Publication - Consultation paper

Future of civil partnership: consultation

Published: 28 Sep 2018

This consultation seeks views on the options for the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

Future of civil partnership: consultation
Annex J: Draft Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

Annex J: Draft Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

CRWIA front sheet

Policy/measure

A general description of the policy/measure

Consultation on the future of civil partnership

Project initiation document

Add link to the document

N/A

Initiating department

The responsible team or division. If this is a cross-cutting policy, name the team that has overall responsibility

Family Law, Justice Directorate, Scottish Government.

Policy aims

What the policy or measure is trying to achieve; what are the expected outcomes

The consultation will seek to identify views on options for the removal of the current discrimination that exists in the Civil Partnership Act 2004 in that it does not allow opposite sex couples to enter into civil partnerships.

Timetable

What is the time frame for a policy announcement/ consultation/ implementation?

The consultation will run from 28 September 2018 to 21 December 2018.

Date

 

Signature

 

CRWIA Stage 1

Screening - key questions

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

The consultation asks about options for civil partnership in the future. This is currently an option for same sex couples from the age of 16. A decision on the option that will be followed has not been taken.

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

The two options discussed in the consultation will directly affect the ability of young people to enter into civil partnership.

Other impacts will arise from either option in the context of family law matters such as parental responsibilities and rights.

Neither option is likely to have an impact on children or young people in the context of the implications for their wellbeing based on the family structure they grow up in.

Recent research indicates that " Stability is more important than family structure for children's well-being" (Mountney, K. (2011) Together and apart: supporting families through change, p1 and p11) and that family structure " did not seem clearly associated with social and emotional well-being, after allowing for other influences" (Sweeting, H. and Wight, D. (2014) Growing Up in Scotland: Family and school influences on children's social and emotional well-being, para. 4.9)

3. Are there particular groups of children and young people who are more likely to be affected than others?

Marriage and civil partnership are possible from 16 years old. Regardless of the option pursued, young people aged 16 and 17 years old will be affected.

If it is decided that no new civil partnerships are to be created from a certain date, young people within this age group who are gay or bisexual will be affected as the option to enter into this type of relationship rather than marry will no longer be available.

If it is decided that civil partnership is to be made available to opposite sex couples, young people within this age group who are heterosexual will be affected in that they will have the choice to marry or enter into a civil partnership.

The number of 16 and 17 year olds who marry or enter into a civil partnership is low. Statistics from NRS are shown below:

Marriages of under 18s - 2010 to 2016, Scotland

  Party 1 Party 2 Total
2010 8 37 45
2011 5 52 57
2012 4 53 57
2013 8 45 53
2014 8 45 53
2015 5 28 33
2016 5 17 22

Note. Prior to 2014 all party 1s would have been male and party 2s female. After 2014, they can be of either sex

Civil partnerships of under 18s - 2005 to 2016, Scotland

  Party 1 Party 2 Total
2005 0 0 0
2006 0 0 0
2007 1 0 1
2008 0 0 0
2009 0 0 0
2010 0 0 0
2011 0 0 0
2012 1 0 1
2013 0 0 0
2014 1 0 1
2015 0 0 0
2016 0 0 0

4. Who else have you involved in your deliberations?

The Scottish Government's Equality Unit has been involved.

5. Will this require a CRWIA?

Yes. The Scottish Government intends to produce and publish a CRWIA for any legislation it introduces into Parliament.

CRWIA Stage 2

Scoping - key questions

1. What children's rights are likely to be affected by the policy/measure?

List all relevant Articles of the UNCRC and Optional Protocols (see Annex 1). All UNCRC rights are underpinned by the four general principles: non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life; survival and development; and the right to have children's views given due weight.

Article 2.1.

States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

This article refers to "other status" of a child and his or her parents. This may be relevant as "other status" would include sexual orientation.

Article 18.1.

States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.

This may be relevant in the context of existing presumptions about parentage and existing provisions on parental responsibilities and rights that may apply based on the relationship of the parents of a child. This relates to children and parents who fall into the category of children in the context of the UNCRC because they are under 18 years old.

