Could you become a Children's Panel Member?

15 August 2016

Children's Hearings Scotland launch a six-week recruitment campaign to fill the 560 volunteer roles. 
Applications are now closed (as of 25th September 2016) 


The Children's Hearings System is the largest tribunal in Scotland, comprising around 2,500 volunteer panel members. All panel members belong to the national Children’s Panel, but they sit on hearings in the local authority area in which they either live or work.  


The Children’s Hearings System seeks to improve outcomes for vulnerable, troubled or at-risk children and young people who are in need of care or have committed an offence. To ensure the system continues to offer the best possible support, CHS is now recruiting for around 560 new recruits from a wide range of backgrounds. Men in particular are encouraged to come forward, as legislation requires both men and women to sit on each hearing. 

Sometimes children and young people find themselves in situations that are too difficult for them to deal with on their own. Through neglect and abuse, children can become distressed and vulnerable. But you can help them before it’s too late. As specially selected volunteers, our panel members work together to make the decisions that will improve the everyday lives of vulnerable children and young people.  You don’t need any experience or qualifications to apply; you just need to care enough to offer your time.

There is a considerable time commitment required to become a Children’s Panel member. You will need to commit to the initial training programme which is spread over two years, and be able to prepare in advance of each hearing. Then there’s attendance at the hearings themselves, and the expectation that you’ll continue to maintain your skills through on-going mandatory training. This is an important role and it takes a lot of commitment. However, the rewards can be enormous. More information about the training can be found here.

Why not see what some of the panel members think about their volunteering role in the videos below. More videos here.


Background on the Children's Panel

Who are the Children's Panel Members?

A panel member is a lay tribunal member who volunteers to sit on children’s hearings (sometimes called children’s panels). Panel members are people from the community who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Panel members should either live or work in the local authority area in which they serve, to ensure that they are familiar with the area in which the children and young people they will see at hearings are from. Panel members sit on hearings on a rota basis. Each children’s hearing has three panel members and there must be a mix of men and women.

What do Children's Panel Members do?

The role of a panel member is to make decisions in the best interests of the children and young people who come to hearings. Panel members must decide whether compulsory measures of supervision are needed to improve the lives of these children and young people and, if so, what these measures should be. Children and young people may be referred to a children’s hearing for a number of different reasons and referrals are split into two broad categories. The first is care and protection, where the welfare of the child or young person is causing concern. The second is offence, where the child or young person is believed to have committed an offence. The majority of children and young people are referred on care and protection grounds.

How are Panel Members selected & appointed?

Members of the national Children’s Panel must go through a stringent recruitment process before being appointed by the National Convener. The Area Support Teams are responsible for recommending individuals to the National Convener for appointment as panel members. For new panel members this normally involves attending information sessions, completing an application form and attending interviews and group discussions. The initial period of appointment is three years and is renewable on further recommendation from the Area Support Team, following monitoring of performance.

Which areas are not recruiting for Panel Members in 2016?

We need new panel members in all local authority areas this year except:

Aberdeen City
Eilean Siar
Scottish Borders

Applications opened on Monday 15 August and the deadline is Sunday 25 September 2016.

Apply Online Here