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Hearings System Working Group Redesign Report: Children and families have talked. The ‘system’ has listened.

After over 500 hours of discussion and deliberation, including 12 sessions with young people and 11 sessions with parents and carers and informed by over 24 organisations, the Hearings System Working Group (HSWG) will deliver its final Redesign Report. All of these discussions were built on a solid foundation– the 5,500 voices that informed the final conclusions of the Independent Care Review - the promise.

It has been a collaborative project. Retired Sheriff, David Mackie has Chaired the Group, led and facilitated by The Promise Scotland with Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) and Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) members of the Working Group. The Scottish Government has had an observer role and attended all meetings of the group.

Its purpose has been to develop a set of proposals about what it means to implement the promise within the Children’s Hearings System. Some of those changes might require a change to the law; some will not.

The group’s focus has been listening and has had design methodology at the heart of its approach. Design methodology might seem technical or ‘system’ focused language. But collaborative design with people is essential if Scotland is to both design the right services and design those services right. This is particularly important for people with lived experience. This work has been the implementation of the promise in action - not about asking people to retell difficult stories- but embracing their expertise in the design of services and ways of working that are built around the needs and voices of people.

Next week, the Redesign Report will be published and those voices will outline a radical new vision for how Children’s Hearing System should work. The Report is grounded in the experiences of children and young people, and comes with the collaboration of the ‘system.’ That collaboration is not always easy, it can be difficult for organisations to take a step back and review their processes and structures, to work together and listen as they do so. CHS and SCRA have been open and thoughtful in the way they have gone about this work.

Some of the recommendations can be implemented now, and that work must begin urgently. Some of the changes will require legislation and these can be delivered through the forthcoming Promise Bill. The Scottish Government have been right alongside this process and will lead on the development of the Promise Bill and oversee broader implementation.

Children and families have talked. Those that work and volunteer in and around the system have generously shared their time, their ideas and their expertise. The ‘system’ has listened. It is now time for Scotland to act and deliver Hearings for children. There is a promise to keep.

About the author

Fiona McFarlane - Head of Public Affairs
Photo credit: Sarah Maclean

Fiona McFarlane

Head of Public Affairs

Fiona works with colleagues and partners across Scotland to ensure that organisations understand their role, responsibility, and purpose in work to #KeepthePromise.

She makes sure The Promise Scotland is well positioned to tell this story of change, and to elevate, support and influence all those who are part of this work.

She also works with The Promise Oversight Board to help them in their public reporting role.