Coronavirus – attending Children’s Hearings
Coronavirus – update on Children’s Hearings – updated Thursday 18 February
In light of the ongoing restrictions, face to face Children’s Hearings are continuing as they are classed as an essential service. However, face to face Hearings are only taking place for a very limited number of cases where it is necessary to secure a child and/or relevant person’s participation.
All other Hearings are being held virtually.
It is now compulsory to wear face coverings in the Hearing room and for the duration of the Hearing (unless you are exempt). This means face coverings must be worn from arrival to leaving the Hearing centre.
If you do have to attend a face to face Hearing, as well as wearing a face covering, please continue to follow physical distancing measures and sanitise your hands on entering and leaving the Hearings Suite.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Reporter. Their contact details will be on the letter sent to you. Contact details for each of our local teams are available here.
Attending a face to face Hearing
If you are attending a face to face Hearing, please watch our short animation beforehand.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, most Children’s Hearings are being held online via video conferencing. Only a few face to face Hearings are being held to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you are due to attend a virtual Hearing, you will receive a letter from us giving you more information about how you can participate via a tablet laptop/PC or mobile phone.
The Virtual Hearings Team will then send instructions to help you with the set up. This will be followed by a test to make sure you are prepared for the day of the Hearing.
We have a section on our website with everything you need to know about participating in a Virtual Hearing. Find out more here.
If you cannot attend a virtual Hearing
We know it might not be possible for every child, young person or relevant person to join their Hearing remotely. We are doing all we can to make this happen, but if children, young people and relevant persons cannot join their Hearing virtually, they can still provide their views.
This can be done by emailing the information to the local team mailbox and the Reporter will then ensure this information is given to the Panel Members. This information is included in the letter sent to children, young people and relevant persons.
If you need to contact one of our local teams, please contact them via email or telephone. A list of local email addresses and phone numbers is available here.
There is other people who can help you. You can find a list of Legal Representatives in your area here.
You can find more information about advocacy, plus a list of all the Advocacy Organisations in your area at: www.hearings-advocacy.com/contact-someone-local/
You can contact Parentline on 08000 28 22 33 or via their website.
We have also created a set of questions and answers which might help you if participating in a virtual Hearing. You can read them here.
Taking part in a virtual Hearing? Check out our top tips animation! More detailed advice is available here.
The Scottish Government has issued guidance on looked after children and children’s hearings following last week’s emergency Coronavirus legislation. The guidance document, which is aimed at stakeholders, gives an overview of key provisions in the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020. You can read the guidance document here.
Under the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, there are some temporary changes to the law. These changes are only in force for as long as the new temporary legislation is in force. This information sheet is designed to help parents and carers understand some of the changes. Click here to find out more.