Coronavirus – attending Children’s Hearings
Coronavirus – update on Children’s Hearings – published Monday 30 March 2020
SCRA offices and Hearing centres remain closed. Children, young people, their families and anyone else who would usually attend a Children’s Hearing should not travel to our Hearing centres.
If you want to contact your Reporter, email addresses for each of our local teams are available further down this page.
Here is an update on what’s happening:
- Only those hearings required for the urgent and immediate protection of a child/young person are taking place. All non-essential hearings have been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date where necessary.
- Children’s hearings cannot take place in a hearings centre or other location under the current Government direction, so for at least the next 4 weeks there will not be any hearings taking place in our Hearing Centres.
- We are now operating hearings remotely using VScene technology. Until we can perfect the use of this technology interim arrangements are being made to protect children by maintaining the legal status quo. Currently this involves scheduling virtual hearings with three Panel Members only, supported by the Reporter.
- We are working at great speed to test out and roll out the necessary technology to enable meaningful hearings to take place. We hope that by the week beginning 6th April we will have plan that sets out locally how we may be able to enable the participation of some professionals, e.g. Social Workers, children’s advocacy, legal representatives and Safeguarders, and how these professionals support the participation of families and children.
- We are developing infrastructure that will allow a number of participants to remotely and virtually take part in a virtual hearing including the participation of children and families and will work with partners to promote and facilitate this.
Neil Hunter, SCRA’s Principal Reporter/Chief Executive Officer said: “These measures aim to ensure that we protect the health and wellbeing of everyone involved in the Children’s Hearings System.
“The virus continues to spread and these arrangements will support the public heath response, by reducing the requirement for physical attendance at Children’s Hearings whenever possible, reducing the risk to children and families, our staff, Panel Members and our partners.”
Contact someone local
During the Coronavirus pandemic, please contact us via email rather than telephone. Here’s email addresses for all our local teams.
City of Aberdeen: email@example.com
Children’s Hearings court proceedings
If you are due to attend court for Children’s Hearings proceedings, the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service is advising that no member of the public should attend court. Please visit the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website for more information.
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.