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Children's Hearings Written Answer, 16/01/14 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Ken Macintosh's (Lab) question asking the Scottish Government what progress it has made in implementing section 122 (2) of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011; whether it plans to produce regulations for the provision of children's advocacy services as set out in section 122 (4) of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011; and what plans it has to enter into arrangements for the provision of children's advocacy services as set out in section 122 (5) of the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011.

The Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, replied that section 122 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (2011 Act) relates to access to advocacy services for children attending children’s hearings. To date, this section has not been commenced.

Scottish Government officials have undertaken detailed discussions with relevant partners via the Voice of the Child Group to scope out a range of models and consider possible future options for advocacy services for children in the modernised children’s hearings system.

The structural and procedural changes flowing from the 2011 Act took effect in June 2013, and will be subject to benefits review in 2014. The Government will commence section 122 of the 2011 Act and introduce the associated regulations when it is satisfied that new services can be suitably designed and sustainably resourced for the young people within the hearings system that want and need this provision.

Other related activity is being progressed to support vulnerable children and the ‘voice of the child’ measures within the 2011 Act, including guidance for the provision of advocacy services for children. In December the Scottish Government supported the recommendations in the LACSIG Mentoring Hub Report which calls for the development of a national mentoring scheme for looked after children. In the first half of 2014 initial Scottish Government funding will support work on the identification of mentors and the current availability of services. This activity will inform understanding of the demand for, and benefits of, advocacy provision.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 16 January 2014 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answer Report 16 January 2014