The Scottish Children's Reporter Administration (SCRA) is a Scottish Government executive non-departmental public body with responsibility for protecting children at risk. SCRA was formed under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1994 and became fully operational on 1 April 1996, taking over responsibility for the existing system of Children's Reporters.
SCRA's aim is to "provide a safety net for vulnerable children and deliver tailored solutions which meet the needs of the individuals involved, while helping to build stronger families and safer communities".
Although SCRA operates within a legislative remit, and at arms length from government, it receives oversight and direction from its Board. As a Non-Departmental Public Body, SCRA’s Board, although acting independently, is accountable to Scottish Ministers. Management oversight is achieved by a series of Committees. Complaints are usually dealt with by SCRA, but the public can also complain to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO).
Referrals are made to SCRA about children who may be in need of legal intervention to help them address their needs and/or behaviour. The referral may be made on offence grounds and/or care and protection grounds. Most referrals are received from the police, social work departments or schools. However, parents, family members, carers or any concerned member of the public can also contact the Children's Reporter.
Each case is assigned to a Children's Reporter employed by SCRA. The Reporter investigates the case and decides whether or not compulsory measures of supervision may be required. If, in the Reporter's opinion, such measures are required, a Hearing will be arranged. The Reporter may take other steps short of arranging a Hearing, for example arrange for some form of restorative justice.
53,883 children were referred in 2005/6 and 87% of referrals came from the police. This represents a doubling in the number of referrals since the SCRA took responsibility for Children's Reporters.
In 2005, 16,470 children (33%) were referred to the Reporter for an offence and 33,379 children (67%) were referred on non-offence grounds (i.e. concern for their safety or welfare)
On average, of every five children referred to the Reporter, one is referred to a hearing.
Role in the Children's Hearings System
Main article: Children's Hearing
SCRA's role within the Children's Hearings System is to provide suitable accommodation for Hearings, provide information to the hearing panel and to enable the children and families to participate in Hearings.
- ^ About SCRA
- ^ SCRA's Board
- ^ Committees
- ^ SPSO Organisations we take complaints about
- ^ SCRA Frequently Asked Questions
- ^ Aberlour responds to rise in numbers of children referred to the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration