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How to make complicated decisions ......

There are very few things which are inarguable.

Scotland has, I believe, a unique system for dealing with children in trouble. The Children's Hearing Scotland or the Children's Panel. It's brilliant, I struggle to find an argument against it.

It looks after any child, under the age of 18, that gets in to trouble. This includes anything criminal but the vast majority of the work deals with children who are not getting the best of life.

It works. A panel of three lay people meet with all the interested parties and the child, they discuss all of the relevant facts and then they make a decision. There is normally a considerable amount of reading done beforehand but the meetings themselves are normally around 40 minutes.

The vast majority of decisions are a consensus, very, very rarely based on a 2:1 vote.

40 minutes to decide what is the best next step for the child. The complexity of some of the problems faced by young children are, I'd argue, verging on chaotic. I'd argue that there are very, very few decisions more important.

So how is that possible? Unless you've been through it a few times it does seem extremely unlikely but I can assure you, it works, even with the most difficult of decisions.

And the primary reason that a decision is possible is that the underlying basis of any decision made is always the same, 'what is the best possible decision for the child at this moment?' The right thing to do is normally acceptable to everyone.

It works and it is awesome. And all done by ordinary people, given a little training, giving their time and care for others for nothing.

I think there is something within this that should be taken up by our political system and that it would benefit us all. Wouldn't it be wonderful if when politicians were making decisions their underlying basis for any decision was always, 'what is the best possible decision for the future of our children at this moment?'

Because, currently, the underlying basis for any politicians decision is quite obviously, 'what is the best possible outcome for me!!?'

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