Children (Scotland) Bill: business regulatory impact assessment

Cost and benefits to businesses and the third sector of the Children (Scotland) Bill.

9. Implementation and delivery plan

9.1 The Children (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 2 September 2019. Subject to the Bill successfully completing the parliamentary process, implementation is likely to be in a phased process due to the need for secondary legislation in a number of areas. It is envisaged that some provisions could be commenced soon after Royal Assent.

In particular provisions:

  • encouraging the views of younger children to be taken into consideration in cases other than orders made under section 11 of the 1995 Act;
  • introducing new special measures for vulnerable parties in cases under section 11 of the 1995 Act;
  • promoting contact between looked after children and siblings;
  • permitting appeals against relevant person decisions and appeals to Sheriff Appeal Court;
  • Clarifying order making powers under section 11 of the 1995 Act;
  • Establishing factors to be considered before making an order under section 11 of the 1995 Act;
  • Extending the enforcement of Part 1 orders registered in the Court of Session to the sheriff court; and
  • Requiring a court to have regard to any delay in proceedings as being likely to prejudice the child’s welfare.

9.3 A number of the provisions will require significant lead in time as secondary legislation will be required. Establishing registers of Child Welfare Reporters and curators and regulation of contact centres is unlikely to be operational until 2023 based on the illustrative timetable below:

Timing Activity

Children (Scotland) Bill gains Royal Assent

Summer 2020

Preparation of secondary legislation

September – December 2020

Consultation on secondary legislation

January – March 2021

Analysis of consultation responses and revising secondary legislation

April – September 2021

Secondary legislation laid in Parliament

October – December 2021

Tendering of contract

April 2021 – March 2022

Contract awarded

from April 2022

Set up time for new contractor

April 2022 – April 2023

New regime operational

April 2023

9.4 The provisions in the Bill in relation to ensuring the views of younger children are heard in cases under section 11 of the 1995 Act, requiring the court to provide explanations of decisions to a child, and also placing a duty on the court to investigate failure to comply with an order, will not be commenced until the register of Child Welfare Reporters is in place.

9.5 The provisions in the Bill banning a person from conducting the remainder of a case themselves will only be commenced once the register of lawyers is established. This is likely to follow a similar timetable to the illustrative timetable above.

Post-implementation review

9.6 The Scottish Government will review the legislation to ensure that it is still fit for purpose within 10 years of enactment.



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