Wide variation in Scottish referrals

Variations in Scotland’s children’s hearing system, which have
resulted in major fluctuations in referral rates and supervision
requirements, have come under fire from Scottish education minister
Cathy Jamieson.

In some areas, Scottish children’s reporters referred on only 10
per cent of original referrals to hearings. In other parts of the
country this figure rose to 47 per cent. Meanwhile, between 11 and
60 per cent of cases referred for offending behaviour resulted in
supervision requirements.

Jamieson challenged senior officials to undertake joint work “to
explore these variances” and to find out what worked.

“Is the action taken for the 90 per cent not on supervision
requirements in one area as effective in reducing risk as
supervision requirements in the other area?” she asked.

Jamieson was speaking at a national seminar in Dundee held by the
Scottish Children’s Reporters Administration. Her comments were
based on data published by Audit Scotland at the end of last year
and come in the light of a 10 per cent increase in 2001-2 in the
number of referrals to the hearings system (news, page 12, 13

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