Redesign will put the needs of children and families with lived experience at heart of The Children’s Hearings System


A partnership between Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS), the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and The Promise Scotland, that will facilitate a redesign of Children’s Hearings System with the needs of children and families with lived experience at its heart.  

This will ensure effective implementation of the Independent Care Review and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, making sure Scotland #KeepsThePromise. 

The Independent Care Review’s report the promise outlined what the Review heard from thousands of children, young people, families and the paid and unpaid workforce about the Children’s Hearings System.  The Promise Scotland, the body which drives the change demanded by the Care Review, set out in Plan 21-24 and Change Programme ONE who, how and what must happen next to #KeepThePromise.  

Former Sheriff David Mackie has been appointed as the independent chair of The Hearings System Working Group.  Sheriff Mackie retired last year after 15 years at Alloa Sheriff Court.  On his appointment, Sheriff David Mackie, said: 

“I’m honoured to have been appointed to this position and glad of the opportunity to make a real contribution to the work to keep the Promise of the Independent Care Review.  

The Working Group’s task is important and likely to affect policy and practice to a significant degree. Above all it will have a real and, I hope, beneficial impact on the lives of children and young people who find themselves on the verge of care, in care and moving out of care.  

For those reasons it is important that I and the Group be held to the highest possible standards in the fulfilment of our work. For my part I look forward to giving my full commitment to the role.” 

Membership of the Working Group comprises of four core partners; Children’s Hearings Scotland, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, The Promise Scotland and Scottish Government and will include members with lived experience of the Hearings System.  

The Working Group will prepare detailed proposals for the redesign of The Children’s Hearings System, this will include, agreeing a vision; analysing the practice, legislative, budgetary and structure blocks to implementation of the vision; and agreeing proposals for legislative change.  However, changes the group identifies that don’t require legislation and would #KeepThePromise will be progressed at pace.  What can change now, will change now. 

Scottish Government will support Children’s Hearings Scotland, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration Boards to participate and work closely to ensure work to prepare legislation is planned effectively and sequenced in line with parliamentary cycles. 

Over the next few months focus will be on scoping the work and making sure the resources are in place to make the necessary change.