Children (Scotland) Bill- soon to be Act
The Children (Scotland) Bill goes before the full Parliament today for the final vote on the detailed amendments and on whether the Bill will become law. We will have some commentary as it's happening on twitter and you can find some blogposts about the Bill if you search for 'Children (Scotland) Bill' or 'New Law'.
There are some controversial amendments and voting is not just along party lines, so it will be interesting to see where we get to at the end of the day. Will the law change so that Child Welfare Reporters have to be social workers, as is proposed by Liam McArthur MSP (a Liberal Democrat from Orkney)?
Will legal aid be extended to include arbitration in family law matters? An amendment at Stage 2 by Margaret Mitchell MSP, the Tory former Chair of the Justice Committee, was passed in the face of opposition from the SNP members, when all other parties banded together. The Government have now introduced a new amendment which has the support of Margaret Mitchell, so maybe we will have law that will oblige the Scottish Ministers to either extend legal aid to include arbitration or to introduce a scheme to make assistance available.
Will the law introduce new obligations on the courts to promote contact between children and others like siblings, step-siblings and former foster carers? These amendments are again from across the house- Liam McArthur and Rona Mackay, an SNP MSP from Glasgow.
We'll update you when the structure and detail of the Act become clear...