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#KeepThePromise Update

February 2023 #KeepThePromise background:

At Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) we are committed to #KeepThePromise to Scotland’s children, young people and families. To ensure we are leading change, and evidence the impact on children and young people in their hearings, we have established the CHS Promise Programme. The programme is comprised of several projects working in collaboration with our community and partners, covering various areas of the hearings system.  

Improving Reasons project Overview

The focus of the improving reasons project is to help identify how we can support panel members in writing reasons for decisions. We are looking to identify good practice and areas where guidance can be provided to help improve reasons.


The project team are developing a framework for reviewing reasons. The project is currently testing this framework using a small sample of decisions and reasons from record of proceedings. We will review and share when this stage of work is complete.

Trauma Informed Practice Overview

This project will deliver trauma informed learning, have volunteers complete a minimum level of training on trauma and evaluate the impact of this by the end of March 2023.


A lot of activity has taken place over the past couple of months including a Trauma Toolkit, developed by the Practice and Policy Team, to support the work of the group and Panel Members, a Panel Practice Advisor session has been developed to consolidate training. A workshop is being adapted for Panel Members and volunteers on this. 

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Overview

Ahead of the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law, we’re working on providing new tools for staff and volunteers to develop their skills and knowledge to best respect children’s rights.


The project team sent out a UNCRC baseline survey to all the Panel Members. The responses are currently being collated but early indications show that Panel Members show a real knowledge of some key principles of children’s rights, and we have seen some great suggestions on how we can do better to uphold them. The results will be available in due course. 

The team will also be inviting Panel Members to sign up for bespoke training on children’s rights by Children in Scotland in Spring 2023.  The CHS Learning Academy will host the online event and will be recorded for those unable to attend on the day. 

Hearing Re-Design Project Overview

In February 2020, the Independent Care Review published its recommendations making clear that by 2024, there needed to be a collaborative redesign of the Children’s Hearing System. Chaired by Sheriff David Mackie, work to redesign the Hearing System is being overseen by the Hearings System Working Group, consisting of Children’s Hearings Scotland, the Promise Scotland, Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and the Scottish Government, working collaboratively to achieve this redesign.


As the project draws to a close, proposals were submitted to the Hearings System Working Group and, alongside other sources of information, will be used towards the recommendations in the HSWG Report. The report is due for publication in Spring 2023.

Participations, Engagement and Consultation Project Overview

The Participation Engagement & Consultation Project is developing a consistent approach to enhance participation, engagement and consultation with children and young people with lived experience and our volunteers across CHS. The Project Team is working alongside our CHS Hearing Redesign Project team to embed the voices of these groups within our work with the Hearings Systems Working Group and CHS operational delivery.


As this project also draws to a close, the feedback from the Phase 2 consultation sessions on - the role of the tribunal member now and in the future, what support will tribunal members need in a world where we #keepthepromise, and how might specialist panels deliver better out comes for children and young people - were shared to the Hearings System Working Group to help inform their recommendations on the redesigned hearing system. 

Upholding and Siblings Rights Project Overview

Our work to implement the Children’s (Scotland) Act 2020 is designed to improve sibling rights and implement best practice by measuring and evidencing our impact in this area in children’s hearings.


We are at the final stages at showing the impact that the Children’s (Scotland) Act 2020 has had on CHS and hope to report back by the end of April 2023 on this.