United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child implementation: introductory guidance

Non-statutory guidance developed in partnership with public authorities and the third sector, introducing key concepts within the UNCRC and links with further resources for embedding a children’s rights-based approach in public services.

Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments

The Scottish Government's Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) is a key tool that those engaging with, or who make decisions which may impact upon, children can use to support a child rights-based approach.

The CRWIA is a purpose built policy and legislation impact assessment (IA) designed for use by Scottish Government, public bodies and services with an impact on children and young people's wellbeing; however, it can be used by anyone including those commissioned to deliver public services, and the third sector.

CRWIAs use two frameworks in the assessment. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is used for assessing impact. The child wellbeing indicators are used to measure impact. The CRWIA covers individual children and groups of children up to the age of 18 and has been developed based on the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA). The use of CRWIAs also encourages the participation of children and young people in decision-making. It is intended to help us champion the interests of children, as well as challenge us to think about what more we can do to place children and young people at the centre of our policies.

Why do we need CRWIAs?

The reach of the UNCRC is far wider than Equalities legislation although some categories of individuals may be covered by both, for example those with protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.

The UNCRC considers all individual children or groups of children, for example by age band or setting, or those who are eligible for special protection or assistance, e.g. pre-school children, children with additional support needs, children in hospital, children in rural areas, looked after children (children in care), young people who offend, children affected by violence, drugs or alcohol, poverty or deprivation, homelessness, victims of abuse or exploitation (trafficking, economic or sexual), child asylum-seekers or refugees.

CRWIAs should also consider the potential impacts on children in different groups and in a range of different situations.

Support to undertake a CRWIA

Scottish Government has developed guidance for the preparation of CRWIAs which includes information on the following:

  • When to use a CRWIA
  • Benefits of using a CRWIA
  • The three-stage CRWIA process
  • Publishing a CRWIA
  • Involving others in your CRWIA

Although originally produced for internal use by the Scottish Government, it is also suitable for use by public authorities, those commissioned to deliver public services and third sector organisations. It sets out the steps that can be taken to provide evidence that proper consideration has been given to the impact that a policy or measure will have on children and young people up to the age of 18. Find out more about children's rights and the CRWIA on the SG website.

Examples of CRWIAs

The following are examples of when undertaking a CRWIA supported rights respecting decision-making and practice:

CRWIA for Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility (2019)

The CRWIA on Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility, published in March 2016, recommended that direct consultation with children and young people take place as part of the development of the policy. Throughout June and July 2016, a series of events were held with various groups of children and young people across Scotland including those who would be affected by the change as well as those who have had negatives experiences from contact with the criminal justice system from an early age – as perpetrators and as victims. This involvement encouraged Scottish Government Justice officials to work with the Children's Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament to consult with children and young people on the next area of policy they were considering – stop and search powers – with officials present at those consultation sessions.

CRWIA for Stop and Search Code of Practice (Appointed Day) (Scotland) Regulations 2017:

Another example of how considering children's rights ensured better decision-making is the Stop and Search Code of Practice (Appointed Day) (Scotland) Regulations 2017. Following public consultation and discussions with stakeholders, including children and young people's organisations, which was taken into consideration by the CRWIA, Scottish Government officials identified a need to include a separate section dealing exclusively with children and young people within the Stop and Search Code of Practice. This was subsequently discussed by Independent Advisory Group members. A separate section has been incorporated in the final version of the Code (chapter 7).


Email: UNCRCIncorporation@gov.scot

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