OHOV have had a busy start to 2024, getting involved in a range of interesting and important improvement projects. Here is a summary of what we’ve been up to and what we’re looking forward to in the coming weeks…

CHS and SCRA have been working on language guides, supported by Language Leaders’ co-produced principles, to advise professionals on child-friendly language in the Hearings System. Some of the young people at OHOV scrutinised initial drafts of the guides and gave valuable feedback and quotes. 

Board Members Lisa and Andrew presented at the Keeping The Promise digital conference on the barriers and facilitators to effective co-design. They talked about the importance of involving young people in work that affects their lives, giving the example of our work with David Mackie on the Hearings for Children report. Feedback from the conference was resoundingly positive for Lisa and Andrew. 

At the beginning of February, Board Members Dylan and Lisa attended the Promise Stories of Change conference, where they particularly enjoyed an input by Collette Gallagher, Beth-Anne Logan, and Katrina Gallacher about lived experience of care and working for change. 

Also in February, Board Members Achilles and Ciara delivered their thought-provoking ‘language labels’ activity at the Participation Network event in Glasgow. They discussed the power that labels have and encouraged professionals to put themselves in the shoes of a child, by wearing a headband with a visible label such as ‘lazy’ or ‘violent’. They went around the workshop and other adults had to treat them in accordance with the label upon their headband. Ciara and Achilles revealed that these labels were words that children and young people had been called in Hearings and in paper work, and a conversation followed about the impact of such labels. 

OHOV have been working with Angela Phillips from CHS and animation company ‘Braw Talent’ to design and create a short animated video that will be used to guide professionals on child-friendly language in the Children’s Hearings System. We discussed key themes, designed a main character, and provided quotes for a script. We later evaluated the script and made a few suggestions on how to improve it. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit a recording studio in Glasgow and record voiceovers for the animation. We can’t wait to see the finished product. 

Board Member Ciara attended the CHS staff conference in Edinburgh where she talked about the importance of working with groups like OHOV. She shared some information about what OHOV do, and talked about projects we’ve collaborated with CHS on in the past. We are looking forward to working with CHS on more improvement work in the future. 

Board Members Liam and Lisa continue to work on a good practice guide for solicitors who are working with children in Hearings. Around 20 solicitors recently participated in an online event to reflect on what qualities in solicitors are important to children and contribute to the guide. This will be followed soon with an in person event in Glasgow. 

Board Member Poppy met with an architect at the Glasgow Hearings Centre on Bell Street to help design a more child-friendly space and experience for Hearing centres in Scotland. She considered the view point of different children attending Hearings, including those with neurodiverse needs, using learning form her university course to enhance this. 

A group of board members from OHOV met with Collette Gallagher from SCRA  to discuss what support could be put in place to support children with neurodiverse needs, such as autism and dyslexia, who may attend Hearings. We looked at a prototype for a child-friendly form for children and talked about what resources might help neurodiverse children participate more fully and comfortably in their Hearing. 

We met with Angela from CHS to talk about the different needs that 16 and 17 year olds might have, going into a Children’s Hearing. We reflected on what we would like panel members to consider, and what age-specific support a young person of this age might need in their lives. This will be incorporated in training to support panel members as legislation changes to enable more 16 and 17 year olds to be supported in the Children’s Hearings System.

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