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There are 22 Area Support Teams (ASTs) across Scotland supporting Panel Members at a local level. You’ll be part of a team that manages local volunteers and develops new ways of working for your area. You’ll be working with local partners, communicating with Panel Members and leading on national improvements at the local level. You will also make sure that the views of young people are heard and acted upon within your area.

These teams are made up of around 400 volunteers, nationwide. Within an AST there are seven different roles, and this is what they do:

Area Convener


As Area Convener, I lead Area Support Teams and work with partners at a local level.

Depute Area Convener


As Depute Area Convener, I support the Area Convener and manage complaints and concerns.

Panel Representative


As Panel Representative, I am a local point of contact for Panel Members, representing their interests within Area Support Teams. I also allocate Panel Members to children’s hearings.

Panel Practice Advisor


As Panel Practice Advisor, I maintain the high quality of our Panel Member practice through observation and feedback.

Learning and Development Coordinator


As Learning and Development Coordinator, I organise Panel Member learning at a local level.

Local Authority Clerk


As Local Authority Clerk, I work for the local authority and support volunteers locally.

Local Authority Member


As Local Authority Member, I am an elected member acting as a link between the Children’s Panel and the local authority.

The skills you will gain

As an AST member you will create and support an environment where Panel Members are able to make the best decisions for infants, children, young people and their families. You will be making a difference to your local community.

Not to mention your training and experience will equip you with a huge range of skills. These skills will include leadership, teamwork, analytical thinking, and decision making.

Who we need

You’ll be enthusiastic and committed to securing the rights of children and young people; able to lead and be part of teams; a strong communicator. You’ll also be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to and understanding of the ethos, values and principles of the children's hearings system. As an AST member, you will be appointed for an initial three year period with the possibility of extending this, so we need you be able to make that commitment.

Training and ongoing learning

The AST Learning Programme provides training for a variety of roles to reflect and support your contribution to: recruitment and selection, reappointment, pastoral care, and learning and development.

It also provides learning for recently recruited Panel Practice Advisors (PPAs), to support them in fulfilling their role, and can be used as a whole, or in part, to refresh the practice of existing AST members.

Each course within the programme involves:

  • Advanced online reading and preparation
  • Presentations of the key learning points
  • Discussion and participation in small group activity
  • Further online reading and reflection for participants.

As with all of our Learning Academy programmes, there are three elements to complete for each course:

  • Pre-course online preparation activities
  • a trainer-led training day
  • post-course reflection and further resources.