Coronavirus – attending Children’s Hearings

Update on Children’s Hearings – December 2021

Following the First Minister’s announcement in the Scottish Parliament this week, here is an update on what we are doing to keep Children’s Hearings safe:

Virtual Hearings:

In recent months with restrictions having eased, more Children’s Hearings were being held face to face. However, in light of the new Omicron variant and taking into account advice from the Scottish Government, over the festive period and early into the new year, whilst some Children’s Hearings might be held face to face, most Children’s Hearings will be held virtually.

If you are due to participate in a face to face Children’s Hearing and it is likely to change, your Reporter will be in touch as soon as possible to update you/make alternative arrangements.

If you haven’t taken part in a Virtual Hearing before, there’s lots of information and top tips on our website.

Our Hearings centres:

If you do have to visit one of our Hearing centres, our commitment remains that anyone who needs to visit or work in our offices and Hearing centres will be able to do so safely.  We have had high baseline safety measures in place throughout the pandemic.   We are now returning to two metre physical distancing in all SCRA buildings in order to provide the safest possible environment for everyone.  Completing the move to two metres physical distancing across our premises will take a couple of days while we make the change necessary to layout and signage.

There will also be less people in our buildings, as where possible, staff are working from home. If you do visit one of our buildings, we will have plenty of signage directing you, as well as lots of hand sanitiser for you to use.

We continue to ask everyone (unless you are exempt) to wear a face covering in our buildings. Effective immediately,  a face covering should be worn  at all times during a face to face Hearing, unless  it needs to be removed temporarily to make yourself understood.   We would also encourage anyone attending a Hearing to take a lateral flow test before attending.

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.


Virtual Hearings

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.


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 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.


Helpful tips

We have also created a set of questions and answers which might help you if participating in a virtual Hearing. 

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 parents and carers understand some of the changes. Click here to find out more.


Receive our e-news bulletin

Enter email to sign up to our newsletter