Draft Children's Services Bill 2007
Explanatory Briefing on Scottish Executive Consultation
The Draft Children's Services (Scotland) Bill is
part of the Scottish Executive's programme to reform children's
services across Scotland. In answer to previous consultations,
they published an implementation plan, "Getting it right
for every Child" in June 2006. The aim of the whole programme
is to join up services relating to children, drive up quality
and efficiency and strengthen accountability.
As well as legislative changes the plan proposed
Practice Changes and a campaign to Remove Barriers by
investigating what impedes joined-up working and changing the
culture both from the centre and locally.
THE DRAFT BILL
The Draft Bill is part of the legislative programme
and ties in with many others current Bills and sets of regulations
and guidance which all relate to children's services.
Part 1 of the Bill deals with children's services
in general and proposes measures to tighten up the bureaucracy,
paperwork and duplication that are currently involved in processing
children through the various agencies. Tools and resources are
currently being produced which will be advised to agencies through
websites and other routes of communication.
Specific proposals are:
A number of duties will be placed on agencies
to promote the well-being of children and to intervene where
this is appropriate. Guidance will be provided, which amongst
other things, will include a list of situations where agencies
may need to intervene.
There will be new duties to support agencies
working together and again, guidance will be issued on this.
Plans will be drawn up and kept under review
by all agencies involved in a child's welfare, which will
be the principal source of information for Reporters if the
child is subsequently
referred to them. A prototype child's plan will
be available by March 2007 and a plan must be in place for every
child going to a Children's Hearing by December 2007, as a first
step towards full implementation.
This part of the draft Bill deals with the Children's
Hearings system. The Main proposals are:
Provision to change the grounds for referral
to the Children's Hearings for which guidance will be issued.
This will enable Hearings to concentrate on those who are
involved in persistent or more serious offending as it is
believed that formal measures to tackle low-level risk or
offending do not always work. (6.62).
The Bill will place duties on agencies to
implement actions agreed at a Hearing.
There will be provision for interim supervision
Action plans presented to Hearings will have
to be much more focused than at present to ensure they are
realistic and lead to positive outcomes.
There will be provision to expedite procedures
for establishing the grounds for referral where the child
is too young or immature to understand the grounds, provided
parents accept them.
There will be a duty on the SCRA to ensure
that legal representatives are appointed, where appropriate.
There will be provision for withholding information
in Hearings if its release could put the child at risk.
Panel members will be able to sit on panels
outwith their own local authority area although it is expected
that most members will stay in their own areas.
Changes arising from the Vulnerable Witnesses
(Scotland) Act, 2004 (5.10)
There are several issues which relate to this, often
in cases involving sexual abuse and views are sought on these
Engaging with young people involved in offending
The Executive is seeking views on ways of securing
support and intervention for young people involved in serious
or persistent offending under the following headings:
How can they respond to the concerns in dealing
with the problem of persistent offending by young people?
What, if any, legislative requirements would
be required to deliver this?
Changes to the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration
and Procedural Changes to the Children's Hearing system (5.19-20)
This section seeks views on removing the Principal
Reporter from the Administration
(Board) of the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration.
Simplification of the different warrant provisions
available to Children's Hearings in the Children (Scotland) Act
Views are sought on the proposal to simplify the
structure of warrant provisions.
Children's Rights (5.25-26)
Views are sought on whether the Bill will improve
children's rights in Scotland.
Promotion of Equality (5.27-35)
The Executive wishes to know whether anything in
the draft Bill will have a differential impact on equality communities.
Support Arrangements for panel members (5.36-38)
A further consultation exercise will be undertaken
early in 2007 on this issue.
Information sharing amongst agencies (5.39-44)
These relate to the proposals for joint assessment
and plan and views are requested on these.
Definition of a Child in Need (5.45-51)
The Executive requires views on whether the definition
of a child "in need" as set out in The Children (Scotland)
Act 1995 is still relevant or whether a new definition would be
Comments for inclusion in the response should be
sent to Diane Anderson at UNISON, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow
G2 6RX or: at email@example.com
by Friday, 10 March 2007, so that the responses
can be collated for the submission in good time.
Getting it right for every child: Draft Children's
Services (Scotland) Bill
Consultation Pack on the Review of the Children's
s Hearings System
Getting it Right
For Every Child: Implementation Plan
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