Children are our future and occasionally some of them need help.
Sometimes the Children's Panel is the best option to help children. It is a group of specially selected volunteers who make decisions about children who have been referred to a children's hearing.
They are appointed by the National Convener of Children's Hearing Scotland (CHS) on the recommendation of the area support team.
We cover Airdrie, Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Chryston, Kilsyth, Motherwell, Muirhead, Shotts and Wishaw.
The area support team are responsible for the appointment, re-appointment and monitoring of panel members. These members are also voluntary and receive expenses from us for their official duties.
The area convener, with the assistance from learning and development co-ordinators, panel practice advisors and panel representatives administer the panel. They are responsible for the preparation of the rota of panel members for planned panel hearings, the organisation of area training and overall maintenance of the panel.
Area support team
The area support team consists of two local authority elected members, learning and development co-ordinators, panel practice advisors and panel representatives.
The duties of the area support team include:
- submitting names of possible panel members
- advising on the suitability of persons referred to them as possible members
- advising on such matters relating to the general administration of the panels as they may refer to them
The Children's Hearings Scotland have referred the following matters to the committee for advice:
- the number of members to be appointed to the panel
- the action to be taken in any circumstances which may cause doubt on the fitness of a member to serve
- training matters
We currently operate with an area support team. This team in deals with the interview and selection of new panel members, monitoring, recommendations for re-appointment, and investigating and reporting on matters arising from complaints against panel members.
Panel practice advisors are expected to monitor hearings regularly and frequently to enable the area support team to assess the suitability of members for re-appointment.
In addition, the area support team are invited to panel meetings and frequently attend such meetings. These close personal contacts, and the fact that many area support team members are ex-panel members, has meant that extremely good relationships have been built up between the panels and advisory committees. The area support team also has a responsibility for training and children's panel members.
Children's panel recruitment
Recruitment is held on an annual basis and is organised by the area support team.
Newly appointed members have to undertake a preliminary training course. The pre-service training, from January until May, requires attendance at seven training days held on Saturdays.
Following satisfactory completion of this course, newly appointed members start serving on hearings and return for a further period of training in the autumn.
After this training, panel members are expected to take part in one or two hearings a month. Hearings are held locally, mostly during the day. Individual hearings vary in length but a normal session of three cases will last a morning or afternoon.
In addition, members are expected to attend in-service training held at local evening meeting at various times throughout the year.
Children's panel members are appointed for an initial term of three years. Once this term of appointment has expired, panel members are invited to attend a re-appointment interview with members of the area support team. Panel members can be re-appointed for a further three years.
This interview provides an opportunity for panel members to view their monitoring forms and discuss any issues or concerns they have regarding the Hearing System.
When considering a further term of appointment the area support team must take into consideration panel members' availability for hearings, attendance at hearings and training events and performance.
Following the interview, members of the area support team complete a sheet which provides details of current availability, attendance at hearings and training and any other issues arising from the interview and their recommendation of future term of appointment.
Legislation allows panel members time off to attend hearings. Generally this time is to be of a reasonable duration and frequency. Employers are not required to grant time off with pay.
Panel members are not paid but can claim travel expenses, subsistence and loss of earnings up to a certain limit.