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How we train volunteers

Our Children’s Hearings Scotland Learning Academy, operated in partnership with West Lothian College, provides a range of online and face-to-face learning opportunities for our volunteers. This continuous development makes sure our Panel and Area Support Team members are well trained to undertake their roles.

Having the right skills, knowledge and values is a key part of both making effective decisions for infants, children and young people, and of supporting the Panel Members who make those decisions. We encourage our volunteers and staff members to take part in continuous training and development to make sure they are up to speed on the latest legislation and practice.

All new Panel Members undergo an initial pre-service training programme, designed to develop valuable skills and knowledge including:

  • The needs of infants, children and young people within the children’s hearings system
  • Principles and practices within the children’s hearings system
  • Managing hearings.

The initial training programme is delivered through a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) accredited qualification at SCQF level 7: “Professional Development Award (PDA) – Children’s Hearings in Scotland: Panel Members”.

Once trained and qualified, all Panel Members participate regularly in ongoing national training and local learning and development. We work with a range of partner organisations and young people to ensure that our face to face and online training is updated regularly and that it reflects new knowledge and our CHS values. 

A number of training courses have been developed specifically to support Area Support Team members in their roles, including:

  • Recruitment and selection of Panel Members
  • Observation and feedback
  • Reappointment of Panel Members
  • Complaints handling

We want to create an inclusive learning environment and always assist those who need additional support around learning tasks in any way we can.