The Promise team, in consultation with the Children’s Hearings Improvement Partnership is working closely with a number of stakeholders including young people from OHOV, solicitors and colleagues from Children’s Hearings Scotland to develop a resource that will support solicitors involved in Hearings. More information about this project will be available soon.


The Language Project is looking at how we can change the language used in the Children’s Hearings System and SCRA’s Keeping The Promise Operational Change Lead has been delivering Language that Cares webinars and face to face sessions across the country.  Here is just one of the many positive comments that were made following the sessions:

 “Great session, great to hear about all the work that is going on. There is no quick fix for this, it’s going to take a huge effort on behalf of all stakeholders. Brilliant to hear how SCRA are helping to lead the way.”

Next steps are being progressed through the multi-agency group previously known as the Word Busters. The group has rebranded and are now called Language Leaders with the strap line; Because what we hear in Hearings matters. The group felt that this more accurately reflected their work as language embodies more than simply words and the term leaders reflects the determination to lead improvement in the Children’s Hearings System.

The Language Leaders who have now met four times have identified a group of words that need to be “binned” from the Hearings System and those that need to be kept, but described differently to prevent distress or confusion.

Further details on the work of the group can be found on the OHOV website.

Child Friendly Scheduling

The Child Friendly Scheduling Project being piloted in Ayrshire aims to provide a more personal, bespoke service to every child and young person attending Hearings by giving them a choice about the date, time and location/type of Hearing. The project is quickly gaining momentum and the team are excited to have already started scheduling Hearings following the input from the child or young person. More information about this exciting piece of work will be available shortly.

Learning and Development

In response to the Independent Care Review which told us that ‘there is an over representation of children with additional support needs’ and recommended that ‘Everyone involved in the Children’s Hearing System must be properly trained in the impact of trauma, childhood development, neuro-diversity and children’s rights” there has been a huge focus on learning and development in these areas and SCRA recently launched a Neurodiversity Champions group which will help us to roll out training in partnership with Salveson Mindroom. You can read more about this on our website.

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