The Children’s Convenor (The Convenor) is a legally qualified independent holder of public office who is appointed by the Convenor and Tribunal Board. All children who may need compulsory measures must be referred to the Convenor. Anyone, including members of the public, may refer a child to the Convenor, although the majority of referrals are from the police and the Committee for Health and Social Care. When the Convenor gets a referral, she must make an initial investigation before deciding what action, if any, is necessary in the child’s interests. The Convenor will normally request reports and information from any agencies that are involved with the child and family. The Convenor will then decide whether one or more of the grounds for referral are satisfied and compulsory intervention may be needed.
The Children’s Convenor will:
refer the child to local agencies so that advice, guidance and assistance can be given on an informal and voluntary basis; or
arrange for referral to the CYCT because she considers that compulsory measures may be necessary; or
decide that no further action is required.
It is expected that most examples of criminal offending will be referred by the police to the Convenor, who will deal with the matter as outlined before. However, with more serious or persistent offending and also road traffic offences for which the young person might be disqualified from driving, the matter will also be reported by the police to HM Procureur who may decide that the matter should be dealt with by a court, and not the CYCT. The court may refer the child or young person to the CYCT following a finding of guilt, if it feels the CYCT is the best way of dealing with the situation.
When a child or young person is referred to the CYCT, the Children’s Convenor will hold a Convenor’s meeting with the child and family/carers prior to the first hearing. The purpose of this pre-meeting is for the Convenor to consider certain legal and practical issues. These matters include whether the grounds for referral or the evidence supporting the referral are accepted. Another important issue is whether all the necessary people are aware of the referral, and if anyone else should become involved. If the substantial ground for the referral or any significant evidence supporting the referral is not accepted, the Convenor will refer any such ground or evidence for determination by the Juvenile Court. Once the Juvenile Court has made a decision on these matters, it will be referred to a hearing of the CYCT to decide on the best way of providing the child with the necessary care, protection, guidance or control.