We had a fantastic day at Dynamic Earth on Saturday, meeting with some of the adults who will influence change in the Hearings System.

Sheriff David Mackie, Chair of the Hearings System Working Group, set up to keep the Promise, was due to join us in the afternoon but asked if he would be welcome to share the whole day with the OHOV board members. Throughout the day, he listened intently, gently asked for clarification and shared with us all some of his background and motivation to ensure the Hearings System changes to centre around the needs of the children and families involved. His warmth and genuine commitment to building a relationship between himself, the Hearings System Working Group, and young people with hearings experience from Our Hearings, Our Voice, was both explicit and clear for all to see.

OHOV board members shared afterwards their sense of being listened to and their willingness to build those relationships so that they can be an important part of the re-design of the Hearings System. David Mackie, followed up his first contact with the young people by sharing that he enjoyed and benefited from spending time with the young people, felt better informed thanks to them and that the 40 Calls to Action now had added meaning.  He thanked the young people and added “I look forward to a lot more contact as we progress with our work”.

We didn’t just have one important guest – like buses, sometimes you wait and then several come along at the same time! We were privileged to be joined by Clare Haughey, Minister for Children and Young People, who also spent time listening and understanding the young people’s perspective on Children’s Hearings, their 40 Calls to Action and wider aspects such as young people’s mental health services. The young people were grateful for the Minister’s time and asked her to hold them in mind in future decision making.

In addition to all of this, Lynne Harrison and Carol Wassell from Children’s Hearings Scotland, spent time sharing with the board members how the 40 Calls have been integral to their Rights and Inclusion Strategy, Business Plan and wider improvement work. This input builds on their hands (and hearts) on approach to supporting OHOV all year round – we are grateful for this.

Watch out for imminent news about the independent evaluation of Our Hearings, Our Voice and our plans to recruit more young board members and another supportive adult to build the capacity of the OHOV board.  

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