News In Focus
Children's Hearings Bill passes first stage
MSPs have given their backing in principle to the Children's Hearings (Scotland) Bill.
The bill overhauls the 40-year-old children's hearings system, creating a national Scottish Children's Hearings Tribunal to oversee the local panels and carry out training and recruitment. It passed its stage 1 vote in Holyrood yesterday, despite some continuing concerns over a lack of detail on matters such as the new post of National Convener.
The National Convener will be responsible for setting standards for the recruitment, support and training of local panel members, and for monitoring their implementation.
Children's Minister Adam Ingram promised to look at all concerns raised during stage 1 and discuss them further as the bill progresses through Parliament.
Speaking after the debate, the Minister said the reforms are not only necessary, but vital to improve, strengthen and protect the unique children's hearings system.
"However, I recognise a number of issues and concerns were raised in evidence when the Parliament's Education Committee looked at the bill. I am committed to making this bill the best it can be and will look at the issues raised carefully."
Subject to the parliamentary process, the bill's reforms are expected to be in force in 2012.