New duties strengthen children's rights and wellbeing
Measures came into force on 1 April 2017 to ensure that public authorities take account of children’s rights and wellbeing in fulfilling their functions.
Duties under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (2014 Act), implemented from 1 April, require specified public authorities, including all local authorities and health boards, to report every 3 years on the steps they have taken to secure better or further effect of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), an international treaty, which sets out the rights that all children have. The first reports under these new duties are due in 2020.
The commencement of the arrangements for Part 3 (Children’s Services Planning) also come into effect on 1 April. The first children’s services plans, which are required to be in place on that date, will cover the three year period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020. Thereafter, a children’s services plan is required for each subsequent 3 year period. The aim of children’s services plans is to improve outcomes for all children and young people in Scotland by ensuring that local planning and delivery of services is integrated, focused on securing quality and value through preventative approaches and dedicated to safeguarding, supporting and promoting child wellbeing.
Part 3 of the Act places a duty on each local authority and the relevant health board, to jointly prepare a children’s services plan for the area of the local authority covering a 3 year period. A range of other relevant local and national bodies are expected to be either consulted with, or obliged to participate, at various stages of the development of the plan. It also requires the local authority and relevant health board to jointly publish an annual report detailing how the provision of children’s services and related services in that area have been provided in accordance with the plan.
Letter from the Director for Children and Families regarding these new duties is available here.
Non-statutory guidance to assist public authorities in meeting their responsibilities under Part 1 can be accessed here.
The Statutory Part 3 guidance is available here.