SCRA responds to publication of Hearings for Children report

Posted on 25th May 2023
A young girl holding a pink heart shaped lollipop

SCRA has welcomed publication of the Hearings System Working Group’s final report today called Hearings for Children.

Principal Reporter/Chief Executive Neil Hunter said the report reiterates the support for the Children’s Hearings System in Scotland and that the recommendations in the report would further strengthen and enhance the system. 

Neil said: “This is a landmark report which sets an exciting direction for Scotland’s Children’s Hearings System and to which SCRA was privileged to contribute to and shape. 

“We welcome the recognition and endorsement of the continued relevance of the Kilbrandon principles and ethos. We strongly support the end to end involvement of the Children’s Reporter throughout the Hearings process and we enthusiastically embrace the proposal for the Children’s Reporter to have an enhanced role at the pre-referral stage and the continued centrality of the Reporter on establishing the grounds of referral. 

“We have long advocated for improvements in the quality and consistency of decision making within Children’s Hearings and improvements in the effective implementation of Hearing decisions and corresponding sufficiency and quality of support to children and young people. 

“We will work energetically with our partners in Children’s Hearings Scotland and in Local Authorities to support these aspects and how we can best support their effective delivery. We strongly support the move to an inquisitorial model and a move away from aspects of adversarial practice that have gradually impinged over time on our system. And of course we all recommit ourselves to deliver the very best outcomes for children and young people in Scotland, who need the legal protections and support of Children’s Hearings.” 

Neil also welcomed a number of key recommendations in the report, including:

  • The focus on children’s rights, participation and voice.
  • Key parts of the process will be streamlined and strengthened.
  • A specialist judiciary. 
  • The need for investment in support for families and for significant investment in the Children’s Hearings System. 

Neil added: “There is lots of exciting news in this report. We are proud to have been part of the Hearings System Working Group in a process that is really listening to children and young people about the changes that will make a difference to their experience.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to all the young people from Our Hearings, Our Voice, The Promise Scotland, our partners on the group and of course all our staff who contributed throughout the process. 

“Going forward, we look forward to careful, considered, collaborative work with all partners in the Children’s Hearings System to implement transformational change and strengthen the system further.”

More information is available on The Promise Scotland website.

Photographs courtesy of Callum Bennett

  • Neil Hunter speaking in front of a Keeping The Promise banner
  • 7 adults smiling holding Keeping The Promise leaflets
  • 4 adults smiling holding Keeping The Promise leaflets
  • Sherriff and Neil Hunter at a Keeping The Promise event
  • 6 adults smiling holding Keeping The Promise leaflets
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