Annex D: Operation and management of registers
1. The Financial Memorandum which accompanied the 2020 Act when it was introduced into the Scottish Parliament sets out the estimated resources required for both the set up and the ongoing maintenance of the registers.
2. The Financial Memorandum includes costs for a small Scottish Government team to oversee the registers even if the operation and management of the register is delegated to another body.
3. This paper sets out what the Scottish Government expects would be done by an organisation if the operation and management of the registers were to be contracted out and what would be retained by the Scottish Government.
Requirements that a person must satisfy in order to be included in the registers
4. The 2020 Act gives the Scottish Ministers the power to set by regulations the requirements that an individual must satisfy in order to be included in the registers. The Scottish Government will keep the requirements under review and any further changes will be laid down by regulations made by Ministers
Inclusion on register
5. . The application process is likely to consist of a written application; a sift and possibly an interview.
6. Ministers would include the successful individuals on the registers. Successful individuals would be sent terms and conditions which would need to be signed and returned for retention.
Reappointment to register
7. The Act gives the Scottish Ministers the power by regulations to set the appointment period as we would not envisage that inclusion on the registers would be without time limit. We are proposing this would be three years. We would expect the body appointed to engage with individuals in advance of the expiry of that period to establish whether or not they wish to remain on the register they are on. For individuals who wish to be reappointed the body would need to confirm that the individual continues to meet the requirements to be on the register.
Removal from the register
8. The Scottish Ministers can set out the process in regulations for including an individual and also removing an individual from the registers.
9. We would expect the body appointed to operate and manage the registers would deal with any initial complaints about an individual appointed to the register. If these were deemed serious enough to warrant removal from the register we would expect the body would then approach the Scottish Government. The process for formally removing someone from the register would be carried out by the Scottish Government. In some cases, a person may be suspended from the register while further inquiries are carried out.
Establishing the process for including a person on the registers
10. The Scottish Ministers would by regulations set out the process for including a person on the registers.
11. Any changes to the process may require an amendment to the regulations. The Scottish Government would consult with the body appointed to manage and operate the register on potential changes to the process.
Maintaining the register
12. Once an individual has been included on the registers, the body would maintain current details for the individual including training they have undertaken. This would entail updating contact information as appropriate, training they have attended and also confirming on a regular basis (possibly yearly) the locations that the individual is willing to operate in and also their contact details.
13. The body would also be responsible for handling any requests from persons on the registers to be removed (eg because they are retiring or doing other work).
Operation of the registers
14. The body would be responsible for dealing with requests from the courts for a child welfare reporter, curator ad litem or a solicitor to represent someone who has been prohibited from representing themselves.
15. The body would also deal with some administrative concerns raised by individuals included on the register. Such concerns may, for example cover the fee and expenses reporters can claim.
16. Any question an individual may have on, for example, who they are being asked to interview for a report would, as now, be for the court.
17. We would also expect the body to report suggested improvements to how the register should operate back to the Scottish Government to inform any amendments that may be necessary to the regulations.
18. The body would be responsible for handling any initial complaints about an individual appointed to one of the registers. This would require them to establish a complaints mechanism. The complaints mechanism would need to be child friendly and accessible.
19. On receiving a complaint the body would decide whether it has any merit. If there is evidence of failings then decision would be taken on the outcome which could be: more training, a verbal or written warning or a recommendation that the person be removed from the register. There would need to be a reporting line to ensure that any decision to issue a verbal or written warning or to recommend someone be removed from the register would be made by a senior member of staff (Grade 7 or above or equivalent).
20. If the body decides to issue a verbal or written warning this may affect the decision on whether or not to recommend someone for reappointment.
21. If the body considers that someone should be removed from the register then they would need to inform the Scottish Ministers who would consider the removal of that individual.
Remuneration of individuals included on the registers
22. The body would be responsible for the payment of fees for individuals included on the registers in accordance with the fee structure set by the Scottish Ministers. They would also be responsible for the payment of expenses claims again in accordance with the structure set by the Scottish Ministers. We would expect that any expenses claimed would be receipted and a full audit trail would be available.
23. Payment of fees and expenses would require the body to have a robust and secure system for holding the personal data of the individuals on the registers.
24. We would expect the body to send to the Scottish Government on a monthly basis an anonymised report of the fees and expenses claimed. This amount would then be reimbursed to the body. We would expect the body to monitor any unusual fee or expenses claims to ensure value for money. Any significant discrepancies which cannot be explained would need to be highlighted to the Scottish Government.
25. We would expect the body managing and operating the registers to organise training for those on the registers. This training could, as appropriate, be carried out by the body itself or by persons the body asks to carry out training.
26. We would expect the body to undertake appraisals of the individuals appointed to the registers of child welfare reporters and of curators ad litem. This would be carried out once a year. The appraiser would need to write a note of this meeting and their findings. This appraisal would form part of the assessment about whether or not to reappoint an individual to the register. An appraisal may be required more frequently than once a year if an individual is newly included on the register or if there are concerns about the quality or standard of the work they are producing.
Recommendation for reappointment/removal from the register
27. We would expect the body to provide recommendations as to whether or not to reappoint an individual to the registers.
28. The body would need to advise the Scottish Government if they consider an individual should be removed from the registers and the reasons for their recommendation.
Family Law Unit
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback