Become A Panel Member For Children’s Hearings Scotland

Become A Panel Member For Children’s Hearings Scotland

Off By Ed Hanna

Children’s Hearings Scotland is the organisation responsible for recruiting, training and supporting volunteer Panel Members. There are 2,500 volunteer Panel Members in Scotland who make decisions with and for infants, children and young people in their local community. In 2018/2019 31,653¹ children’s hearings were held across Scotland supporting 13,667¹ children and young people.

On Wednesday 21st August Children’s Hearings Scotland launched a national campaign to recruit over 500 new volunteer Children’s Panel Members to play a crucial role in supporting infants, children and young people across Scotland.

This new campaign aims to attract a diverse range of applicants, with an emphasis on recruiting more men and young people.

Children’s Hearings Scotland National Convener and Chief Executive, Boyd McAdam, said, “We are a listening organisation. What we are hearing loud and clear from children and young people attending hearings is that they want to see more diversity on the national Children’s Panel.

To support recruitment, the campaign has been redesigned for 2019 with a focus on the types of qualities everyday people have and can bring to the role.

Boyd adds, “It is important that we reach as wide a range of people as possible because we need those who can relate to infants, children and young people and can make the very best decisions with and for them. This can be tricky for us as we know that there are some common misconceptions about being a Panel Member, such as ‘you need a law degree’ or ‘you have to have worked in children’s services’. Neither of these is the case. You need qualities like empathy, compassion and the ability to listen.

Scott, Panel Member and Fire, Health and Safety Officer, said “I had grown up in a fairly deprived part of Edinburgh and as I began telling family members that I was applying to be a Panel Member I discovered that my dad was actually involved in the Children’s Hearing System in his youth. The opportunity to get involved and give something back to the community I was living in was one that I did not want to pass up.”

Being a volunteer Panel Member not only allows Scott to support children and young people in his community, but it has also had a positive impact on Scott himself.

“There have been many positive things personally that have come out of being a Panel Member. My confidence levels have increased, both in my ability to speak up and give my opinion but also my confidence in how to relate to children and young people.”

“My decision-making ability has improved as there is a real focus on this element during training. I have found this translates to everyday decisions as well as those during the panels.”

“Also, the feeling you get when you see how you have helped to improve the outcomes for a child or young person is more than worth it.”

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