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North Lanarkshire children's panel

Children's hearing system

A children's hearing (Children's Panel) is a meeting specially for young people who are having some problems. It is part of Scotland's Juvenile Justice and Welfare System and has been in operation since 1971. 

What is the purpose of a hearing?

A hearing is to decide what needs to be done in the best interests of the child.

All ages of children from new-born babies to sixteen year olds come to hearings. They come because they:

  • have offended
  • have truanted
  • misused drugs or alcohol
  • been physically, emotionally or sexually abused
  • are in moral danger
  • need care and protection
  • are out of control 

There are different kinds of help available for children and young people, and the hearing will try to decide which is best for the child. The hearing will listen, provide support and always have the best interest of the child at heart.

What is supervision?

A hearing may put a child under the supervision of a social worker. This can happen whilst they remain at home or if they have to live away from home for a while.

A supervision order lasts as long as the hearing thinks necessary. The child or parents can ask that the Reporter arrange another hearing after three months. Also, social work services can ask for another hearing to be held at any time and the hearing can specify when a case should be brought back before it. These are called Review Hearings. However, if none of these requests are made, the Reporter will arrange another meeting, called an Annual Review, within a year.

If the hearing decides that the child does not need supervision, it will discharge the referral. This means that it will not make a supervision requirement. The child would not continue to have contact with social work services after the hearing unless the child and family have agreed to this voluntarily.

Children may go to court in special situations. Even if they do go to court, they are often referred back to the hearing for their case to be closed.

What is the role of the panel?

There are three panel members, the child, the parent, the social worker and the Reporter to the Children's Panel. Each panel member receives a report several days prior to the hearing. The report is used to find out more about the child and to allow discussion as to how the child can be helped. Panel members then make the decision as to what should happen to the child.

The Reporter is an official employed by the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration. The Reporter decides whether a child should be referred to a hearing. The main source of referrals is the police although, other agencies, such as social work services, education services or indeed any member of the public may make a referral to the Reporter. The Reporter will consider reports on the child and then decide whether a hearing is appropriate.

Children's hearing centres

North Lanarkshire currently have two hearing centres located in Bellshill and Cumbernauld. The Reporter in North Lanarkshire is responsible for these hearing centres.

Cumbernauld hearing centre - times of hearings
Cumbernauld hearing centre Times of hearings
2nd Floor, Carron House Town Centre Cumbernauld G67 1ER Monday (2pm) Wednesday and Thursday (10am)
Tel: 01236 724531 Email:  
Bellshill hearing centre - times of hearings
Bellshill hearing centre Times of hearings
70 North Road Bellshill Tel: 0300 200 1952 Fax: 01698 748142 Monday (2pm) Tuesday (10am) Wednesday (10am and 2pm) Thursday (10am)
Tel: 0131 244 8701 Email:  

Page last updated:
02 May 2023

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