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Blog: how lived experience shapes hearings

Angela Phillips, Participation Co-ordinator

Why at Children’s Hearings Scotland do we include the voice of lived experience in our work?

At CHS, we know that many children and young people with lived experience of the hearings system have a desire to be heard and to influence the systems that have direct impact on their lives. Who better to shape the work of CHS and to make changes than someone who has experienced the hearings system first hand?

Children and young people are experts in their own lives and can act as agents of change, and central to CHS’s ambitions is the role of participation as a means of improving our work.

‘At the centre of everything we do’

Our National Standards for the Children’s Panel state that ‘children and young people are at the centre of everything we do’. This means making sure not only that children are at the centre of their hearing but also that they are involved in designing our strategies, policies, practices and the way we deliver our services.

We also seek to involve children in Scottish policy development, guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Article 12 of the UNCRC directs our approach to participation. It states:

  • 12:1 [Countries bound by the Convention] shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
  • 12:2 For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Driving improvements

Building on the work that has already been done at CHS, the voice of lived experience will support an ambitious programme of participatory work involving children and young people with experience of the hearings system to drive forward improvements in practices and standards.

Adopting the four principles of the Lundy Model of Participation, CHS will provide space for children’s views, enable their voice, and ensure they have both an audience and influence.

graphic shows four principles of Article 12 of the UNCRC

This model is a way of conceptualising Article 12 of the UNCRC. The four elements have a rational chronological order:

Space: Children must be given safe, inclusive opportunities to form and express their view.

Voice: Children must be facilitated to express their view.

Audience: The view must be listened to.

Influence: The view must be acted upon, as appropriate.

There is a strong and well-established leadership commitment to participation at CHS, and amid the Promise reform agenda alongside changes to the structure of CHS, now is an exciting time to embed the voice of lived experience in all areas of our work.


Join our team as a Lived Experience Advisor

If you have lived experience of the Children’s Hearings System, we have a fantastic opportunity for a Lived Experience Advisor to join our team and help us involve children and young people to improve CHS’s work and uphold children’s rights. Please follow the link below and apply today.

Lived Experience Advisor (chscotland.gov.uk)