Child Protection Guidance 2021

Part 2A: Roles and responsibilities for child protection 61 National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021 Version 1.0 September 2021 2.146 The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is the regulatory body for charities in Scotland and publishes guidance for trustees of charities that includes child protection and extends to safeguarding vulnerable beneficiaries, meaning children under 18 and vulnerable (protected) adults over 16 years. 2.147 Local authorities may commission Third Sector agencies to provide services on their behalf. Commissioned and non-commissioned agencies and organisations working with children and young people are expected to have safe recruitment practices, and child and adult protection procedures, in line with the national Guidance. They should provide training relevant to information sharing and potential child or vulnerable adult protection for staff, volunteers and board or committee members. 2.148 Safety is promoted by a clear reporting framework which includes learning from past mistakes, and by an open communication culture in which the views and concerns of those receiving and providing services are heard. Children’s hearings system 2.149 The children’s hearings system is a system of statutory intervention in the life of a child and their family. The statutory intervention takes the form of an order such as Compulsory Supervision Order (CSO), and a CSO is issued by a children’s hearing or by a sheriff. The children’s hearings system deals with referrals in the same way, regardless of the ground on which the child has been referred e.g. whether they have been referred for care and protection concerns or as a result of their own behaviour, which can include offending. 2.150 Children’s reporters are employed by The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA), the public body set up to administer the statutory functions of the Principal Reporter in the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (‘the 2011 Act’). Any person or agency can refer a child to the Principal Reporter but local authorities and the police must refer a child when they consider that a child is in need of protection, guidance, treatment or control and that a CSO might be necessary. The Principal Reporter’s role is to decide (a) whether one of the grounds of referral in section 67 of the Act apply in relation to the child and (b) if so, whether it is necessary for a CSO to be made in respect of the child. If the Principal Reporter decides that a CSO is necessary, then they must arrange for a children’s hearing to take place in relation to that child. 2.151 On receipt of the referral, the Principal Reporter will conduct an investigation which will likely include requesting reports from professionals who may or may not already be involved with a child. Once this investigation has concluded, the Principal Reporter will consider whether there is evidence to establish one of the grounds for referral to the children’s hearing, as specified in section 67(2) of the 2011 Act. The Principal Reporter then makes a decision about whether it is necessary for a CSO to be made in respect of the child. If so, they must arrange a children’s hearing in respect of the child. Where the Principal Reporter decides that none of the grounds in section 67 apply or that it is not necessary for a CSO to be made in respect of the child, they may still refer a child to a local authority, or other bodies specified by the Scottish Ministers, with a view to advice, guidance and assistance being given to the child and their family. The Principal Reporter’s investigation can take place at the same time as any on-going criminal investigation or criminal court case, but the focus for the Principal Reporter and the children’s hearing is centred on the needs and wellbeing of the referred child or young person.