Alan Miller, a pioneer for protecting the rights of children and young people in Scotland, has been appointed to the independent Board for The Children’s Tribunal System.
Mr Miller, who has more than 30 years’ experience, previously acted as a consultant to the States of Guernsey ahead of the introduction of The Children’s Law that saw the creation of the Child, Youth and Community Tribunal in 2010.
Having trained as a lawyer, Mr Miller worked within the Children’s Hearings System in Scotland for 20 years, which comprised of five years as a children’s reporter in Glasgow, five years as the head of service in Dumfries and Galloway, and 10 years as the first Principal Children’s Reporter and Chief Executive of the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA).
The SCRA acts in a similar way to the Children’s Convenor, in that it receives referrals for children and young people who are believed to require compulsory measures of supervision. The Reporter then decides whether the child or young person should be referred to a Children’s Hearing, much like the Child, Youth & Community Tribunal in the Bailiwick.
The Children’s Hearing System has been operating successfully in Scotland since 1971. Mr Miller was part of the team responsible for setting up and leading the national organisation when it was established in 1996, which involved working closely with the Scottish Government on a wide range of law and policy issues. He has also represented the children’s hearings system nationally and internationally.
Following this, he served as a Sheriff (a judge of first instance with a wide criminal and civil jurisdiction) in Glasgow for 11 years, where he dealt primarily with family and children’s cases.
During this time, he led the court’s involvement in child related public law work, drawing up and promoting practice notes to achieve more effective resolution of disputed cases and more efficient use of court time.
Mr Miller’s other roles have included being a convenor of mental health and education tribunals, and as a consultant for youth justice. It was in this capacity that he supported the Bailiwick of Guernsey when it looked to introduce a new approach to children’s laws.
Mr Miller said: “Ever since I worked alongside the States of Guernsey back in the mid-2000s, I have always admired the Bailiwick’s forward-thinking approach to the rights of young people. The defining passion of my career has been to deliver better care and justice for them and their families, which mirrors the fantastic work of the Convenor and Tribunal.
“Throughout my work, I always sought to hear the voice of the child, and to encourage the parents or carers to work towards practicable and child-centred outcomes. While I believe that these values are shared by my new colleagues at The Children’s Tribunal System, I hope that I can utilise my knowledge and experience as the System continues to grow and evolve, with the support of the local community.’’
The Convenor and Tribunal Board is an independent body with strategic oversight of the Office of the Children’s Convenor and the Child Youth and Community Tribunal (CYCT), which make up the Children’s Tribunal System.
The Board, members of which are appointed by the Committee for Health & Social Care, is also responsible for securing the resources required to enable the Convenor and President of the Tribunal to carry out their duties in accordance with the Law.
Jane St Pier, Chair of the Board, said: “When appointing a new board member, it’s imperative that they have knowledge and experience relevant to the functions of The Children’s Tribunal System, something which Alan has in spades.
“Having provided the States of Guernsey with advice and support in the development of The Children’s Tribunal System, Alan is acutely aware of the issues we face on the island and is in an incredible position to bring the additional expertise that he has gained over the past 30 years, as the Board continues to provide advice, guidance and support to the Children’s Convenor and the Tribunal.’’