Coronavirus – attending Children’s Hearings

Coronavirus – update on Children’s Hearings – updated Tuesday 17 November

Face to face Children’s Hearings started to resume across Scotland in the middle of July. Although some parts of the country are moving into tier 4 restrictions, Children’s Hearings are classed as essential services and you can still attend a face to face Hearing if you live in these areas. Please just follow the latest Scottish Government travel advice.

Most of our main Hearing centres have reopened, while there’s a handful where work is still being carried out to ensure socially distanced Hearings can take place.

Hearing centres are reopening with all the necessary safety measures and strict social distancing in place.

Following the First Minister’s announcement on 7 October, we now require all staff and visitors to SCRA premises to wear appropriate face coverings whilst in communal areas.

These areas include reception areas, waiting rooms, moving through Hearing centres, corridors etc.  When everyone is seated socially distanced within the Hearing room, face coverings can be removed. They must be worn when exiting the Hearing room and until outside the Hearing centre.

We have supplies of disposable face coverings which are available for anyone who has forgotten to bring their own one.

At this stage, it is not mandatory to wear a face covering during the Hearing.  If anyone attending a Hearing is uncomfortable that others are not wearing a covering during the Hearing, then please talk to the Reporter as soon as possible and they will look at alternative arrangements (such as joining the Hearing virtually from another room).

If Scottish Government advice changes, then we will update our guidance accordingly.

If you are attending a face to face Hearing and have any questions or concerns beforehand, please contact your Reporter. Their contact details will be on the letter with information about your Hearing.

Travel to attend Children’s Hearings is classed as essential travel. However, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact your Reporter. Their contact information will be on the letter sent to you about your Hearing.

If you are attending a face to face Hearing, please make sure you follow the latest travel advice. More information is available on the Scottish Government website.

If you are attending a face to face Hearing, you will receive a notification letter from the Children’s Reporter, along with a flyer letting you know what to expect. Things are a bit different to before. Find out what to expect here.

Consulting with young people

As part of our preparation, we have also been consulting with Hearings-experienced young people. They have come up with some very welcome and creative ideas which are helping us to develop our plans. We have published a report aimed at children and young people letting them know that we have listened to their views and comments and to let them know what we are doing.

Virtual Hearings

While most of our Hearing centres are now open, virtual Hearings are continuing and they will continue to take place for the foreseeable future.

If you are due to attend a virtual Hearing, you will receive a letter from the Children’s Reporter giving you more information about how you can participate via a tablet laptop/PC or mobile phone.

With the letter about the Hearing, you will also receive an information sheet which will explain how you can join a virtual Hearing.

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.

The information that is being sent to children, young people and relevant persons, includes top tips about virtual Hearings. It also provides information about rights and reminds children and young people that you have the right to have a trusted adult, an advocate or lawyer attend the virtual Hearing to provide support.

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.

Contact information

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 a list of all the Advocacy organisations in your area here.

You can contact Parentline on 08000 28 22 33 or via their website.

Helpful tips

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.

Guidance - Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020

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.

Emergency legislation and Children’s Hearings

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 children, young people and families understand some of the changes. Click here to find out more.

Contact someone local

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, it is still best at this time to contact us via email, rather than telephone. Here’s email addresses (and telephone numbers) for all our local teams.

City of Aberdeen: Tel: 0131 244 8720 or email:
Alloa: Tel: 0131 244 8700 or email:
Angus: Tel: 0131 244 5700 or email:
Ayr: Tel: 0131 244 8777 or email:
Bellshill: Tel: 0131 244 8701 or email:
Dalkeith: Tel: 0131 244 4111 or email:
Dumbarton: Tel: 0131 244 8540 or email:
Dumfries: Tel: 0131 244 8550 or email:
Dundee:  Tel: 0131 244 5700 or email:
Edinburgh: Tel: 0131 244 4111 or email:
Elgin: Tel: 0131 244 8716 or email:
Falkirk: Tel: 0131 244 8700 or email:
Fraserburgh: Tel: 0131 244 8720 or email:
Glasgow: Tel: 0131 244 2100 or email:
Glenrothes: Tel: 0131 244 4106 or email:
Greenock: Tel: 0131 244 8560 or email:
Hamilton: Tel: 0131 244 8701 or email:
Inverness:  Tel: 0131 244 8788 or email:
Irvine: Tel: 0131 244 8777 or email:
Kilmarnock: Tel: 0131 244 8777 or email:
Kirkwall: Tel: 0131 244 8379 or email:
Lerwick: Tel: 0131 244 3780 or email:
Livingston:  Tel: 0131 244 8700 or email:
Lochgilphead: Tel: 0131 244 8540 or email:
Paisley: Tel: 0131 244 8201 or email:
Perth: Tel: 0131 244 5700 or email:
Selkirk: Tel: 0131 244 4111 or email:
Stirling: Tel: 0131 244 8700 or email:
Stornoway: Tel: 0131 244 8391 or email:
Stranraer: Tel: 0131 244 8561 or email:
Thurso:  Tel: 0131 244 8386 or email:
Tranent: Tel: 0131 244 4111 or email:

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