FOI Request - Council Staff - Court Appearances

Request 101000254509

Please provide details of any provisions in place by or available upon request from relevant persons within your local authority to:

1. assist your professionals to deal with actual or potential stress arising from court appearances on behalf of the local authority.

2. assist professionals such as social workers operate proficiently and professionally in court

3. assist social workers to operate in line with their statutory duties in public family law matters

Response 25-06-2014

1. We provide an Employee Assistance Programme through timefortalking.  

2. Legal staff are trained to appear in court as trainee solicitors and with support from more experienced colleagues.

Environmental Health - Annual courses are organised by the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland on law enforcement at Tulliallan Police College which includes a workshop and role play in a real court setting.  All professional Environmental Health Officers have attended.

Training provided by DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) involving a mock trial in a Sherrif Court which includes giving evidence for the Prosecution.  Leaflets are provided by the COPFS (“Being a Witness”) and are reviewed prior to court attendances.  Support during trials is also provided by Victim Support Scotland who liaise with all witnesses and answer any queries which may arise.

Criminal Justice Social Workers are experienced in attending Court and carrying Out their professional duties and any actual or potential stress associated with these duties is dealt with within the supervision process.  Moray Criminal Justice Team is part of the Northern Community Justice Authority (NCJA). The NCJA routinely provides training in a number of areas of practice one being Court Skills Training

In addition we provided Court Skills training in November 2012 – for interagency group Children’s Services – 44 people attended from (Council, NHS, Children First).  We also commissioned Bond Solo for court skills training and ran Advance Statement Report Writing and Giving Evidence sessions in 2008 and 2012.  A total of 66 people attended from Children’s Services.  Court skills and witness training is on the training plan which is going to committee this month.

In the Housing section support is provided to the employees by the legal representative on the few occasions Housing and Property staff have attended court.

3. see 2 above.

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