Keeping The Promise – Spring round up

Posted on 29th May 2024

Our journey to Keep The Promise is well and truly underway. There’s lots of exciting projects ongoing. Here’s a quick round up of some of our recent improvement activity…

Letters and Notifications

We are committed to improving all our communications and a significant piece of work is underway to improve the letters we send to children, young people and relevant persons. We have been working with a group of staff from across the organisation which includes representatives from Our Hearings, Our Voice, the Practice team, participation and digital colleagues, as well as members of the Voice of Experience Reference Group. We have also been working alongside an external speech and language specialist to develop a new approach to our letters.

The first batch of letters (Hearing notifications) are now complete and ready to be piloted. The new-look easy read letters will be tested from this summer in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and Dumfries & Galloway. The next set of letters (investigation and decisions) will be finalised mid-July. Then Hearing outcomes and court letters will be ready later in the year.

Keeping The Promise Commitment Standards

We are about to launch a Keeping the Promise Commitment Standards pilot. The pilot aims to increase attendance of children, young people and relevant persons at Hearings by better preparing them for their Hearing.

We know from research that better preparation prior to a Hearing can increase an individual’s ability to participate in Hearings leading to a better experience. We hope that the project will lead to a reduction in the number of deferred Hearings, which not only benefits children and families by reducing the trauma of coming to multiple Hearings, it also allows our teams to operate more efficiently, freeing up capacity to spend time doing things that truly make a difference to children, young people and families.

Our staff will contact families before a Hearing to provide practical support such as offering upfront travel costs, data, support with Pre-Hearing visits, check Hearing Information Packs received, ensure access to information about supports to children and families such as local advocacy services and offer support to use a QR code on their notification letter to take them to further information about the Hearing centre. We are also introducing new video clips of the Hearing centres on our website.

Staff have already completed intensive training with input around trauma, speech and language, neurodiversity and data recording. The pilot will be launched in June in Ayrshire, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and Dumfries & Galloway.

Language that Cares

A group of Language Leaders – a multi-agency group with young experts from Our Hearings, Our Voice, have been working together to consider the use of Language in the Hearings System. They have been listening to children and young people and their experience of the language used and the impact that this can have, working with Practice to consider the aspects of our language that need to be there and have taken into account the many inputs from staff and stakeholders following the training sessions and from Our Hearings, Our Voice website of words to ‘bin’. There is recognition that using the wrong language can be stigmatising, upsetting and confusing.  Getting it right – or trying to, can be empowering, is more person centred and can lead to better interaction, understanding and participation.

Language and the culture that surrounds it is a long term project – for all of us, but we are off to a great start.  We recently published SCRA’s own Language that Cares guide to coincide with the launch of Articulate Animation – a joint initiative with SCRA, Our Hearings, Our Voice and Children’s Hearings System.

Communi-crate pilot

Hearings-experienced young people from the CELCIS VIP project, suggested creating a ‘bag of tricks’ to help children and young people communicate/participate better in their Hearing. A Communi-crate toolkit was created and has been piloted in the Glasgow Locality. The toolkit includes a worry monster, emoji fan, emoji cards, conversation cubes, whiteboard, and a range of communication cards including stop/go cards. The pilot has now been evaluated with excellent feedback and we are now hoping to test it in other areas. Watch this space for more information.

Understanding My Hearing – Western Isles

In April, we launched the Understanding My Hearing project in the Western Isles. The aim of the Keeping The Promise pilot is to provide enhanced support to children and young people to help them better prepare for their Hearings.

It is hoped the initiative will also enable children and young people to participate more effectively in their Hearing, understand what happens during their Hearing and what the Hearing decisions mean for them.

Now children age six and over coming to a Hearing in the Western Isles will be sent an invite to a Pre-Hearing visit and will also receive a scrapbook before their Hearing and after their Hearing they will receive a personalised letter from the Reporter and an offer of a post Hearing meeting.

The scrapbook includes pages for children and young people to write down how they are feeling, to customise their Hearing beforehand and to record Hearing decisions afterwards. It also contains information about their rights in the Children’s Hearings System and where to find help and more information.

The Western Isles initiative builds on a similar pilot launched in Fife in November 2023. The concept and design of the scrapbook came from Board Members from Our Hearings, Our Voice.

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