Search Legislation

Children (Scotland) Act 2020

Detailed provisions


48.Section 10 relates to child contact centres, child contact centre services, and the regulation of contact services at centres.

49.Child contact centres are venues for conflict free contact between children, parents and other people in the child’s life. Centres offer a mixture of supported and supervised contact. Supported contact is where there is no significant risk to the child. Supervised contact is where contact takes place in the constant presence of an independent person who observes and ensures the safety of those involved. Centres also offer a handover service which allows a child to move between parents without the parents having to see each other.

50.Section 10 amends section 11 of the 1995 Act to provide that, where a court has ordered contact at a child contact centre, the contact can only be required to take place through a regulated contact service. The provision means that if a court considers that contact or handover at a contact centre service is in the best interests of the child then the court is required to either state that the contact has to be at a registered centre or name the registered centre at which the contact is to take place.

51.Section 11 inserts new section 101D into the 1995 Act which provides that a solicitor must not refer a person to an unregulated contact service. Failure to comply with this duty may be treated as professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct.

52.Section 10 adds section 101C to the 1995 Act. This gives the Scottish Ministers the power to set through regulations, subject to the affirmative procedure, minimum standards in relation to accommodation and staff training that a contact service needs to meet in order to be a regulated contact service.

53.If a place is not registered as a contact centre, it can still provide regulated contact services so long as prescribed conditions are met. This will ensure that contact service providers can, if necessary, provide contact services on an ad hoc basis at premises that are not their regulated centres, if certain conditions (to be specified in the regulations) are met. Any premises used on this basis must also meet minimum standards that will be set down in the regulations. Failure to do so could also lead to removal of the contact service provider from the register.

54.This section also gives the Scottish Ministers the power to appoint a body to inspect contact centres, regulated contact service providers and those that are applying for registration to ensure they meet the minimum standards. This body would also handle any complaints about the contact centres once internal complaints procedures have been exhausted. The body would also be able to undertake risk assessments of contact centres to be carried out by staff who are trained. The body may also issue reports on any failure or possible failure by a contact service provider to comply with the provider’s duties under the Equality Act 2010 and, in particular any duty to make reasonable adjustments to premises in order to facilitate their use by disabled people.

55.Section 12 of the Act provides a statutory basis for the Scottish Ministers to contract for the provision of services to facilitate contact with children. This will enable Scottish Ministers to carry out a tendering exercise for the provision of child contact centre services.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources