Publication - Advice and guidance

Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment guidance

Published: 19 Nov 2021

Guidance on how to complete a Children's Rights and Wellbeing Screening Sheet and Impact Assessment (CRWIA). Includes links to useful resources for gathering evidence, involving children and young people in the development of your policy/measure and ensuring decisions are necessary and proportionate.

Children's Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment guidance
Screening Sheet

Screening Sheet

The Screening exercise is a preliminary check on the proposed policy/measure to help determine whether a CRWIA is required, and provide a record of that decision. The CRWIA screening asks for basic information about the policy/measure, but then asks you to consider how it will affect children and young people specifically. If the CRWIA goes no further than this stage, the completed Screening form is the document that you publish on the Scottish Government website. (SG Officials only)

Decisions about whether or not to do a CRWIA should take place as early as possible in the formation of the policy/measure and should involve the Deputy Director/Counter Signing Officer.

This is the best way of ensuring that children's rights and wellbeing influence the way in which the policy develops, and that Part 1 Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 duties on Scottish Ministers are met.

Who takes part in the Screening exercise depends on the complexity and potential reach of the policy/measure under consideration. It is helpful to include all policy leads who may have an interest.

The Screening Sheet asks you to provide the following:

1. Brief summary of policy/measure

This section is looking for you to briefly describe the policy/measure aims and clarify what National Outcomes in the National Performance Framework it will contribute to.

2. What aspects of the policy/measure will affect children and young people up to age 18?

This section is looking for you to consider how your policy/measure will affect children and young people specifically.

3. What likely impact, direct or indirect, will the policy/measure have on children and young people?

Some policies/measures will have a direct and obvious impact on children and young people. However, where a policy/measure may have been developed without children as the main priority, a CRWIA can be of particular value and importance to assess any indirect impact.

Case example: Indirect impact on children and young people.

The Landlord Registration Statutory Guidance for Local Authorities CRWIA identifies two groups of children who are affected by sub-standard housing and rogue landlords in the private rented sector (PRS). Those directly affected are the young people renting in the PRS, the proportion of which has risen dramatically in recent years and is projected to increase further – although it is not possible to give precise figures for those aged 16 to 18. Those indirectly affected are children in families, an estimated quarter of PRS households, or around 90,000 in 2015. They are considered to be indirectly affected because they are not the named tenant or head of household.

4. Which groups of children and young people will be affected?

This can refer to any grouping of children or young people by a shared characteristic – not just age or setting but the circumstances in which they are living.

Case example: Groups of children and young people who will be affected

The Human Tissue (Authorisation) (Scotland) Bill provides for a soft opt-out system (a presumption of consent) of organ and tissue donation for adults and makes some changes to the process for authorising donation by children. The CRWIA describes how, as the legislation was developed, different approaches were proposed for different age bands: 16 to 18 year olds were to be treated as adults; children 12 to 16 who have capacity will be able to make their own decisions to opt out; children under 12 who have expressed their unwillingness to donate must have those views taken into account. In addition to that disaggregation by age, particular consideration was sought and given to the views of looked after children, who were not keen on the local authority having the power to authorise organ donation. The 'groups' in the CRWIA and subsequent policy were identified by age band, by capacity, and by looked after status.

The impact assessment process should be proportionate - not every proposed policy that will affect children and young people will automatically require a CRWIA that goes beyond the Screening stage.

It is worth considering how significant the policy/measure is as well as the anticipated level of impact on children and young people in Scotland. Though there is no absolute threshold or test for what is 'significant' enough to trigger a CRWIA, you should take into account:

  • The vulnerability of the groups affected by the policy/measure;
  • The numbers of children and young people affected by the policy/measure;
  • The consequences of the policy/measure for those who work with these children;
  • Whether a high level of resources will be committed to the policy/measure;
  • How high profile the policy/measure is;
  • Whether this is a major new direction for policy;
  • Whether the policy/measure will be subject to consultation
  • Whether the policy/measure is in legislation;
  • Whether there is a lack of evidence on the way in which the policy/measure affects or could affect children and young people, including evidence from children themselves;
  • Whether it is difficult to anticipate what the impact will be on children and young people.

If any of these are relevant, then you should do a CRWIA.

If the subject of the CRWIA is purely technical and will not include any exploration and assessment of the detail of a policy, the CRWIA will not provide any policy analysis so may not be required.

It is up to policy leads to decide when it is advisable to do one. The Screening form is there to enable you to provide evidence of the thinking behind your decision.

Please err on the side of caution if you are unsure. A significant indirect impact on a specific group of children and young people would justify a CRWIA.

Following the Screening exercise, if you can demonstrate that your policy/measure will not have a significant impact on children and young people, then you do not need to carry out a CRWIA that goes beyond the Screening stage. However, that decision must be authorised, on record and the Screening form published on the Scottish Government website (Scottish Government only).