The much lauded Children's Panel system in Scotland is
struggling and barely able to cope with its workload according to
complaints by panel members and staff who administer hearings and
In a number of telephone calls to Community Care, panel members
have described the support and administration as "falling apart in
One panel member from Edinburgh said: "Meetings and hearings are
frequently cancelled at short notice, basic administration doesn't
happen and panel members are leaving disheartened after a short
Maureen McMillan, chairperson of the children's panel advisory
committee in Edinburgh, blamed the high staff turnover on pressures
of the employment market . McMillan acknowledged that support to
the system had deteriorated in Edinburgh.
Children's reporters, who asked not to be named, stated that
difficulties had grown steadily since the creation of the Scottish
Children's Reporters Administration as a national agency in 1996.
Among other difficulties, SCRA is understood to be facing a
An SCRA spokesperson told Community Care the "working practices
which have been agreed by panel members and SCRA" had been endorsed
by the Scottish executive.