In 2009, SCRA created a Participation Group to make SCRA and the Children’s Hearings System more accessible and more responsive to the needs of children, young people, their parents and carers, and to create long term, structured solution to support and enable the participation of children, young people and their parents/carers.

At that time, SCRA also appointed a Participation Officer, and significant progress has been made in terms of practice, policies, recruitment, property and communications. This briefing sheet provides an update on our participation work.

Areas of participatory practice

In line with our fundamental purposes, our Corporate Parenting responsibilities, Better Hearings commitments, and findings from the Independent Care Review, SCRA is committed to multiple areas of participatory practice. These include:


In line with our fundamental purposes, our Corporate Parenting responsibilities, Better Hearings commitments, and findings from the Independent Care Review, SCRA is committed to multiple areas of participatory practice. These include:

  • Improved communication with, and support to, children, young people, parents and carers, including electronic, paper-based and personalised services. In 2018, 2019 and early 2020, SCRA’s Participation Officer and the Participation Group particularly focussed on increasing staff awareness of protected characteristics, tailoring information materials, and providing sensory areas for people with Autism and sensory difficulties. In 2020 specialised take-away sensory-friendly kits were piloted and launched in three Localities.

  • Provision of child-and-young-person friendly Hearing suites to promote a safe, inclusive and participative environment as a rolling programme, all of which have been design-led by Hearings experienced young people. Since the project was launched in 2018 we have delivered over 15 new Hearing rooms from the portfolio with further rooms being rolled out in 2020/2021.

  • Building on existing relationships and forging new ones with key partners, we have been delivering ongoing participative work with key partners to improve the support they can offer to children, young people and families. We have also delivered national training to partner agencies to improve their knowledge and understanding of the Children’s Hearings System and legislation.

SCRA’s commitment to providing Modern Apprenticeships to young people involved in the Children’s Hearings System and/or having been Looked After and Accommodated is successfully into its tenth year. The programme commenced in 2010 and we recently recruited our 13th Hearings-experienced young person to undertake the Apprenticeship.

In 2015 we also introduced funded temporary work experience placements in partnership with Local Authorities for care-experienced young people. We have successfully run three of these with another commencing later in 2021.

In addition to improving internal practice, communications and work opportunities for vulnerable young people, SCRA is committed to improve our external partnership work on both a local and national scale. SCRA has developed strong partnerships and working relationships with a variety of key agencies and organisations in order to promote improved child protection practice, an understanding of the Children’s Hearings System, and support to children, young people and families attending Children’s Hearings. Work streams include training and information sharing, delivering new communications, advocacy and support information, and improvements in tailoring information for enhanced service delivery.

We have been working closely with Who Cares? Scotland, with whom we have agreed to incorporate Care Experience as a tenth protected characteristic in all of our practice, recruitment and employment policies. In addition, strong local links have been built with multiple agencies and organisations involved with service provision associated with the Hearings System.

A key part of our participation activity is our ongoing work with Our Hearings, Our Voice (OHOV). SCRA continues to host and support the OHOV team and have commissioned a number of pieces of work, including a consultation about the return of face to face Hearings following the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCRA has developed a suite of communications materials for children and young people including leaflets, films, cartoon animations and podcasts. These were all designed in consultation with children and young people and can be downloaded from our website. There are regularly reviewed and updated. We also have a suite of easy read guides.


Corporate Parenting Plan

Easy Read

Films and podcasts

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