Child contact services - regulation: consultation

The Children (Scotland) Act 2020 gives the Scottish Ministers the power to regulate child contact centres. This consultation seeks views on various aspects of what regulation of child contact centres would look like.

Glossary of Terms used in this consultation

Note: On-line access to legislation is available at[1]

"1995 Act" – the Children (Scotland) Act 1995

"2020 Act" – the Children (Scotland) Act 2020

"Care Inspectorate" – set up in 2010 as Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland[2] the Care Inspectorate is a scrutiny body which supports improvement. It looks at the quality of care in Scotland to ensure it meets high standards and where improvement is needed, it supports services to make positive changes.

"Child" – defined in sections 1(2) and 2(7) of the 1995 Act as a person under the age of 16 years for the purposes of parental responsibilities and rights apart from in relation to parents providing guidance where "child" means a person under the age of 18 years.

"Child contact centre" – child contact centres are safe venues for parents, and other people in the child's life, to establish or maintain conflict-free relationships with their children. A child contact centre is any premises in Scotland at which face to face child contact services are provided. For the purpose of this consultation a child contact centre is a place that deals primarily with separated parents and families who are referred in private law cases.

"Child contact services"- child contact services are provided by child contact centre providers. These services include supervised contact, supported contact and handover services. Providers may as necessary also provide services that are not face to face, for example, online contact sessions or "letterbox" services.

"contact order" - an order made under section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 for contact between one person and a child or children.

"Equality and Human Rights Commission[3]" - national equality body responsible for safeguarding and enforcing the laws that protect people's rights to fairness, dignity and respect.

"Handovers" – facility where the contact service facilitates a child going from one parent to another for a specified period of time and, after that time, returning to the first parent (a form of supported contact).

"The Scottish Charity Regulator" – (known as OSCR) is the independent regulator and registrar for Scotland's charities, including community groups, religious charities, schools, universities, grant-giving charities, and major care providers.

"Relationships Scotland" – RS is Scotland's largest provider of relationship counselling, family mediation and child contact centre services.

"Scottish Social Services Council" – the SSSC is the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland.

"Secondary legislation" – forms of law that are not primary legislation. This includes statutory instruments.

"Sheriff" – a judge in the Sheriff Court. Sheriffs deal with the majority of civil and criminal court cases in Scotland. Sheriffs hear almost all family cases including divorce, parental responsibilities and rights, adoptions and Children's Hearing's cases.

"Supervised contact" – contact taking place in the constant presence of an independent person who observes and ensures the safety of those involved.

"Supported contact" – contact where there is no significant risk to the child and therefore child contact centres only record that the contact took place and not details of how it went.



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