The Children's Hearings System is Scotland's unique care and justice system for children and young people in need of care, protection and support.
The system is unique because it is unsalaried, lay tribunal members (panel members) who are the decision makers at children's hearings. Decisions are made after considering the needs, circumstances and best interests of the children and young people before them.
The Children's Hearings (Scotland) Act 2011 created Area Support Teams (ASTs) to support Children's Panel members in their local area. There are twenty-two ASTs across Scotland playing a critical role in the delivery and administration of the Children's Panel. ASTs act on behalf of the National Convener in recruiting, supporting and monitoring panel members locally.
The Area Convener (AC) and Depute Area Convener (DAC) lead a team of volunteers and are supported by local authority clerking staff. The role includes responsibilities such as chairing AST meetings, delegating a range of tasks and supporting volunteer AST and panel members.
More information about ASTs and the Children's Hearings System can be found on the Children's Hearings Scotland website.