Process of Preparing A Children's Rights Report
Developing baseline information
99. In order to produce Children's Rights Reports, public authorities should consider how they will establish appropriate and measurable baseline data on meaningful outcomes that will inform the reports.
100. The importance of collecting baseline information is highlighted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which recommends that there is "collection of sufficient and reliable data on children, disaggregated to enable identification of discrimination and/or disparities in the realisation of rights".
101. The duty under Part 1 of the Act applies to reporting. However, it is unlikely that this duty can be fulfilled without consideration of wider public authority responsibilities in relation to planning, systematic collection of baseline information and monitoring. It is, therefore, recommended that the processes relating to gathering information for children's rights reporting are aligned with other existing processes where possible, particularly with respect to the duties under Part 3. This will assist in evidencing change, and support public authorities in considering how to report on children's rights. It will also avoid duplication of activities and promote better integration between different processes and duties.
102. Baseline information, evidence and data are likely to be readily available through existing sources within the public authority or through other authorities. In some areas of children's rights, additional evidence might require to be gathered.
103. Public authorities are encouraged to consider the following in collecting evidence:
- the number of children and young people affected by specific areas of children's rights that fall within the responsibility of the public authority, by their age, gender, ethnicity, disability, and deprivation levels;
- whether evidence exists for all groups of children and young people;
- the views and experiences of children and young people in the areas being considered;
- information collected by other relevant agencies or services;
- whether specific questions can be added to broad public consultations, and
- whether commissioning and undertaking additional evidence collection is necessary where there may be significant gaps.
Consultation and engagement
104. Public authorities may wish to consider how they will undertake consultation and engagement exercises. This should include the staff of public authorities as well as other stakeholders including other authorities, third sector organisations and wider civic society as well as children and young people and parents and carers. This engagement could assist in establishing benchmarking processes and baseline information. It could also help in beginning to identify local priorities and particular areas or issues of concern.
105. Establishing consultation and engagement processes at an early stage of preparing Children's Rights Reports is likely to be beneficial in gaining the support and expertise of stakeholders and in gathering evidence and baseline information.
106. National organisations which are public authorities under the Act should consider the most appropriate way to report according to their duties and responsibilities. It is suggested that a national public authority should report as a national organisation, contributing to and taking account of local reports where they provide a service in that area.
Involving children and young people in preparing Children's Rights Reports
107. The participation of children and young people in all decisions that affect them and in the processes, systems and services that they access is an underpinning principle of the UNCRC, specifically emphasised in Article 12 (a child's right to be heard). It is a commitment that the Scottish Government has provided leadership for through its approach to policy making and implementation. Public authorities have also demonstrated their commitment to the involvement of children and young people through their support for structures and mechanisms that enable children and young people to participate.
108. The commitment to involving children and young people is also highlighted in other parts of the Act and associated guidance (e.g. Part 3 on Children's Services Plans). It is endorsed by GIRFEC which aims to ensure that all children and young people are supported as they grow and develop into
successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens and that children and young people have a voice, are involved in decisions that affect them and are respected.
109. Children's Rights Reports should engage with children and young people in line with a rights-based approach. This means that public authorities are expected to consider at an early stage how children and young people will be meaningfully involved, taking account of diverse experiences, views and circumstances. Approaches should be inclusive so that children and young people regardless of age, disability, communication needs and circumstances can take part (see also Appendix 4).
110. Many authorities will already have the existing structures to support the engagement of children and young people e.g. local youth councils, pupil councils, young people-led organisations, young people's committees and other formal or informal structures. In addition, third sector organisations also have extensive experience in supporting the participation of children and young people. These structures and organisations can help public authorities in ensuring children and young people contribute to, and inform, children's rights reporting.
Informing children, families, communities and practitioners
111. The 3 year reports on children's rights will provide a valuable resource for public authorities and for the communities they serve including children and young people, parents and carers, practitioners, other authorities, third sector organisations and wider civic society.
112. In order to support this process, public authorities may wish to develop further specific information on the new duty on public authorities under Part 1 of the Act at the local level to support wider understanding of the operation of the new provisions among children and young people, families, communities and practitioners.
113. As well as determining timescales for the collection and analysis of data ahead of publication of the report, authorities will need to have in place robust governance and accountability processes in terms of both demonstrating their role as duty bearers in relation to children's rights, and contributing to children's rights reporting. Public authorities should ensure that their staff have the opportunity to be informed about, understand and can demonstrate their role as duty bearers in relation to children's rights.
Training and professional development
114. Governance responsibilities may require training and/or professional development. Public authorities may have post-holders with expertise in children's rights, participation or support to children and young people (e.g. Children's Rights Officers or other rights-focused posts) who can provide organisational expertise to support the development of Children's Rights Reports.
115. The Common Core describes the skills, knowledge, understanding and values that everyone should have if they work with children, young people and families. It is an approach that works through the existing range of services that support children and young people, particularly the universal services of health and education, building on what practitioners and families recognise as the good practice that already exists in how those services are delivered.
116. The Common Core skills, knowledge and understanding are explicitly cross- referenced to the guiding principles of the UNCRC (non-discrimination; best interests of the child; right to survival and development and respect for the views of the child). This approach emphasises that observing and promoting the UNCRC need not be complicated and is fundamental to work with children and young people. It suggests that the Common Core can be used as a starting point for self-reflection and discussion on how to strengthen the use of UNCRC principles. It is, therefore, a useful resource for public authorities to support the development of Children's Rights Reports.
117. Public authorities may wish to undertake an assessment of what training and professional development is currently in place to support their role as duty bearers for children's rights. They may then wish to consider what training and professional development in children's rights should be made available to support staff and facilitate the development of the reports.
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