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Fi McFarlane, Head of Public Affairs said:

The Promise Scotland is pleased that the Scottish Government has accepted a significant majority of recommendations to deliver a redesigned hearings system shaped around a rights-respecting and non-adversarial inquisitorial model.
As Scotland continues to implement changes, the crucial principle of continuity and consistency of decision-making must be honoured. Children and young people have consistently spoken of the challenges of retelling their often difficult experiences to different panel members. Whilst Scottish Government has made clear that remuneration remains an option to be considered, Ministers have rejected the recommendation for paid chairs. That recommendation was never an end in itself, but the best way to ensure the system can facilitate continuity and good decisions. The Scottish Government's response rightly highlighted the contribution of volunteers. However, moving into the New Year, Ministers must listen to what children have been saying and uphold the Children’s Hearings System to provide stability, support, continuity and accountability.
Sustainability pressures for recruitment of panel members have only become more acute since ‘Hearings for Children’ was published. Therefore, remuneration and salaried options must continue to be considered and should not be ruled out due to the current budgetary pressures. As the ‘Hearings for Children’ report made clear, the redesigned Children’s Hearings System must be considered in the context of early support for children and families that should prevent children from entering the ‘care system’ in the first place.
By working together, making decisions for the long term, Scotland can keep the promise made to children, families and the care experienced community by 2030.

More on the Hearings For Children Redesign Report