Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy

This is the first Scottish Strategy which focuses on pregnancy and parenthood in young people.

Strand 1: Strong leadership and accountability

Improved service co-ordination, informed by local data, identifying the needs of young people and greater partnership working across agencies will contribute to local services being developed in a more comprehensive and integrated way and be more responsive to what young people need and want. But this will require clear leadership and accountability.

Local Leadership

Evaluation of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy in England showed that strong, high-level, leadership at the local and national level is essential if progress is to be made24,12. It is vital that there is an accountable person in each Community Planning Partnership (CPP) (action 1.4) who can encourage, enable and support local multi-agency partners in delivery as well as monitoring and reacting to performance management outcomes.

National Leadership

The Scottish Government will appoint a National Lead (action 1.3) for the Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy. This new role will provide strategic leadership in its implementation. The Lead will have policy experience; will be professionally qualified and engaged with the evidence around teenage pregnancy and young parenthood; and will be able to provide the national link across Scotland as well as providing advice and updates to Ministers on progress. The National Lead will be responsible for the overall delivery of the Strategy, engaging with local and national organisations, ensuring the consideration of up to date evidence and policy, monitoring and reacting to progress and sharing of experience and best practice across Scotland. The National Lead will also provide an annual update to the Scottish Parliament on progress against the strategy. This update will also be an opportunity to consider any new or updated evidence (academic or practice based), ensuring this Strategy is continually up to date and relevant.

Local Planning

Part 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 places a duty on each local authority and the relevant health board to jointly prepare a Children's Services Plan for the area of the local authority. These three year plans should be prepared with a view to achieving the aims of providing children's services and related services in the area, in a way which best safeguards, supports or promotes the wellbeing of children; ensures that any action to meet needs is taken at the earliest appropriate time and that, where appropriate, action is taken to prevent needs arising; is most integrated from the point of view of the recipients; and constitutes the best use of available resources. Such plans should be updated to reflect this Strategy, and local needs assessments should be undertaken, reviewed or updated (action 1.1).


In order to ensure that the Children's Service Plans are meeting the needs of the young people they should be informed by "live", local data (action 1.5). The use of local data is essential for understanding local circumstance in relation to pregnancy and parenthood in young people. Where appropriate, agencies should share data and assess risk as part of a joined-up Strategy, particularly to understand the needs of the local population i.e. those potentially at risk of a pregnancy at a young age, and young parents.. Through the development of the strategy it is apparent that there is limited evidence around some particular groups of young parents such as young fathers, young parents with disabilities and young parents who have been in the care system. If, despite a revision of local needs assessments and local data, there still remains a gap research should be undertaken to examine in more details the needs of these groups (action 1.6).

Workforce Development

Workforce development activities across the range of different services working with young people will enable staff to have the appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills to understand the needs of young people and to work effectively with them. Multi-agency training and education of the workforce will be essential in order to enable professionals to respond to all aspects of pregnancy and parenthood in young people, and this should be supported by a national resource on the evidence that is available (action 1.2). Such training should include evidence around pregnancy in young people; should relate to local data and circumstance; should acknowledge the local needs and views of young people; and should acknowledge local data sharing and safeguarding procedures.

Overview of Actions:

Strong Leadership and accountability

Links to short term outcome: Improve understanding of the need of young people


Local needs assessments for young people should be reviewed and updated to reflect the actions in the Strategy.

Community Planning Partnerships


A national training resource produced based on the evidence around young people at risk of pregnancy, linking with wider issues and practical actions for supporting young people.

Scottish Government


A National Lead will be appointed to provide national leadership and to help drive implementation of the Strategy.

Scottish Government


Assign an accountable person to provide leadership and coordination for the Strategy.

Community Planning Partnerships


Action plans are in place to address the outcomes of the needs assessment and pathways in place that take account of data collecting protocols and data sharing practices.

Community Planning Partnerships


Assess and commission further research around particular groups of young parents (such as young fathers, young parents with disabilities and young parents who have experienced the care system) to examine in more detail what support they may require.

Scottish Government


Email: Ruth Johnston

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