8 Post Hearing
Although there is no statutory definition of when a children's hearing is concluded, when panel members have delivered their verbal decision and reasons for the decision and the rights of appeal have been given to the child and relevant person/s, the hearing is deemed to be at a close.
The chairing member should offer the child and relevant person/s the opportunity to remain in the room whilst the reporter completes the paperwork; this is to ensure transparency of proceedings. If the child and relevant person/s remain in the room, it is very important to ensure that no further discussion of the case takes place.
If the reporter leaves the room at the conclusion of the hearing with the child and relevant persons, the chairing member need not offer the family an opportunity to remain.
A written record of the reasons for the hearing's decision should now be made. The chairing member and panel members working as a team should record the written reasons for their decision immediately after the hearing has taken place and before the next hearing starts. It is not considered best practice to leave the writing of reasons until the end of all hearings in a session as important information may be omitted inadvertently.
On occasion something may have occurred during a hearing which one or more of the panel members may wish to have raised elsewhere. Each AST will be aware of the procedures for dealing with such situations based on a nationally consistent process handed down to the ASTs by the National Convener and Children's Hearings Scotland ( CHS).
Panel members should take the opportunity wherever possible to debrief after each hearing. This might be particularly important if the hearing was very distressing or when a panel member felt they were unable to make a contribution. Such sharing of information and support should enable panel members to learn from their experiences and become empowered at future hearings.
All paperwork in relation to the hearing should now be returned to the reporter or a member of SCRA staff at this stage.