2. How will the policy/measure affect children's wellbeing as defined by the wellbeing indicators?

There seems to be no significant impact on children's wellbeing from either option, given that:

  • the evidence that stability is more important than family structure when children grow up;
  • the number of 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland who marry or enter a civil partnership is low.

3. How many children and young people are likely to be affected by the policy or measure?

List potential sources of official and other data, or note the need to locate this information. Are there different levels of impact for different groups of children?

Number of young people

NRS has published statistics on population in Scotland by age group at https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/population/population-estimates/mid-year-population-estimates/mid-2017. This shows that in 2017 there were 112,613 people aged 16 and 17 years old in Scotland.

As indicated above, the number of 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland who marry or enter a civil partnership is low.

4. What research evidence is available?

Preliminary identification of the research base for this policy/measure

As outlined elsewhere in this draft CRWIA.

5. Has there been any public or stakeholder consultations on the policy/measure?

Stakeholders include children and young people, parents/carers, children's workforce, NGOs

This draft CRWIA will be published as part of a public consultation on the future of civil partnership in Scotland.

6. Has there been any estimate of the resource implications of the policy/measure?

Capital costs, expenditure, recruitment and training costs for the workforce etc.

For the two options set out in the consultation, the follow costs have been estimated:

Option 1 (closure)

  • There are no significant costs or savings to this option, although in time there may be modest savings that would probably not be more than £100,000.

Option 2 (extension)

  • There would be one-off costs for NRS in relation to systems, new administrative requirements, and training of around £200,000.
  • There would be one-off training and familiarisation costs for local authorities of around £200,000.
  • There may be costs in relation to rights and responsibilities but this would largely depend on take up and whether opposite sex civil partners would have rights not available to cohabitants.

CRWIA Stage 3

Data Collection, Evidence Gathering, Involvement of/Consultation with Stakeholder Groups - key questions

1. What does the evidence tell you?

The evidence base may include demographic information, academic research, service monitoring/inspection reports, service evaluation reports, user surveys etc. Identify any gaps in the evidence base. In particular, look at what the evidence tells you about children and young people's views and experiences of the relevant service(s); and/or what it tells you about children and young people's views of the policy proposal.

There is little impact on children and young people which is different to the impact on people generally.

2. What further data or evidence is required?

Is the evidence up to date, robust and reliable, sufficiently relevant to what is being proposed, or do you need to commission new research?

There is no need for further research.

3. Has there been any consultation on the development of the proposal(s)?

Public or targeted consultation with children and young people, their parents/carers, the children's workforce - is there enough information on the views of the children and young people who will be affected by the policy/measure?

This draft CRWIA will form part of a public consultation.

4. Should children and young people be further involved in the development of this policy? Are there particular groups of children and young people whose views should be sought?

Specify how - outline the purpose, format, timetable and the questions you want to ask

There does not seem to be specific needs in this area.

5. Should other stakeholders and experts be further involved in the development of this policy?

Specify how - outline the purpose, format, timetable and the questions you want to ask

This draft CRWIA will form part of a public consultation

CRWIA Stage 4

Assessing the Impact and Presenting Options - key questions

1. What likely impact will the policy have on children's rights?

Negative/positive/neutral. For those assessed as having a negative impact, list options for modification or mitigation of the policy/measure, or suggested alternatives to the policy/measure

Neutral

2 How will the policy/measure contribute to the wellbeing of children and young people?

Provide any additional assessment using the wellbeing indicators framework.

No obvious impact

3. Are some children and young people more likely to be affected than others?

Which groups of children and young people will be affected by the policy/measure? Are there competing interests between different groups of children and young people, or between children and other groups? List options for modification or mitigation of the proposal.

Young people aged 16 or 17 who wish to enter into a civil partnership could be affected. However, the number of people aged 16 or 17 who marry or enter a civil partnership in Scotland is low.

4. Resource implications of policy modification or mitigation

If recommending any changes to the policy/measure, include estimates of cost implications

Not applicable.

5. How does the policy/measure promote or impede the implementation of the UNCRC and other relevant human rights standards?

This will inform Scottish Ministers' duty to report to Parliament on children's rights under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

No impact.


Contact

Sarah.Meanley@gov.scot