Coronavirus – attending Children’s Hearings
Beyond Level 0 – Update on Children’s Hearings – 11 August 2021
With the announcement that Scotland will move beyond level 0 COVID-19 restrictions from Monday 9 August, SCRA continues to ensure health and safety is paramount in our Hearing Centres.
As the move beyond Level 0 does not signal the end of the pandemic, we are continuing to take the following steps in all our Hearing Centres to ensure they are as safe as they can be for everyone:
Physical distancing: Whilst the restrictions on physical distancing have been lifted, the advice is that we should still maintain some distance between ourselves and others as an effective way to stop transmission of the virus. Therefore, we are introducing 1 metre physical distancing in our Hearings Centres and Hearing rooms to encourage everyone to maintain good/safe personal spacing.
Face coverings: Children under 12 don’t need to wear a face covering. So, unless you are exempt on health or other grounds, everyone else attending our Hearing Centres should continue to wear face coverings in communal areas such as reception and corridors and on entering and leaving the Hearing room. Where Hearing participants are at least 1 metre physically distanced or have partitions between them, then face coverings can be removed once seated. We continue to encourage everyone attending Hearings to wear their face coverings during the Hearing, unless they are talking.
Attending Hearings: Virtual and hybrid (a mix of face to face and virtual) Hearings are still options for children, young people and their families to participate in their Hearing. However, we do anticipate an increase of more people attending face to face Hearings and we will continue to ensure rigorous cleaning and health and safety measures in all our Hearing Centres. With the move to 1 metre distancing, this means that our Hearing rooms may be able to accommodate more people. However, for the time being, we remain committed to ensuring essential participants only attend face to face Hearings.
We intend to review this position again by the end of September to ensure that we are aligned with the most up to date advice and guidance.
If you have any questions before your Hearing, you can contact your Reporter. Phone number and email addresses are available in the Contact Us section of our website.
If you are due to participate in a Virtual Hearing and want to do a test beforehand. Please contact our Virtual Hearings Team.
Attending a face to face Hearing
If you are attending a face to face Hearing, please watch our short animation beforehand.
Although we have moved beyond level 0, many Children’s Hearings are still being held online via video conferencing.
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 a leaflet for parents with more contact information.
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.