Contact Centres reopen in Scotland

An immediate update to our story about child contact centres remaining open in England and Wales but not in Scotland.

The Scottish Government have now changed the regulations to allow contact centres to remain open during the level 4 lockdown.  Although centres can reopen now for indoor contact, not all of them may have staffing or access to buildings to allow an immediate start.  Contact centre users may still have to be patient for a bit longer.

While Shared Parenting Scotland is very pleased that this decision has been made, we are concerned that the guidance given to contact centres suggests that this re-opening should only be for “essential” contact.  It suggests that direct contact with very young children is essential, whereas online contact with older children should not necessarily have this priority if online contact can be arranged.

We would suggest that any contact with a child that is taking place in a contact centre should be considered “essential” and that online contact is not an adequate substitute.  In some cases it will be necessary to reintroduce a child in gradual stages, starting with video, phone calls or messages on cards.  But there should be no suggestion that online contact is an adequate or necessary substitute for face-to-face contact in a contact centre.