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Draft Children's Services Bill 2007 Briefing No 152
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Draft Children's Services Bill 2007 No 152

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 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.

  • There will be provision for appointing a designated person to co-ordinate multi-agency action. This will enable a child and/or his or her family to know who to speak to about their action plan. The lead professional could also act as an advocate for the child where necessary although the precise role of the designated person is still under discussion.


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 requirements.
  • 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 issues.

Engaging with young people involved in offending (5.17)

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 ensure continued support to young people involved in offending to make the transition into positive adulthood?
  • What systems are needed to ensure that this happens?

  • 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 1995. (5.21-23)

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 more appropriate


Comments for inclusion in the response should be sent to Diane Anderson at UNISON, 14 West Campbell Street, Glasgow G2 6RX or: at diane.anderson@unison.co.uk 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

Scottish Executive | Scottish Parliament | Briefings Home



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Further Information

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


Diane Anderson

Dave Watson
@ the P&I Team
14 West Campbell St Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0845 355 0845
Fax 0141-307 2572