Children's advocacy in children's hearings: DPIA

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) in relation to the the provision of an advocacy service for children and young people going to children’s hearings.

3. Description of the project

3.1 Description of the work:

The Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 was introduced in June 2013.  We would now like to commence section 122 of the Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (the 2011 Act) and make regulations under this section for the provision of advocacy services for the Children’s Hearings system. 

The advocacy service will be delivered through a grant management project, overseen by the Scottish Government National Advocacy in Children’s Hearings Team, in order to provide Scotland-wide coverage.  The Team will provide support and oversight of the advocacy programme ensuring consistent service delivery via a range of different local organisations.  

The service will be provided, on demand, to children and young people who have been required to attend a children’s hearing and are five years old or above. 

The Scottish Government as the commissioner of the service and service providers awarded a grant will be joint data controllers of the information processed. The Scottish Government will not process any personal data in the provision of this service to service users but will seek appropriate assurance from providers on their data protection practices and keep these under review. 

3.2 Personal data to be processed.

Variable Service provider contacts (name and email/telephone) 

Data Source Service provider (completed grant applications).

Variable Child’s name, address, date of birth

Data Source Referral from Social Work Child referring themselves Relevant Person referring the child

Variable Some details of their personal lives such as reasons for referral to a hearing which is likely to contain Special Category information such as religion, health and criminal data.

Data Source As above Reports prepared by Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration (SCRA) that the child will have given permission to be viewed

Variable Details of relevant persons in their lives

Data Source From the relevant person themselves Through SCRA Reports From the child themselves

3.3 Describe how this data will be processed:

Scottish Government Grant funding will be made available to provider(s) able to support the provision of Children’s Advocacy Services within Children’s Hearings.  Applications will be invited for funding from provider(s) to make a national and/or regional application. To be successful, providers are required to demonstrate that they meet certain criteria regarding standards, recruitment and service evaluation.

Successful providers are required to submit quarterly monitoring reports for review and collation by the Scottish Government such as the number of children and young people provided with support (including demographic profile: age, gender, place of residence, ethnicity, and additional support needs); number of referrals made under exceptional or emergency circumstances; comments on any service user complaints or compliments received; anonymised case studies to illustrate procedural and policy delivery issues; staff qualifications, training and CPD progress; any results of satisfaction surveys; and feedback from children and young people using the advocacy service.

The provider(s) have autonomy as a joint data controller of the personal data and will follow their own information management practices. However, providers will be required to provide assurances that they adhere to data protection legislation as part of the grant application process and ongoing monitoring of that service by Scottish Government.  

The provision of the grants is to enable Scottish Government to meet the duty under S.122 of the Children’s Hearing Act and any personal data it processes will fall under Article 6(1)(e) of the GDPR  ‘Necessary in the performance of a task carried out in the public interest’. It is not envisioned that Scottish Government will process any special category data for this purpose. 

Brief summary of the provision of advocacy to service users 

At the time a decision is made by social workers, police or any other relevant person, that a child or young person is being referred to the Children’s Reporter, information will be given to the child/young person about the availability of advocacy for Children’s Hearings.  Details of the organisation will be passed to the child/young person to make contact.  The advocacy worker will explain what the service entails and establish whether the child/young person wishes to take up the opportunity. 

The service will be offered on a voluntary basis, therefore the child/young person will be free to choose whether to uptake the service or not and any agreement to engage by an individual will be clearly documented by the provider.  

The advocacy worker will meet the child/young person on multiple occasions depending on need and discuss the upcoming hearing and what to expect. They also likely to discuss the intimate details of the reasons for the referral and what actions the child/young person will wish to take to prepare and participate. This could involve sight of the papers the child/young person will have received if aged over 12 (or perhaps the papers their parents or relevant person received if under 12 with their permission) which will contain the reasons (or ‘Grounds’) for the referral, reports from various organisations such as Social Work; Education; Health; Police  and any other relevant paperwork.

Whilst the advocacy worker will not have copies of the reports they will take notes and record the plan of action they will have agreed to with the child/young person and any questions or concerns they wish to raise during their hearing. These notes will be initially hand-written then saved electronically  where they can be retrieved when necessary.

During the hearing the advocacy worker will take notes and will speak to the child/young person to find out whether they understand proceedings, if they have any questions they want to raise or have the advocacy worker raise on their behalf or if they need a break. These notes will be treated as above.

After the hearing the advocacy worker will speak with the child/young person and discuss what has just happened and the decision that has been made. They will discuss whether they have understood what the decision is and if they don’t agree with it what their potential courses of action could be. Again any notes or recordings will be treated as above.

This process will continue until the case is closed or the child/young person (or parent/relevant person) chooses to no longer engage with the provision, which they can do at any point). 

Upon closure of a case, a retention period will be applied to the information by the provider and securely destroyed when reached. 

Service Providers provided assurances of compliance to Scottish Government as to their processes and procedures as requested in the expressions of interest application

3.4 Explain the legal basis for the sharing with internal or external partners:

The Scottish Government will not share any personal data for this purpose other than the names and contact addresses for service providers and will do so under Article 6(1)(e). 

It is understood that the providers will rely on one of two bases to share personal data with partners: Article 6(1)(a) Consent from the child or young person or Article 6(1)(c) legal obligation (where there are child protection concerns).



Back to top