Children's hearings in Falkirk move to temporary new location

Children’s hearings in Falkirk have moved to a temporary new home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Jonathon Reilly
Monday, 10th August 2020, 12:30 pm
Falkirk Council Municipal Buildings will temporarily host children's hearings. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Falkirk Council Municipal Buildings will temporarily host children's hearings. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Hearings for some of the area’s most vulnerable children and young people will now take place in the Municipal Buildings.

Since just before lockdown, virtual children’s hearings have been taking place for children and young people across the country.

However, when lockdown restrictions started to ease, plans were made between the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA,) Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS) and Falkirk Council to reintroduce face-to-face hearings.

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However, SCRA’s recently refurbished hearings suite at Campfield House is not large enough to enable appropriate social distancing measures to be adopted.

Therefore, a temporary Children’s Hearings Centre has been created within the Falkirk Municipal Buildings in the City Chambers wing.

At this stage, children’s hearings are expected to be held in the Municipal Buildings until the end of December.

Neil McKinlay, SCRA’s locality reporter manager, said: “It was critical that we reintroduced face-to-face children’s hearings as quickly but as safely as possible.

“There was just no possibility of using our current facility and we had to search for suitable alternatives.

“We were delighted the local authority was able to help and they have kindly provided the space free of charge.

“We are extremely grateful for all their help, as well as the support from all our key partners in the Children’s Hearings System.”

Don Lawrie, area support convener for the Children's Panel, said: "Falkirk Children's Panel are delighted to be able to hold their hearings in Falkirk Council Chambers.

“We are extremely grateful for the magnificent support given to us by the council. Working closely with our SCRA partners, we are now in a position where we can return to holding face-to-face hearings in our locality.

“This has been a fine example of collaboration and co-operation between the local corporate parents.”

Sara Lacey, chief social work officer, said: “The work of the Children’s Hearings System has been disrupted during the Covid-19 outbreak, however, by providing these facilities we can continue to make sure that children and young people in need of care and protection get the right support they need in life.”

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