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Panel Practice Advisor

Applications are now open for Panel Practice Advisors! Panel Practice Advisors are responsible for selecting and recommending Panel Members for appointment. They also regularly observe Panel Members within children's hearings and provide feedback so improvements can be made. Their goal is to support Panel Members to ensure the strongest possible decisions are being made for children and young people. Read the full role description or apply now.

If you want to have an informal chat about the role, or need any additional support, please get in touch with

Case Studies

Panel Practice Advisor – is it for me?

Carol MacKenzie, a PPA in the Highlands and Moray tell us her story. 

As a PPA my primary interest was to observe the Panels at Hearings and offer encouragement, support and practice advice, the transition from being actively engaged in the decision making to sitting back and watching others was interesting. As I became more involved as a PPA I embraced new challenges. Interviewing was totally new to me and dealing with concerns (fortunately an extremely small number), again this was new, and the training supplied by Children’s Hearings Scotland really does prepare you for the processes.

What I get from PPA volunteering personally is a belief that I’m improving the quality of the Panel Members practice, but also supporting them and letting them know that they are doing a good job. Panel Members feel the weight of those decisions and part of my role is to help them reflect and gain perspective on their practice. Of course, feedback is a two way street and having those conversations with Panel Members allows me to feel that I’m doing a valuable job as a volunteer PPA.

Why did you decide to become a volunteer?

At the time (2004) I was working in Early Years Care and Education, my own children were young, and my life revolved around children and families. I have always had an interest in learning new things and a Panel Member was talking to me about his experience of being on the panel. I became intrigued. Later that year I applied and was accepted as a trainee.

What positive impact has been a PPA had on you as a volunteer?

Being a PPA has certainly taught me new skills, some of which have helped me not only to do the job of a PPA but also to advance in my roles in the NHS. Having the confidence to speak up, and challenge thinking in an open and constructive manner, interviewing others and conducting investigations, how I approach problem solving in an inclusive way, these skills have definitely been enhanced by being a PPA.

What would you say to someone interested in applying to be a PPA and join our community?

We are looking for new volunteer Panel Practice Advisors across Scotland and this is the job for you if you have two to three days per month and have the ability to work with others in a considerate and compassionate manner. If you believe that you can make supportive and reasonable judgements of others practice, see beyond the obvious and recognise and value difference in delivery style then consider becoming a PPA. And finally, if you want to learn, and help your local community’s vulnerable infants, children and families then this might just be the right way for you to volunteer.