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Our Children’s Hearings System is:

The Hearings System in Scotland has developed and been shaped over a period of some 40 years, adapting to a variety of social, demographic and legal challenges. The Hearings System has proven resilience and will continue to adapt and improve.

The Hearings System is:

•  Based on a paramount concern for the welfare of children and young people
•  Respectful of our mutual roles and responsibilities
•  Positive and constructive for children and young people, committed to their
•  rights and needs
•  Transparent, fair and lawful
•  Committed to a culture of learning and partnership

The Hearings System in Scotland is founded on humanitarian principles, emphasising welfare, protection and positive growth for children and young people. The Hearings System is founded on a commitment to children’s needs and rights which we believe can only exist in the context of a wider commitment to human rights.

The Hearings System relies on a number of highly interdependent roles – the Panel Members, the social workers, the legal representatives, Reporters and Safeguarders and a wide range of other professionals. We know that when these individuals work well together – the decisions they make and the future outcomes for children and young people are the best they can be. Child-centred, timely decisions, comprehensively implemented, supported by professionals, agencies, families and our communities give children and young people the opportunities that they need to overcome the difficulties and adversity that they may have already encountered in their lives.

The Hearings System is there to meet the needs of children and young people as part of a fair, transparent and lawful process. Decisions have to be made by ensuring a balance is struck between the rights of the child/young person and their family. These rights and obligations are sometimes perceived as competing and irreconcilable.

However, all agencies and professionals involved in the Hearings System, in undertaking their responsibilities, will have, at the centre of their approach a demonstrable and overarching concern for the welfare of children and young people as well as a recognition and respect for the legal decision making role of the Hearing.

Put simply that the welfare of the child or young person is paramount and we should all be able to consistently show this through our day to day actions.

Panel Members and Reporters have a statutory responsibility to observe this paramountcy, other than in exceptional circumstances. They also have an overarching objective to ensure that the environment within which the discussions take place is as fair, supportive and conducive to participation by the child/young person as far as is possible and will manage the proceedings in order to secure this.

Leaders within the Hearings System, re-stated the values and vision for our work for and on the behalf of children and young people in the Hearings System. We want this vision and those values to be visible all across Scotland, with everyone aligning themselves with them. These can be found here.


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