25 May 2023

Calls for transformational change in Scotland’s Children’s Hearings System

‘Hearings for Children: The Redesign Report’ has today (25 May) been published by The Promise Scotland following the work of The Hearings System Working Group, a partnership between Children’s Hearings Scotland, The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, and The Promise Scotland.

A Children’s Hearing is an important part of Scotland’s ‘care system’ and is a legal meeting for children and young people in need of help, support or protection. The Hearing makes decisions about what support should be put in place to support children and their families.

The report calls for transformational change to create a Hearings System that puts children and families at the centre. The work and report is a direct response to the conclusion of The Promise of the Independent Care Review, that the underlying structures of Scotland’s Children’s Hearings System must be “best placed to truly listen and uphold the legal rights of children and their families”.

The report outlines 97 recommendations for a redesigned Children’s Hearings System and calls on the Scottish Government to put in place a collaborative programme for delivering and implementing the recommendations. These have been informed by an extensive engagement and design process with children and young people, parents and carers, and with care experienced children and young people through Our Hearings Our Voice, the Better Meetings group in Moray, and CELCIS’s Voice and Inclusion Project (VIP). In 2021/22, 10,494 children and young people in Scotland were referred to the Children’s Reporter, the person who will decide if a child or young person needs to be referred to a Children’s Hearing. This represents 1.1% of all children and young people in Scotland. The majority of children and young people (8,691) were referred on welfare grounds.

Read the reports