The Children's Panel is a group of specially selected volunteers who make the decisions about children who have been referred to Children's Hearings.
The recruitment drive for new members takes place in the autumn and advertisements are placed in local and national newspapers, libraries and community centres and are usually backed up with a radio recruitment campaign.
The Central and West Lothian Area Support Team then select potential Panel members through an information evening, interview and then a workshop event. The final appointment decision is taken by the National Convener, Children's Hearings Scotland.
If you are selected as a Panel member, you will attend a comprehensive initial training programme in preparation to attend Hearings.
As you serve on the Panel, you will attend further training and meetings to ensure that you are kept fully trained in order to participate in Hearings.
After your initial training, you would usually be expected to attend 2 Children's Panel Hearings per month.
In addition to attending the Hearings, you would need to prepare by reading the background reports before a Hearing. You will also need to undertake some in-service training to keep up to date with any changes in legislation and child care practices.
You may also need to visit children's homes. It is difficult to quantify the exact time you will need to set aside, as it may vary every month.
Panel members are not paid for their work, but can claim any travelling, subsistence and loss of earnings incurred.
If you are interested in becoming a Panel member, information packs are available by writing to:
Clerk to the Area Support Team
Tel: 01324 506117
Fax: 01324 506071