Virtual children's hearings in Scotland 04 June 2020On the 20th March we were no longer able to hold face to face hearings due to the lockdown arrangements put in place by the Scottish Government. We moved very quickly to ensure that no child would be left without legal protection by holding virtual hearings. During the past few weeks we have worked hard to ensure that children, young people, their families, carers and professionals have been able to attend hearings using technology that has been properly tested for safety, security and functionality, so that safety and confidentially is not compromised. Where possible children and families have been offered support before during and after the hearing to express their view, and be part of the discussion that has led to the decisions that have been made. Families and children have also been given the choice to wait, where possible, and have their hearing held once we are all able to be together physically, rather than in a virtual environment. We know this is a different experience than face to face hearings and we have provided detailed virtual hearing guidance for our Panel Members to ensure that they can help and support children and families to contribute to hearing discussions - hearing their views remains vital. We are working tirelessly in preparation with Panel Members for a safe return to face to face Hearings within phase 1 of the Scottish Governments recovery plan. We are committed to engaging children, young people and their families to seek their views on what that safe return looks and feels like for them.