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The CHS Promise Programme

The CHS Promise Programme was established in 2021 to ensure that CHS was driving change for infants, children and young people across Scotland following the publication of the Independent Care Review. Through collaboration, engagement and consultation CHS worked alongside its partners to deliver a programme of collaborative change and support the preparation of projects to deliver this.    

The programme was split into a number of projects: Improving Reasons; Trauma Informed Practice; UNCRC; Hearings Redesign; Upholding Siblings’ Rights; Tribunal Research; and Participation, Engagement and Consultation. 

Final report

Our final update on the Promise Programme gives you an overview of all the projects and what we achieved over the two years since its implementation to deliver positive outcomes for infants, children and young people across Scotland.

Promise Programme projects

Improving Reasons

The Improving Reasons Project was to help identify how we can support Panel Members in writing reasons for decisions. We looked to identify good practice and areas where guidance can be provided to help improve reasons.

What did we achieve?

  • Developed an initial framework tool that assesses the quality of reasons
  • Explored the future of auditing of reasons across Scotland in partnership with the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA)
  • Identified training opportunities for Panel Members to ensure high quality written reasons

Trauma Informed Practice

This project was developed to 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.

What did we achieve?

  • Trauma learning imbedded into existing learning materials
  • A new trauma learning module was created and rolled out across the CHS Community
  • New trauma learning is now part of all pre-service training and is also made available to staff

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

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

What did we achieve?

  • Created a Rights Map – matching UNCRC rights with CHS duties
  • Created a training plan for staff and the CHS Community on UNCRC rights
  • Created a child-friendly complaints and feedback system
  • Improved information and accessibility on children’s rights through public-facing forums

Hearings Redesign

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 Hearings System. Work to redesign the Hearings System was overseen by the Hearings System Working Group, Chaired by Sheriff David Mackie and consisting of Children’s Hearings Scotland, the Promise Scotland, SCRA and the Scottish Government, working collaboratively to achieve this redesign.

What did we achieve?

  • Co-produced over 20 proposals to redesign the Children’s Hearings System
  • Submitted proposals to the Hearings System Working Group, which fed into the ‘Hearings for Children’ report which was published in May 2023
  • Ensured that the voice of people with lived experience was included throughout the project

Participations, Engagement and Consultation

The Participation Engagement and Consultation Project developed 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 worked alongside our CHS Hearings Redesign Project team to embed the voices of these groups within our work with the Hearings Systems Working Group and CHS operational delivery.

What did we achieve?

  • Lived experienced people and the CHS community were given the opportunity to contribute to the development, redesign and improvement of hearings
  • Established a stakeholder reference group to critically evaluate what works well in the Hearings System and identify areas for improvement and change
  • Played a key role in influencing and informing the recommendations of the ‘Hearings for Children’ report

Tribunal Research

Pulling together learning from across the UK and internationally, the team collated and assessed research into existing tribunal models. This work drove innovative thinking into what a reimagined hearings system for Scotland could look like.

What did we achieve?

  • The final report informed, influenced and innovated change to the hearings system in Scotland and formed part of the evidence bank that supports the recommendations of the ‘Hearings for Children’ report

Upholding Siblings' Rights

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

What did we achieve?

Phase 1

  • Created and rolled out a new learning module
  • Updated the practice guidance
  • Created the Practice & Policy Bank
  • Created the Sibling tool kit

Phase 2

  • Panel Member consultation via the Practice & Policy Bank, on the Children’s (Scotland) Act 2020 in working practice
  • Evidencing the impact of CHS's implementation of Children’s (Scotland) Act 2020 (in particular Siblings' Rights)
  • Promotion of sibling contact, which was highlighted into National Siblings Day
  • Multi-agency workshops arranged across various AST/Local Authority areas to use case studies to demonstrate how PMs and professionals can make siblings’ rights heard in hearings

Thanks to Promise Programme participants

The CHS Promise Programme has played an important part in achieving the CHS vision that the hearings system is a place that upholds and promotes children's rights, creates a child and family friendly care and justice space and puts participation at its heart. We want to thank all those involved in these projects: our CHS colleagues, our collaborators and the young people who have given them time and insights.