The Scottish Ministers' aim is for Scotland to be the best place to grow up, be educated and to bring up children and young people. Underpinning this ambition is a firm commitment to respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of all children and young people. The approach to children's rights is central to a wider ambition to ensure dignity, equality and human rights for all.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to which all children are entitled, regardless of their circumstances or background. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child undertakes regular reviews of how state parties, including the UK, are meeting their obligations with respect to the UNCRC. As part of this process, state parties are required to report to the UN Committee approximately every 5 years on their progress in taking forward children's rights.
Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places duties on Scottish Ministers to keep under consideration whether there are any steps which they could take which would or might secure better or further effect in Scotland of the UNCRC and, if appropriate, to take steps identified by that consideration The Act further specifies that, in complying with these duties, Ministers must "take such account as they consider appropriate of any relevant views of children of which the Scottish Ministers are aware". Ministers are also required to promote public awareness and understanding of children's rights, including amongst children. The Scottish Ministers must report to Parliament every 3 years on steps taken to secure better or further effect in Scotland of the UNCRC requirements" and to promote public awareness and understanding of the rights of the child. Ministers must also set out their plans until the end of the next 3 year period.
The Scottish Ministers introduced a Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA), which ensures that all Scottish Government portfolios consider how proposed new policies and legislation might impact on the rights and wellbeing of children and young people. The need to seek the views of children and young people is a key requirement of the CRWIA.
The Action Plan sets out Scottish Ministers' plans for taking forward children's rights in line with the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (2014 Act) and focuses on plans for taking forward children's rights from 15 June 2018 until June 2021. The aim of the Action Plan is that it will be a key vehicle for delivering wider, strategic actions intended to support the taking forward of the UNCRC principles.
This consultation promises to inform the policy development and decision-making process, focusing on the content and format of the Action Plan that Scottish Ministers are required to lay before the Scottish Parliament in line with the duties in Part 1 of the 2014 Act. Members of the public were invited to respond to the consultation via Citizens Space and SurveyMonkey. The consultation period ran from 2nd July 2018 to 26 September 2018. The consultation produced 114 responses via Citizen Space and 403 responses via SurveyMonkey. Respondents were invited to complete a mix of closed questions and open-ended questions. The consultation questions were as follows:
Question 1: Do you agree that the Action Plan should include:
i. Identified overarching strategic actions intended to secure transformational change in how children and young people experience their rights
ii. A summary of specific initiatives being taken forward across all Scottish Government portfolios that captures what we will do in the next three years to secure better or further effect of the UNCRC principles.
iii. A number of key policy specific actions identified through the consultation process that are not currently being taken forward through other Scottish Government initiatives.
iv. Q1: Where you answered 'No' to any of the above questions – please provide your reasons why you did not agree.
Question 2: Do you agree that the four proposed overarching strategic actions are appropriate and will help to take forward the principles of the UNCRC?
i. Development of a dynamic Participation Framework for Children and Young People.
ii. Ambitious delivery, through co-production, of the 3-year children's rights awareness programme.
iii. Progressing the comprehensive audit on the most effective and practical way to further embed the principles of the UNCRC into policy, practice and legislation, including the option of full incorporation into domestic law.
iv. Evaluation of the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA).
Question 3: Are there ways in which the proposed strategic actions listed above could be further strengthened? Please specify.
Question 4: Are there additional or alternative strategic actions that the Scottish Ministers should consider? Please specify.
Question 5: Are there any specific actions - not currently being progressed within a wider Scottish Government action plan, framework or other initiative - that should be considered for inclusion within the Action Plan?
2. Research objectives
The research had two aims:
i. Analyse written responses to the Scottish Government's Rights and Participation team's external consultation responses on Progressing Children's Rights in Scotland. Set out key themes that emerge from the responses, highlighting trends in responses, level of consensus, and drawing out any differences (where relevant) by respondents (e.g. individuals or organisations)
ii. Synthesise findings from responses into a written report, including an overview and discussion of main themes that emerge
Kantar Public conducted a robust and systematic analysis of the consultation responses.
The first stage of analysis was to review the consultation responses received to understand the content and composition of the responses before developing the analysis framework. This involved reviewing responses to both open and closed questions. The second stage used a content analysis method known as framework analysis to analyse the open-ended question responses. After reviewing the consultation responses and familiarising ourselves with the data, the research team created an analysis framework to capture both anticipated and new themes. The research team tested and refined the analysis framework to avoid duplication and used the final version of the framework to synthesise the consultation responses.
Following synthesis of the responses and further analysis, the research team held an analysis brainstorm to interrogate emerging findings and identify key themes and patterns from across the data.
4. Reading this report
There are four key considerations to keep in mind when reading this report. Where relevant, we do distinguish between individual views and responses from organisations. The consultation format did not require respondents to submit demographic details, which limited our ability to conduct sub-group analysis. It is not possible to distinguish between respondents who would be classified as children, young people or adults – as this information was not collected as part of the consultation exercise.
It is important to note responses came from individuals and organisations representing both local and national perspectives. Responses ranged from general to specialist, with some responses very narrowly focused on a specific issue or area of interest.
The absence of an issue or sub-group does not mean it is not important or within scope for this consultation, but rather that it was not submitted by those that took part in the public consultation. The report findings are not exhaustive and do not include every view shared in the consultation. Using rigorous and systematic analysis methods in line with professional standards and guidelines, the research team has made judgements about the main issues raised in consultation responses. This report presents the results of this synthesis and analysis, and it describes the most prominent themes in the data. The findings are thus reflective of the view and experiences of people who responded to the consultation, rather than the public.
Throughout the report, verbatim quotes (appearing in italics), charts and examples are used to illustrate findings. As these are taken from the consultation responses, they should be taken as indicative of the responses submitted rather than representative of the views and practices across the population of Scotland.