The Children's Panel is part of the Children's Hearings System, Scotland's care and justice system for children and young people.
The Children’s Panel ensures the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children and young people. Panel members listen, discuss and make important decisions at children’s hearings on how best to protect each child or young person. The Children's Panel considers a child's case as a whole, addressing their needs and deeds together.
If you have been invited to attend a hearing, would like to request a hearing or would like to refer a child to the Children's Hearings System, please contact the Aberdeen SCRA office on 0131 244 8720 or email CityofAberdeenMailbox@scra.gsi.gov.uk
Join the Children's Panel
In Aberdeen City, we need more than 30 men and women to join the Children's Panel and make life-changing decisions for local children and young people.
As a Panel member, alongside the all-important training, you’ll gain a range of skills including team work, leadership and decision making, along with a nationally recognised qualification.
There’s no one type of person who makes the perfect Panel member, however, it goes without saying that we’re looking for people who are good listeners, reliable and importantly – people who care.
We are holding information evenings on Thursday 29 August, Wednesday 4 September and Wednesday 11 September at 6pm in Woodhill House, Westburn Road, Aberdeen. To book a place please contact Cheryl Nevill using the contact details below.
Applications are open until 17 September 2019. Visit The Children's Panel website to apply.
Legal and Democratic Services
If you would like to make a complaint about the Children's Panel, please visit the Children's Hearings Scotland website.
To ensure that children's needs are properly addressed, and families receive a fair hearing free from any possible conflicts of interest, people professionally involved in the Children's Hearing System, or indirectly implementing hearing decisions are in practice ineligible for Panel membership. Examples of people not eligible include Social Workers, Police Officers, City Wardens, Foster Carers and Residential Carers at children's establishments. Justices of the Peace are also deemed to have a conflict of interest. If you are aged over 18, you will be eligible to apply.
Panel Members are volunteer members of the public from all walks of life appointed by Scottish Ministers on the advice of local Area Support Teams. In Autumn each year there is a recruitment campaign which is advertised in the press and on the radio to heighten awareness and attract suitable applicants from as wide a field as possible. Panel members should usually reside in the area in which they serve, thus underlining the Scottish tradition of care and justice at local level.
Each local authority will run its own local recruitment activities. If you are interested, please visit www.childrenspanelscotland.org.
In Aberdeen, there are approximately 120 Panel members. The Panel has a lead panel member representative and two panel member representatives to assist in rota management and liaison with other agencies such as the Children's Reporter, local authority departments including Social Work and Education, the Police and Children's Hearings Scotland.
Once initial training has been completed, which is usually between January and May, a Panel member would be expected to attend two hearing sessions per month. Hearings take place in Aberdeen during mornings and afternoons. The Panel rota is drawn up two months in advance following consultation with Panel Members. Every effort is made to take info account Panel members' work patterns and other commitments.
Under Section 50 of the Employments Rights Act 1996, Panel Members are entitled to have reasonable time off, taking account of local circumstances and their individual employer's staffing needs. In reality, the vast majority of employers and Panel members come to mutually suitable arrangements which works very well. Panel membership allows the development of valued skills such as communication, decision making, leadership and team working which are viewed very positively by many employers. Members of the Children's Panel are ineligible for jury service during their appointment.
The Children's Panel is the cornerstone of the welfare-based system of justice for both young offenders and children who have been offended against. The Panel considers a child's case as a whole, addressing his/her needs and deeds together. The Panel will consider the views of children, families, social workers, teachers and other specialists.
The Children's Panel can:
- Discharge the case if the members of the hearing agree that the child is not in need of compulsory measures of supervision.
- Continue the hearing for further information such as a social work or school report if a decision cannot be made.
- Make a supervision requirement lasting for up to one year if the hearing agree that compulsory supervision is required.
The Aberdeen Area Support Team (AST) is responsible for advising the National Convener on the recruitment of members of the public to the Children's Panel and have a key role in the Children's Hearing System. Their remit also includes recommendations on re-appointments, as well as input into training needs and the day-to-day running of the Hearing System. In selecting Panel Members, the Area Support Team try to maintain a representative Panel against the existing make-up of the Children's Panel in the Aberdeen area.
AST members are also appointed by the National Convener and bring a wealth of experience and expertise in areas of child welfare, recruitment and monitoring. ASTs can also include former Panel Members. The Committee Services Section of Aberdeen City Council, Legal and Democratic Services, administers the AST.
No special qualifications are required for Children's Panel membership - common sense and an ability to listen are essential. People who care for the welfare of children and young people and are capable of taking a reasonable and objective attitude towards children in trouble would be suitable. An ability to grasp the main issues from written reports is useful, as is the need for a commitment to total confidentiality. You should also be able to communicate with children and young people, understand their feelings and reactions and have a commitment to attend ongoing training.
The Pre-Service programme will involve approximately 40 hours of training divided into several sessions. Training is held between January and April with sessions being conducted mainly at weekends. After that, there are two in-service training sessions usually held on Saturdays and regular bi-monthly evening meetings.
It is a condition of appointment that Panel members satisfactorily complete the course of Pre-Service training before they begin to serve on Children's hearings. Attendance of all parts of each session is therefore essential.
In Aberdeen City, Children's Hearings are normally held at:
The Exchange No.2
62-104 Market Street
Children's Panel Members are appointed by the National Convener upon the recommendation of the Aberdeen Area Support Team. Initial appointments are normally for three years and may be renewed. The Area Support Team monitors performance in Hearings and attendance at training.
Panel Members are not paid for their service, but all can claim loss of earnings, travel and subsistence connected with duties and training. The level of these allowances are laid down by Children's Hearings Scotland and can include reasonable reimbursement of child care costs.
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