Blog: 46 years as a Panel Member
Ian has been a Panel Member for 46 years. He looks back on his time as a volunteer, and shares his thoughts on the future of the children's hearings system.
In 1975, having previously worked with young people and children within the local community, I decided to take up some voluntary work. I spoke to a friend of mine who was at that time the Chief Constable and asked him for his advice. He discussed the Children’s Panel who at that time were looking for volunteers.
I followed this through and became a Panel Member in the Glasgow area.
I have always been a fervent advocate of the Kilbrandon philosophy which informs the children’s hearing system in Scotland. It asserts that the welfare of the children is paramount, meaning those children who are brought before the panel - for whatever reason – deserve to have their needs as well as their deeds addressed. Lord Kilbrandon considered it appropriate that the problems and challenges of the young people within the community should be supported by members of that same community.
Whether we live in an affluent area or not, the struggles that families and young people face every day remain the same and there are a huge number of children in vulnerable situations who need our involvement and support at a local level.
After all these years of being involved, I still have a huge concern and appetite to contribute to this valuable work.
Every day I experience a freshness and a new challenge, and this is what motivates me to continue.
Going forward, I still believe Lord Kilbrandon got it right and this voluntary system should continue. However, changes are now necessary to comply with the constant amendments in legislation and children’s rights.
As a result, there is a need for more in-depth training for the Panel Members which in turn means more commitment from the volunteers.
As for me, I can honestly say that I have received far more from my experience than I have ever put into the system.
It has enhanced my knowledge, understanding and ability to communicate and strengthened my character. I also now understand more of the real problems which children and young people experience daily.
I have never regretted these years and my time working with infants, children and young people and would recommend this to anyone who has the time to do so.
- Ian, Panel Member