Children's advocacy in children's hearings - national scheme: good practice and issues arising

Progress report on the implementation of the children's hearings advocacy provision in the first year March 2020 to March 2021.

Part 6: Funding and expenditure 2019-20 and 2020-21

118. To support the start-up of the national scheme, the Scottish Government awarded 10 organisations who made successful applications though the Expressions of Interest exercise, Grant funding. This was in anticipation of section 122 of the Children (Scotland) Act 2011 and the associated Regulations scheduled to go to the Scottish Parliament for scrutiny and approval in spring. The coronavirus pandemic delayed the parliamentary process of scrutiny until the autumn of 2020, and the commencement of the national service underpinned in statute became fully operational from 21 November 2020.

119. The first round of Grant Offers started in March 2020. The 9 organisations, identified as primary providers were awarded Grant funding for the expenditure to support recruitment of staff and put systems and processes in place to be able to deliver the new national scheme. A total allocation of £203,000 was made thought Grant Offers and this was based on organisations anticipated costs provided in applications. Of this total allocation, £112,489.83 was claimed as actual spend.

120. For the financial year April 2020 to March 2021, the Scottish Government renewed the Grant Offer and made awards to the 10 successful organisations to deliver both the primary and alternate children's hearings advocacy provision. The funding allocation for the year was £1.5 million, this included funds to support the mandatory training of the advocacy workers provided by Clan Childlaw and spot purchase arrangements. In this full year, the total claimed as actual spend was £909,915.18. This funding by large supported the primary provision, with £40,293.50 claimed for the delivery of alternate provision. The spot purchase arrangement by invoice was not used.

121. In this same year, further Grant Offer awards were made to the 9 primary provider organisations to support greater safety and digital capacity for advocacy and the children and young people organisations were supporting to manage the impact of coronavirus on the Children's Hearing System. This was to support recovery and the changing needs for children and young people to be able to participate in their children's hearings and beyond e.g. personal digital devices that would both allow them to engage with advocacy but also assist with home schooling as needed. This expedited Grant funding was allocated under the Winter Plan for Social Protection – Children's Hearings Recovery Project. A maximum total of up to £63,000 was divided between the 9 organisations, of this £53,378.90 was claimed as actual spend.

122. Up to end March 2021, the total investment from the Scottish Government directly to the children's hearings advocacy scheme totalled £1,099,784.73.



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