About The Role
Panel Members take part in children's hearings. Their role is to listen and make legal decisions with and for infants, children and young people. They are there to ensure that the infant, child or young person is at the heart of every decision taken – because every decision, no matter how big or small it may seem, has a huge impact. It is a big responsibility, but we’ll be there to support you and training is provided PLUS it’s one of the most rewarding volunteer roles out there!
As a Panel Member, you will be appointed for an initial three year period with the possibility of extending this.
THE SKILLS YOU'LL GAIN
Your training and experience as a Panel Member will equip you with a huge range of skills.
These skills will include understanding the needs of and effectively communicating with children and young people; principles and practises within the Children’s Hearings System, including law and procedure; chairing hearings; decision making and protecting rights.
Other skills include: leadership, teamwork, analytical thinking, and decision making.
WHO WE NEED
There’s no one type of person or background that makes the ideal Children’s Panel Member.
As long as you’re over 18, your gender, religion, age, qualifications and employment status don’t matter to us. Neither do most previous criminal convictions. However, it goes without saying you’ll be a good listener, caring, compassionate, reliable and importantly you need to care.
We’ll need you to live and/or work in the local authority area in which you wish to volunteer, and be able to attend training from December until May.
As a trainee Panel Member, we need you to commit to an initial, intensive training programme. It involves two or three evening sessions and seven full days training. There is online study and assessment during this four month training period (roughly 80 hours over four months). While you develop your skills, you will be able to observe two or three children’s hearings.
Through your training, you’ll gain a Professional Development Award for ‘Children’s Hearings in Scotland: Panel Members’. This sits within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 7. It is a unique award that is verified by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, and is one of the few awards available just for volunteers.
In the first two years after you’ve completed your Professional Development Award, you’ll be asked to undertake further training.
We support Panel Members to continue to make the strongest decisions for children and young people. Having fully qualified as one of our Panel Members, you continue to maintain your skills through in person and online training courses, as well as local learning and development sessions. Training is normally held in the evenings or at the weekends, but sometimes weekdays are available too.
TIME OFF WORK
Children’s hearings take place during the week and daytime hours. Panel Members are normally asked to attend either a morning or an afternoon session once or twice a month. For those who are in employment, this usually means asking your employers for time off work.
Since children’s hearings are statutory tribunals (similar to jury duty), employees have a statutory right to take reasonable time off work to sit on these hearings, as set out in section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.