People at my Children’s Hearing
I am the most important person in my Children’s Hearing.
There are other people who might attend my Hearing too.
They all have different parts in my Hearing to ensure it is fair, that the Hearing has the right information and the best decision can be made for me.
Some people have a right to attend your Hearing. Others are only allowed to attend if the chair of your Hearing decides to allow them to attend. If you have views about which people should attend your Hearing you can let your social worker or the Reporter know. You can have a representative (for example a friend, a relative or an advocacy worker) and a solicitor attend your Hearing – they do not need an invitation, they have a right to attend if you want them to.
This page of our website explains who these people are.
All the people who attend your Hearing have a different part to play to ensure it is fair, that the Hearing has the right information and the best decision can be made for you. This page of our website explains who these people are. Some people have a right to attend your Hearing. Others are only allowed to attend if the chair of your Hearing decides to allow them to attend. If you have views about which people should attend your Hearing you can let your social worker or the Reporter know.
Your parents will be invited to your Hearing.
If you don’t live with your parents, then the people you live with will be invited to your Hearing. This might be a foster carer or a kinship carer (this could be a close relative like a grandparent).
If you are going to a Children’s Hearing, your social worker will also attend. This is someone who works for the Local Authority and who may visit you and your family if you need support. If you are placed on a Compulsory Supervision Order at a Children’s Hearing then a Social Worker must see you regularly to make sure that you are safe and well. Your Social Worker is invited to your Hearing and needs to submit a report about you and your circumstances before the Hearing, and will make recommendations about what should happen. This report must include any views you have given. This report will be shared with you (if you are old enough to understand the information), your parents, and the Panel Members. It might also be shared with your carers.
The Reporter will organise your Hearing and send you a letter about it. They will come and say hello to you when you arrive at the Hearings centre. They will be in the Hearing room to make a note of who attends and what happens and they will also help to ensure that your Hearing is fair. You can talk to them before or after your Hearing if you need help. You can also contact them beforehand to ask for a Pre-Hearing visit. This is where you visit the Hearings centre before hand to see what it is like.
There will be three Panel Members at your Hearing. They are specially trained volunteers from your local community. They will listen to you and everyone else in your Hearing. Then it is their job to make the decision which is best for you.
Other people who might be there
You are the most important person at your Children’s Hearing. You can have a representative (for example a friend, a relative or an advocacy worker) and a solicitor attend your Hearing – they do not need an invitation, they have a right to attend if you want them to. You can find out more about advocacy on this website.
If you have brothers or sisters, sometimes you will have your Hearing together or it might be just for you. Sometimes your brothers or sisters may have participation rights. You can learn more about what that means here.
Sometimes the Children’s Hearing or a Sheriff will ask a Safeguarder to help you. They are someone independent of your social worker, the reporter and panel members and their role is to safeguard your interests. Not all children and young people need to have a Safeguarder but if you have one they will be invited to your Hearing. You can learn more and watch a video about what is a Safeguarder here.
Advocacy workers are professionals who advocate for you by helping you to give your views and make sure the people at your Children’s Hearing know your views and what you want to happen. You can ask for an advocacy worker. Every child and young person going to a Children’s Hearing can get one. The advocacy worker will be there for you only. You can learn more about advocacy on this website for children and young people.
A solicitor (sometimes called a lawyer) is a legally trained person who can offer legal advice and assistance to children, young people, or their parents or carers and represent them at a Children’s Hearing. Children and young people usually don’t have to pay for a solicitor if you need one at your Children’s Hearing. They don’t have a right to attend your Hearing, only if you or your parents want them to be there.
Sometimes a teacher from your school will be invited along to your Children’s Hearing. They might just be there for part of your Hearing.
You can have a representative (for example a friend, a relative or an advocacy worker) and a solicitor attend your Hearing. Your parents, and perhaps your carers, can also each have a representative and a solicitor. If your brothers or sisters are attending your Hearing, or their Hearing is taking place together with yours, they might have a representative and/or a solicitor.
Anyone else who is helping you or your family might be invited to attend your Hearing if they have information which would help the Panel Members make the best decision for you. They might just be there for part of the Hearing.
Occasionally people learning about or involved with Children’s Hearings will ask to observe a Children’s Hearing. They will only observe if you and your parents, and sometimes your carers, do not object. If you are at your Hearing you will be asked whether you object (this means you can say no) to them observing, and you are free to agree or object.