Part 1: Introduction and how to respond to this consultation
1.1. The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 (the 2020 Act) gained Royal Assent on 1 October 2020. The 2020 Act builds on the existing Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (the 1995 Act). During the passage of the 2020 Act through the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government committed to a full and public consultation on the establishment of the registers of child welfare reporters, curators ad litem appointed in cases under section 11 of the 1995 Act and solicitors who can be appointed when an individual has been prohibited from personally conducting a case themselves. The last register covers both cases under section 11 of the 1995 Act and Children's Hearings court proceedings.
Why we are consulting
1.2. Consultation is an essential part of the policy making process. We will consider the views expressed in response to this consultation along with other available evidence to help inform the Scottish Government's decisions.
1.3. As indicated in the glossary, references in this consultation to a body appointed to operate and manage the various registers includes the Scottish Government, if the Scottish Government decides to do the work in-house, or any external contractor(s) appointed by the Scottish Government.
1.4. Once the 2020 Act is in force, the Scottish Government intends that the fees, outlays and expenses of child welfare reporters, curators ad litem appointed in section 11 cases and of solicitors appointed when an individual has been prohibited from conducting their case themselves will be met by the Scottish Government, either through an in-house unit or through any external contractor appointed by the Scottish Government.
1.5. Section 101A(3A) of the 1995 Act as inserted by section 9 of the 2020 Act require the Scottish Ministers before making, revising or revoking regulations in relation to the register of child welfare reporters to consult people with lived experience of domestic abuse and court ordered contact. This consultation forms part of this requirement.
Responding to this consultation
1.6. We are inviting responses to this consultation by 12 July 2021.
Replying on-line using Citizen Space
1.7. Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation hub, Citizen Space (http://consult.gov.scot). Access and respond to this consultation online at https://consult.gov.scot/justice/registers-of-child-welfare-reporters/. You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 12 July 2021.
Replying by post
1.8. While normally the Scottish Government would be happy to accept postal responses, given the COVID19 pandemic, it would be helpful if you responded online via Citizen Space wherever possible.
1.9. However, if you are unable to respond online using Citizen Space, the Scottish Government will by exception accept postal responses. You must complete and return the Respondent Information Form (please see supporting documents) with your response (see "Handling your Response" below). You can answer the Consultation Questions using Annex B. Please send your response and the completed Respondent Information Form to:Family Law Unit
St. Andrew's House
Not accepting responses by email
1.10. We will not accept responses submitted by email.
Handling your response
1.11. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are happy for your response to be published.
1.12. If you respond using the consultation hub, you will be directed to the About You page before submitting your response. Please indicate how you wish your response to be handled and, in particular, whether you are content for your response to published. If you ask for your response not to be published, we will regard it as confidential, and we will treat it accordingly.
1.13. All respondents should be aware that the Scottish Government is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and would therefore have to consider any request made to it under the Act for information relating to responses made to this consultation exercise.
1.14. If you are unable to respond via Citizen Space, please complete and return the Respondent Information Form included in this document. (Please see supporting documents).
Next steps in the process
1.16. Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at http://consult.gov.scot. If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.
1.17. Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.
1.18. After the consultation, the Scottish Government intends to lay regulations in the Scottish Parliament. Annex C to this consultation sets out an indicative timeframe for implementation of these registers.
Comments and complaints
1.19. If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scottish Government consultation process
1.20. Consultation is an essential part of the policy making process. It gives us the opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.
1.21. You can find all our consultations online: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk. Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views.
1.22. Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. Depending on the nature of the consultation exercise the responses received may:
- indicate the need for policy development or review
- inform the development of a particular policy
- help decisions to be made between alternative policy proposals
- be used to finalise legislation before it is implemented
1.23. While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.
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