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The Children's Panel - life changing

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  • Adjournment

    A short break in the children's hearing. The hearing must start again on the same day.

  • Adoption order

    An order made by a sheriff which takes away parental rights and responsibilities from one or more persons and gives them to another person.

  • Area Support Team (AST)

    An Area Support Team (AST) is made up of a group of volunteers, who carry out functions on behalf of the National Convener of Children's Hearings Scotland. There are 22 ASTs and approximately 250 AST members across Scotland. AST members provide support to members of the Children’s Panel who sit on children's hearings in their local area. ASTs were introduced under the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.

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  • Child protection order

    An order issued by a sheriff in an emergency which removes the child to, or keeps them in, a place of safety.

  • Children’s hearing

    A children's hearing consists of three lay tribunal members called panel members, who are trained volunteers from the local community. The children’s hearing listens to the child or young person’s views, as well as those of the family, and considers all the information that has been provided by, for example, social workers. The hearing then makes a decision about what support and help is required to assist the child or young person, and can make a compulsory supervision order if necessary.

  • Children’s Hearings Improvement Partnership (CHIP)

    This national network of professionals, individuals and agency representatives meets regularly as the CHIP group. They work in partnership with the aim of improving outcomes and experiences for children and young people across the Children’s Hearings System. To find out more, visit the CHIP website.

  • Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS)

    CHS is the dedicated national body which was created by the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 to support the delivery of the National Convener’s functions associated with the recruitment, selection, retention, training and support of panel members.

  • Children's Hearings Scotland community

    The phrase 'Children's Hearings Scotland community' (CHS Community) is used to describe panel members, Area Support Team members and clerks to the Area Support Team, CHS Training Unit staff, CHS National Team members at Ladywell House, and CHS Board members, as a whole group.

  • Children's Reporter

    Trained professionals who are responsible for investigating referrals made to them and deciding whether a children's hearing should be arranged for the child or young person.

  • Compulsory supervision order

    Under the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011, a compulsory supervision order (CSO) is an order that the hearing can make which means that a named local authority is responsible for supporting the child or young person. The CSO will have conditions attached, such as what support the child is to receive, where the child or young person is going to live, for example with foster carers or in residential care, and/or who the child should have contact with. Many children and young people who are subject to a CSO are looked after at home.

  • Corporate parent

    Corporate parents are organisations and individuals who have a legal responsibility for children and young people. CHS and the National Convener of CHS became corporate parents on 01 April 2015 under part 9 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. This means that we have to work with other corporate parents to meet the needs of looked-after and care experienced children and young people.

  • Curator ad litem

    A person appointed by a Sheriff to represent the child’s interests in court proceedings.

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  • Deferral

    To defer a hearing means that the panel members are unable to make a decision about the future of the child or young person on the day of the hearing. This may be because they would like some more information about the young person before they make a decision, so the hearing is stopped (deferred) to wait for that information and it will be re-arranged for another day.

    Also known as ‘continuing’ the hearing under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

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  • European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

    The Convention defines the human rights that signatory states must uphold. These rights include the right to life, the right to a fair trial and the right to family life. 

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  • Feedback loop

    The feedback loop is a way in which Children's Hearings Scotland gathers information from local authorities about the implementation of compulsory supervision orders made in their area, and the impact these have on the wellbeing of children and young people. The National Convener produces an annual report using information from the feedback loop.

  • Framework

    We use this word to describe the structures and guidance we have put in place to make sure that everyone at Children's Hearings Scotland knows what their job is.

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  • Grounds for referral

    There are different legal reasons why a child or young person might be referred to a Children's Hearing – these are called the grounds for referral or s67 grounds. 


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  • Head of Unit

    The person in charge of the residential accommodation where is it proposed a child should stay.

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  • Interim compulsory supervision order (ICSO)

    If the panel members defer a hearing, they could decide to issue an interim compulsory supervision order. A children’s hearing will only decide to make an interim compulsory supervision order if it thinks that something must be done urgently to protect the young person.

    Sometimes, in very serious situations, the panel members may have concerns about a young person’s behaviour and may feel they are putting themselves or other people in danger. They may be going missing a lot from where they live or getting into trouble all the time with the police. The panel members could decide to issue an interim compulsory supervision order for the young person to be kept in a place where they cannot leave. This is called a Secure Authorisation. A children’s hearing will only decide to issue an interim compulsory supervision order with secure authorisation if it thinks that something must be done straight away and that a secure authorisation is the only option to keep the young person safe.

    If an interim compulsory supervision order is issued, it can only last for a maximum of 22 days. If a young person does not agree with the decision to make the interim compulsory supervision order, they can appeal the decision to the court.

  • Interim extension of a compulsory supervision order (IECSO)

    An interim decision to extend an existing compulsory supervision order to the next children’s hearing where the hearing has been deferred to another day.

  • Implementation authority

    The local authority who implements an order issued by the children's hearing.

  • In-service training

    In-service training is a programme of both national and local training which is provided for panel members throughout the duration of their service. In-service training is a mix of compulsory and non-compulsory training.

  • Interim variation of a compulsory supervision order (IVCSO)

    An interim decision to vary (make changes to) an existing compulsory supervision order where the hearing has been deferred to another day.

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  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

    We use the term key performance indicator to describe a way of measuring how well we are doing to meet our goals.

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  • Legal Aid or Legal Assistance

    Payment covering some, or all, of a person’s legal expenses. Administered by the Scottish Legal Aid Board on behalf of the Scottish Government. Further information can be found at www.slab.org.uk.

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  • Management of hearings training

    Management of hearings training focuses on the skills, knowledge and competences required by a panel member to chair a children's hearing. The training comprises part of the compulsory in-service training panel members must complete after they begin to sit on children's hearings.

  • Medical examination order (MEO)

    An interim order made by a children's hearing where it is necessary for obtaining information or investigation of a medical nature. Can only be made where a s67 ground has been accepted or established and there is no compulsory supervision order already in place.

  • Movement restriction condition

    A condition as part of a compulsory supervision order or interim compulsory supervision order which restricts the movements of the child to a specified place.   The child is fitted with an electronic tag to monitor whether they are complying with the condition. 

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  • National Children's Panel

    The national Children's Panel is the largest lay tribunal in Scotland. Before the introduction of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011, in 2013, there were 32 different local authority children's panels. Now there is one national Children's Panel. All of Scotland's 2,500 children's panel members belong to the national Children's Panel, but they sit on children's hearings in the local authority area in which they either live or work.

  • National Convener

    The National Convener is an officer of Children's Hearings Scotland, a role created by the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011. The National Convener is responsible for the recruitment, appointment, support and training of Scotland’s volunteer panel members.

  • National curriculum

    The national curriculum sets out the compulsory training which all panel members must complete as part of their ongoing development.

  • National Standards for the Children's Panel

    These are a set of eight standards to make sure that panel members, Area Support Teams, Children's Hearings Scotland staff and Board members are all clear about what is expected of them in their different roles.

  • Non-disclosure request

    A request made by any person to a children's hearing that specified information be withheld from a specified person.

  • Notification

    The term for informing those with a duty and/or right to attend a children's hearing or pre-hearing panel. This will usually be by way of a letter from the Children’s Reporter.

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  • Outcomes

    We use this word to describe what we want to happen and what should get better if we meet our goals.

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  • Partnership agreement

    An agreement which outlines the support that will be provided by Children's Hearings Scotland and a local authority in relation to the Area Support Team and the national Children’s Panel.

  • Permanence

    The term used where plans are being made for a child to live away from their birth parents for the rest of their childhood.

  • Permanence order

    An order made by the sheriff giving the right to regulate the child’s residence, to provide guidance to the child, along with any other necessary provisions, to the local authority.

  • Pre-hearing panel

    A meeting of three panel members to discuss a matter in advance of a children’s hearing. A pre-hearing panel can be arranged to consider one or more of the following – the attendance of a child at a hearing, the attendance of a relevant person at a hearing, whether a person should be a relevant person and whether the children’s hearing is likely to consider secure accommodation for a child.

  • Pre-service training

    Pre-service training refers to compulsory training for panel members on their role and the skills and competencies they must demonstrate. All panel members must complete pre-service training successfully before beginning to sit on children's hearings.

  • Principal Reporter

    An officer established by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994 who has certain functions under the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.  The functions are carried out on the Principal Reporter's behalf by Children's Reporters. 

  • Procurator Fiscal

    The person who receives reports about crimes from the police and decides what action to take, including whether the person should be prosecuted.   The Procurator Fiscal will only deal with alleged crimes by children in the most serious of cases.    Further information can be found at www.crownoffice.gov.uk

  • Professional Development Award

    All people recruited to become Children's Panel members have to successfully complete some training before they can sit on a children's hearing. Following successful completion of this training, panel members receive a Professional Development Award for ‘Children’s Hearings in Scotland: Panel Members’ at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 7. This is a unique award, externally verified by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

  • Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG scheme)

    This is the national membership scheme in place to make sure that checks are completed on all paid and unpaid staff who work with children, young people and others who are regarded as vulnerable. The scheme aims to protect people and keep them safe through vetting those who work with them. All panel members, Area Support Team members and Children's Hearings Scotland staff and Board members need to be members of the PVG scheme. 

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  • Relevant period

    The length of time an order issued by the children's hearing will last.

  • Relevant person

    A relevant person is a parent of a child, a person who holds parental rights and responsibilities for a child or who has (or has recently had) a significant involvement in the upbringing of the child. 

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  • Safeguarder

    A person appointed by a children’s hearing, pre-hearing panel or sheriff to safeguard the interests of the child in the proceedings.

  • Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA)

    SCRA is the national body which manages the work of Children’s Reporters and provides accommodation for children’s hearings. To find out more, visit SCRA’s website, www.scra.gov.uk.

  • Section 67 ground

    The legal reason why a child is referred to a children’s hearing.

    Also see 'grounds for referral'.

  • Section 83(6) conditions

    The conditions which must be met in order for a child to be placed in secure accommodation or be subject to a movement restriction condition.  The conditions are that the child has previously absconded and is likely to abscond again, putting themselves at physical, mental or moral risk or the child is likely to self harm or the child is likely to cause injury to another person. 

  • Secure authorisation

    The decision of a children's hearing which allows a child to be placed in secure accommodation.

  • Senior Management Team (SMT)

    The Senior Management Team (SMT) is the executive decision-making body within CHS, with responsibility for the day-to-day management of operational functions and the staff. You can read more about the members of SMT here.

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  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

    An international convention which sets out the rights that all children under 18 have and are entitled to have protected. To see how the convention works in Scotland, please refer to the website of the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland at http://www.cypcs.org.uk/.

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  • Warrant to secure attendance

    An order issued by a children's hearing for the police to find and bring the child to another children's hearing.

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