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The Children's Panel - life changing

Children's Hearings Scotland first Panel Practice Advisors Forum takes place 04 October 2018

Over 20 Panel Practice Advisors (PPAs) and members of the Children’s Hearings Scotland National Team attended the first PPA forum in Edinburgh on 28 September 2018.


The event was organised by Children’s Hearings Scotland and lead by Ian Campbell, Community Projects Lead. Ian tells us about the development of the PPA forum,

“A number of previous factors had pointed to a need to review the role and remit of Panel Practice Advisors.  Much of this impetus came from Area Conveners and Deputy Area Conveners themselves and was premised on taking forward some of the recommendations within the Better Hearings Report. In addition, the CHS National Team acknowledged that such a review would be useful to understanding if any variance existed in PPA practice.  One of the first outcomes identified was a need to introduce a PPA forum that would assist in sharing best practice; creating a safe space where issues of practice and policy could be discussed.”


PPAs are responsible for the recruitment, selection, observation and practice reviews of Panel Members in the Area Support Team (AST). They are key to the quality assurance approaches within the AST.

Panel Practice Advisor for Tayside AST, Phil Lewis, told us about the outcomes of the forum,

“The PPA role is central to the development of the organisation, the Panel Members and wider teams over the next few years. It was wonderful to meet colleagues at the first Forum and to meet PPAs from all over Scotland to compare notes and discuss best practice. We all had different ideas to bring to the session and everyone was open and positive. We are all trying to develop the best means possible to observe, review and give positive feedback to our committed Panel Members. To be the most effective that we can be we need to have a consistent approach to everything we do.  We need to organise ourselves in a way that can fit in with the digital programme over the next few years.  We can then be confident that we have the same quality of practices throughout Scotland. We always need to remind ourselves that Panel Members are volunteers and we need to support them as we change systems and help them to be even more effective in their role.

The first PPA Forum was a great success and we will all build on that for the future.”

Ian Wilkie, Panel Practice Advisor for South East Scotland AST adds,

“It was a fantastic event. It is clear to me that CHS has invested a considerable amount of work into making the Forum work for PPAs, but it will also benefit Area Support Teams, Panel Members and, most importantly, our cherished Children’s Hearings system.

I really enjoyed the Forum meeting and it was great to network with colleagues from across Scotland. I learned so much about the CHS vision for the Forum and the digital pathway which will benefit us all.

As someone who has been involved with the Children’s Hearings system since the late 1970s, I consider it to be THE jewel in our national governance structures. I came away from the Forum realising what a great team the CHS family is.”

You can find out more about us by exploring our website. We’re currently recruiting for a number of volunteer Area Support Team roles, including Panel Practice Advisors. To find out more about volunteering with us visit /about-chs/vacancies/.