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Entries in children's panel (1)


Consultation on Safeguarders

A Scottish Government Consultation on various aspects of Safeguarders has just started, with responses due by 6th December 2011.

Safeguarders are appointed by children's hearings or sheriffs when they think there is a requirement to safeguard the interests of the child in the proceedings. The safeguarder provides the hearing or court with an independent assessment of what is in the child's best interest.

Safeguarders are self employed and independent from all other agencies involved in the Children's Hearings system.  Families Need Fathers Scotland notes that the essential qualities of Safeguarders are:

  • An ability to communicate in a non threatening way with children and parents - sometimes under difficult circumstances.
  • An ability to communicate with members of agencies which support the children's hearing and Court systems in such a way as to gain their confidence without compromising the safeguarder's independence or credibility.
  • The courage and ability to raise and confront delicate issues and the ability to recognise their relevance.
  • Sufficient presence to engender some degree of confidence and trust in persons many of whom have no tradition of trusting establishment figures or figures of authority.
  • The ability to construct a comprehensive written report avoiding jargon and using terminology comprehensible to panel members and which separates fact from opinion.

The Gill Review raised a number of concerns regarding the appointment, training, management and payment of curators, reporting officers, safeguarders and court reporters. FNF Scotland has already made comments to the Scottish Government about court reporters, and we will take this opportunity to pass on our views on safeguarders. 

Anyone wishing to comment on their experience of safeguarders should contact Ian or John in the Edinburgh office - 0131 557 2440 or scotland@fnf.org.uk.