The impact of children and young people's participation on policy making

A report commissioned by the Scottish Government to explore the impact children and young people’s participation has had on policy-making in Scotland.

3. Overview of case studies

Case study 1: Equally Safe

Young adults lead a consultation event to inform the Equally Safe delivery plan


The Equally Safe strategy aims to eradicate violence against women and girls. The Scottish Government's initial strategy was published in 2014 and has since been refreshed in 2016. A public consultation on the draft delivery plan to support the strategy's implementation has recently closed.

The project sought to engage children and young people with experience of domestic violence to work with key decision makers to co-produce an approach that would support those children and young people who had experienced domestic abuse. There were various stages of engagement with children and young people throughout the Equally Safe project. The initial policy work stemmed from the Scottish Government but Centre for Research on Families and Relationships ( CRFR) subsequently took a key role. CRFR worked with a group of eight young people, all aged 18+.

The project received funding from the Scottish Government, with CRFR also receiving matched funds from The Economic and Social Research Council ( ERSC) impact acceleration fund.

Case Study 2: Perth and Kinross SNAP Innovation

Young people discuss their human rights


The Scottish National Action Plan ( SNAP) Innovation project was a mechanism for informing citizens about human rights and to gain an understanding of their knowledge in the area. The Scottish Human Rights Commission ( SHRC) had a key role in this work, with the support of the Scottish Government.

The 2015 Perth and Kinross engagement event engaged with approximately 10 young people through the Perth and Kinross YMCA, alongside other members of the community and members of staff from the Scottish Human Rights Council and Perth and Kinross Council.

Perth and Kinross Council accessed funding for the SNAP Innovation pilot scheme through the Scottish Government and the SHRC to deliver the engagement events.

Case study 3: Proposed police powers to stop and search children and young people for alcohol

Young people influence Scottish Government decision not to introduce new police powers


In 2015, the Scottish Government consulted on proposed new police powers to stop and search young people for alcohol. Due to the impact of the potential new power on children and young people, consultation with those under 18 formed a significant part of the process. The engagement with children and young people in turn fed into the code of practice on stop and search, outlining how and when it should be used.

A variety of stakeholder organisations conducted engagement work with over 50 young people on behalf of the Scottish Government. This included commissioning Scottish Youth Parliament and Children's Parliament to host engagement events, with other organisations such as Children in Scotland organising additional engagement work with young people.

The Scottish Government actively commissioned engagement work from the third sector to feed into the consultation process. However, this was not always sufficient and organisations used core staff time to cover some costs.

Case study 4: Renfrewshire Champions' Board

Care experienced young people meet regularly with their corporate parents to discuss and influence council policy and practice


The Renfrewshire Champions' Board project is a partnership between Renfrewshire Council and WhoCares? Scotland and provides care-experienced young people within Renfrewshire the opportunity to interact with corporate parents and influence council policy.

The board has had a stable core of around eight young people and is currently going through some expansions to widen its reach and ensure the voices of more care-experienced young people are heard.

The Champions' Board has been in operation for over five years and has run continuously since its inception. It was influenced by a successful model from Dundee where a similar partnership had been formed between Dundee City Council and WhoCares? Scotland.

Renfrewshire Council has, until recently, been the sole funder of the Champions' Board. However, additional funding has been received from the Life Changes Trust to support its work. This is not expected to cause any issues of sustainability for the Champions' Board as it sits within the Council's Children's Services strategic plan.

Case study 5: UNCRC Reporting

Young people lead the UN engagement with children and young people as part of the periodic review of the UK's implementation of the UNCRC


Every state that has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC) is required to report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on how it is fulfilling its obligations. These periodic reviews are expected to happen every five years.

As part of the fifth periodic review of the UK, the Vice-chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Amal Aldoseri, visited Scotland in 2015. The focus of this visit was to listen to the voices and experiences of children and young people on the implementation of child rights in Scotland.

The visit was hosted by the Scottish Youth Parliament ( SYP), with support from the Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland ( CYPCS) and Together, and involved touring various sites across Scotland. Certain priority areas in relation to children's rights had been identified prior to the arrival of the UN representative through a survey of Together's members that informed the decisions about these sites.

Two representatives from SYP then reported to the UN committee as part of the reporting stage. This case study takes into account both aspects of the engagement work.

This project was developed and taken forward independently of the Scottish Government. SYP, CYPCS and Together funded the engagement work entirely out of staff time. The organisations at individual sites also self-funded their involvement in the project.

Case study 6: Young Edinburgh Action

Young people worked with Edinburgh City Council and Centre for Research on Families and Relationships on improving young people's experience of Sex Education across the city


Young Edinburgh Action ( YEA) is a wide-ranging project that engages children and young people in a variety of different action research groups. The Better Sex Education group focused on the delivery of sex education in Edinburgh schools and looked to give young people a voice on the issue. About 200 young people were involved in a topic prioritisation event from which 15 young people aged 14-17 were subsequently involved in the action research project.

The project started within Edinburgh City Council and had some input from Centre for Research on Families and Relationships ( CRFR). For this case study a small focus group was conducted with the young people who were involved and their quotes and views have been used alongside those of the organisations involved in the project.

Young Edinburgh Action sits within Edinburgh City Council and as such is a self-funded programme by the council.


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