Hide this page (shortcut Esc key) - This will take you to the google website

The Children's Panel - life changing

Who will be at the hearing?

  • you, your parents or carers
  • a Children’s Reporter
  • three children's panel members
  • a social worker will also be there and a teacher from your school might also be there
  • there may also be a person called a Safeguarder

If you want to, you can bring someone along to your hearing like a friend or your teacher. They can help you talk to the panel members.

You are the most important person at a children’s hearing. Sometimes the panel members can ask some people to leave the children’s hearing if this would help you.

Who is a Children's Reporter?

A Children’s Reporter (sometimes just called a Reporter) is the person who decides if you need to come to a children's hearing. They organise the hearing and send you a letter about it. They will come and say hello to you when you arrive. They will be in the hearing room and they will make sure that your hearing is fair and will write down what has been decided.

Who are panel members?

At each hearing there are three panel members. A panel member is a person from your local community who volunteers to sit on a Children’s Panel. Many panel members have jobs, whilst others are retired people. Lots of them have their own children and grandchildren.

All panel members are given special training so that they can make decisions to help the young people who come to a hearing. They will decide what to do next. You can read more about panel members in our leaflet: 'All About Panel Members'.

Who is a Safeguarder?

A safeguarder is a person who is appointed to make sure that a young person’s interests are looked after. A safeguarder can be appointed by either a children’s hearing, pre-hearing panel or a Sheriff. Not all children and young people need to have a safeguarder.

You can read more about Safeguarders in this leaflet: 'The Safeguarder - Information for children and young people'.

What decisions can a Children’s Reporter make?

When a Children’s Reporter receives a referral, he or she will find out all they can about that young person and their circumstances, so that they can help them. They might speak to a social worker or a teacher or the people who look after the young person at home. They may also ask a social worker or a teacher at the young person’s school to write a report about them and their family to give them the information they need to make the right decision. Once the Children’s Reporter has all the information they need, they can decide what to do. 

If the Children’s Reporter thinks that the young person is in definite need of help, they will ask them to come to a hearing. Not all young people who are referred to the Children’s Reporter are asked to attend a hearing. In many cases, there are other ways to help that young person for example, if they have a very supportive family who can help them with their problems.

We try to use language that is not complicated to help you understand, but we also have a Jargon Buster which might help.