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CHS expands team of report writers for hearings

Children’s Hearings Scotland has expanded its team of Independent Report Writers across the country to support Scotland’s unique Children’s Hearings System.

At children’s hearings, if Panel Members find they lack sufficient information to make a decision about a young person’s future, they can request additional information or a report from various sources: the local authority or health service involved with that young person, a Safeguarder, or from an Independent Report Writer.

Adding to bank of experts

CHS took over responsibility for providing Independent Report Writers from the Centre for Excellence in Children's Care and Protection (CELCIS) in 2020. This summer we added 17 professionals to our bank to meet increasing demand for reports arising from children’s hearings. The bank now totals 38 Independent Report Writers.

Independent Report Writers are drawn from several professions, including social work, psychology, psychiatry and mental health services, and are considered experts in their field. Independent Report Writers are based across the whole of Scotland, able to cover the full geographical span of children’s hearings, which take place close to where a child or young person is based.

Growing demand

There are more than 22,000 children’s hearings across Scotland every year, and only a small number of requests for reports, but the rate of requests has been increasing consistently in recent years. There were 12 requests in 2020-21, 24 in 2021-22, and 31 in 2022-23.

“We received an overwhelming number of applications to join the bank, and we’ve managed to select 17 professionals with diverse expertise and backgrounds. We are really pleased – this will help us prevent the drift and delay which can happen with complex situations and deliver the right outcomes for children and young people within the hearings system.”

– Edward McKim, Practice and Policy Advisor