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Business - Renfrewshire Council

Renfrewshire Area Support Team

The Children’s Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 (the Act) aims to improve the lives, outcomes and opportunities of Scotland’s most vulnerable children and young people by bringing together certain functions associated with Children’s Hearings. The Act, which came into force on 24th June, 2013, createed the role of National Convener and Children’s Hearings Scotland (CHS).

The National Convener operates independently, has a limited number of statutory functions and, for the first time, acts as an ambassador and advocate for Scotland’s 2,700 volunteer Children’s Panel members, to ensure that they are supported to a consistently high standard. Children’s Hearings Scotland is the dedicated Non‐Departmental Public Body that has a duty to support the National Convener in the delivery of the functions conferred on her by the 2011 Act.

The Act empowers the National Convener to establish a national Children’s Panel for Scotland to replace the existing 32 local authority children’s panels. It establishes Area Support Teams (ASTs) which will replace the current Children’s Panel Advisory Committees and which will be responsible for supporting the national Children’s Panel at a local level.

These reforms are driven by the desire to build on the best aspects of the current arrangements. The ethos of the system and the role of the three specially trained, lay panel members, who make decisions in the best interests of the child or young person who comes before them, will not change. The changes are designed to place the child at the centre of the hearing and ensure that their voice and experience is heard. They ensure that the rights of others are respected and that the hearing complies with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The role of Renfrewshire Area Support Team (AST) is to  uphold the CHS vision, mission and values, work within the CHS national standards at a local level, carry out functions on behalf of the National Convener to support members of the Children’s Panel who sit on hearings in their area work with local authorities, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) and all relevant partners towards continual improvement across the Children’s Hearings System.
 The AST is responsible at a local level for panel member recruitment; selecting applicants for recommendation to the National Convener for appointment and making recommendations for panel member reappointment; panel member induction; the management of the rota in the Renfrewshire area; and the support, practice observation and practice review processes for panel members at area level. The AST is also responsible for organising panel member training at the local level. This will comprise a mixture of learning and development sessions, in conjunction with the CHS national training provider(s), to equip panel members with the skills and competencies to effectively fulfil their role on an ongoing basis. ASTs will also organise information sessions on resources and initiatives available locally, awards ceremonies and an annual recognition event.

2.4 The AST can set up sub

‐committees for each constituent local authority, where there is more than one within the AST area, and/or for specific purposes, such as a training sub‐committee.



Renfrewshire Area Support Team

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