Guidance on Part 1, Section 2 (Duties of Public Authorities in relation to the UNCRC) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

Guidance for public authorities about how they should fulfil the duties set out in Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Interpretation of Frequently Used Terms

20. Throughout this document the following terms will be used:

The Act

21. This refers to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.


22. For the purposes of the duties outlined in this guidance, an individual is a child from birth until their 18th birthday. In this guidance, the Scottish Government's preferred term of "children and young people" is used. It is important to note that Part 4 use the term a "young person" in a manner specific to that part of the Act.


23. This refers to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is the core international treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to which all children are entitled. The 54 Articles of the Convention cover all aspects of a child's life.

Optional Protocol

24. An Optional Protocol is an additional UN legal mechanism that complements and adds to an international treaty after its original adoption[5]. The UK Government has ratified two of the three Optional Protocols to the UNCRC. Within the Act, the first Optional Protocol is on the involvement of children in armed conflict[6] and the second Optional Protocol is on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography[7].

UNCRC requirements

25. "UNCRC requirements" in Part 1 (section 4) of the Act means the rights and obligations set out in Part 1 of the UNCRC (Articles 1 to 41) and Articles 1 to 6(1), 6(3) and 7 of the first Optional Protocol[8] and Articles 1 to 10 of the second Optional Protocol[9]. There is no duty on public authorities under the Act to report on compliance with matters which fall outwith this definition.

Children's Rights Reports

26. This refers to the reports that public authorities have a duty to prepare under Part 1 (section 2) of the Act.

Children's Services Plan

27. This refers to the document which must be prepared every 3 years by a local authority and the relevant health board, under the terms of Part 3 (Children's Services Planning) of the Act.

Rights-based approach

28. This refers to mainstreaming human rights (such as the UNCRC) across services, policy and practice.

Child rights-based approach

29. This approach uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as the framework for working with and for children and young people. It has the goal of promoting and securing the full range of children's human rights and places children and young people at the centre of policy development, and the design, delivery and evaluation of services.

Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment

30. The Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) is a policy improvement approach which has been developed by the Scottish Government in order to assess the possible impact of its proposed policies and legislation with respect to the Articles of the UNCRC and children's wellbeing. It supports the Scottish Government in fulfilling the existing obligations under the UNCRC and the new Ministerial duties under Part 1 (section 1) of the Act. Public authorities might find the CRWIA approach useful for meeting their Part 1 duties.

Secure better or further effect

31. The Act requires public authorities to produce reports on what steps they have taken to "secure better or further effect" within their areas of responsibility of the UNCRC requirements. The phrase "secure better or further effect" is not defined in the Act so these words take their ordinary meaning. In considering what steps they have taken, public authorities may find it helpful to refer to the questions and examples of reflective statements contained within the "Framework for Children's Rights Reporting". For example do you "proactively consider children's rights in service planning, engaging with and undertaking consultation with relevant stakeholders (including children and young people and parents/carers)"?; do you ensure that "information materials are available in a range of formats and in specific settings in order to meet the needs of individual children and young people" and continually assess these requirements? These kinds of activities could help evidence an overall approach to fulfilling your duties in relation to the UNCRC requirements under Part 1. Public authorities may wish to use other examples relating to the framework or may use other rights based approaches in their reporting.



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