1. Key findings
Children in Scotland was commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore the nature and type of impact children and young people's participation has had on national and local policy making in Scotland. We are committed to ensuring that children and young people ( CYP) have a say in all matters that affect them, in accordance with their rights as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Over recent years we have worked with diverse Scottish Government directorates and teams to support children and young people's engagement in policy making.
The research conducted for this project identified that children and young people are engaged in policy making in Scotland in a variety of areas. By using a case study approach, we were able to look in depth at children and young people's engagement in six different policy areas: police powers; child rights; domestic violence; children's hearings; sex education; and human rights.
We found that organisations delivering engagement work use a variety of methods to support the involvement of children and young people. These include utilising creative methods such as drama and art to support young people to participate and be heard, roundtables bringing decision makers and young people together and young people leading on research.
The six case studies revealed that children and young people have influenced policy across the country. Their input contributed to policy decisions relating to police powers. They have been instrumental in the creation of a new health improvement post. And they have ensured that children's hearings better meet the needs of those in Renfrewshire.
However, the impact of the case studies could still have been greater. More meaningful ongoing engagement would have supported children and young people to talk directly to decision makers about the issues that mattered to them. More funding would have allowed for more preparation and greater depth of participation - this could have supported the involvement of younger children and other seldom heard groups.
There also must be far better feedback from policy makers to children and young people, so they know how their contributions have made a difference.