Progressing the human rights of children in Scotland: 2018-2021 action plan
Sets out our ambition to deliver the building blocks and the foundations that help children and young people to experience their rights.
Key Forward Actions and Strategic Plans
Responsibility for taking forward children’s rights is mainstreamed across portfolios within the Scottish Government. The principles of the UNCRC are, therefore, taken into account in the development of relevant Scottish Government policies, strategic frameworks, action plans and other key documents, covering all areas relating to the health and wellbeing of children and families.
The progress and actions that Ministers intend to achieve in relation to the rights of the child between 2018 and 2021 are, therefore, set out within a wide range of individual policy documents and action plans. A non-exhaustive list of summaries and links to these key documents and policy initiatives is provided below. These are organised under the cluster groups used in reporting to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Where relevant, monitoring and reporting arrangements for individual initiatives are also included.
General Measure of Implementation
National Performance Framework (June 2018)
The revised National Performance Framework was developed together with the people of Scotland to reflect our values as a nation and the aspirations we hold for our future. It has also been formulated to link with and promote our commitment to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals which are aimed at improving wellbeing across the world. The high level outcomes for the Framework include: “We respect, protect and fulfil human rights and live free from discrimination” and “We grow up loved, safe and respected so that we realise our full potential”.
First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership
The First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership operates independently from the Scottish Government. It was set up by the First Minister to make recommendations on how Scotland can continue to lead by example in the field of human rights, including economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. The Group published it’s recommendations on the 10th December 2018.
Children’s Rights Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIA) Guidance (2015)
Scottish Government guidance on when and how best to use the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA) was first published in 2015 for Scottish Government officials, alongside draft templates and a training tool. The guidance has been shared more widely with public bodies. The CRWIA guidance and training tool are in the process of being updated.
Annual Equality Budget Statement
An annual Equality Budget statement is published each year alongside the Scottish Government Draft Budget, to ensure that we understand and reflect the impacts of policy and spending decisions on equality outcomes. The Equality Statement is developed with the involvement of an expert advisory group and includes a specific section on the impact of budget decisions for children and young people.
Global Citizenship: Scotland’s International Development Strategy (2016)
The Scottish Government’s refreshed International Development Strategy sets the direction for Scotland’s international activity to contribute to the fight against global poverty, inequality, injustice, and promotes sustainable development via the mechanism of the UN Global Goals. The Scottish Government is also committed to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals via the mechanisms of the National Performance Framework (NPF) in order to reduce inequality both domestically and internationally.
National Action Plan to Implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The Scottish Government is working with partners to develop a coordinated plan of action in Scotland to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). A national baseline assessment (NBA), which was published in October 2016, sets out how law, policy and practice in Scotland aligns with the UNGPs. Further engagement with stakeholders is helping to prioritise the NBA’s recommendations and will inform the drafting of an action plan.
Common Core of Skills, Knowledge & Understanding and Values for the ‘Children’s Workforce’ in Scotland (2012)
The Common Core describes the skills, knowledge and understanding, and values that everyone should have if they work with children, young people and their families, whether they are paid or unpaid. The skills, knowledge and understanding are explicitly cross-referenced to the guiding principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC)
Getting It Right For Every Child is Scotland’s national approach to improving outcomes and supporting the wellbeing of our children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people. Getting It Right For Every Child supports children and their families to work in partnership with the services that can help them.
Fairer Scotland Action Plan (2016)
This Fairer Scotland Action Plan is the overarching framework of the Scottish Government’s work on poverty and inequality in Scotland. It sets out actions that will help build a fairer and more prosperous country – one with low levels of poverty and inequality, genuine equality of opportunity, stronger life chances, and support for all those who need it. It is based on five ambitions for the period to 2030: a fairer Scotland for all; ending child poverty; a strong start for all young people; fairer working lives; and a thriving third age. The first progress report was published in November 2017, with a further progress report due to be published at the end of 2018.
Equality Outcomes and Mainstreaming Report 2017
The report provides an update on the Scottish Government’s progress in promoting equality across its activities and in delivering on the 2013 equality outcomes. It also sets new equality outcomes covering the period 2017-21. The two most relevant outcomes relate to: ensuring that children affected by domestic abuse are increasingly recognised and supported in the justice system; and, making progress in the educational experience of children whose success, according to the evidence, is hampered by having a protected characteristic. The document includes measurement tools for progress on each of the outcomes. An interim report on progress on delivering the outcomes set in 2017 will be published in April 2019, and a final report will be published in 2021.
Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-2030
The Race Equality Framework for Scotland sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality between 2016 and 2030. The first Goal within the document is for the establishment of an accountable approach to support and drive forward the implementation of the Framework.
A Fairer Scotland for All: Race Equality Action Plan 2017-21 (2017)
The Race Equality Action Plan outlines actions being taken over the course of the Parliament to make improvements in the lives and experiences of minority ethnic communities in Scotland as part of the 15 year Race Equality Framework. The Plan seeks to advance race equality, tackle racism and address the barriers that prevent people from minority ethnic communities from realising their potential. Section 8 of the Plan includes specific actions for Gypsy/Travellers. A progress report will be published in 2021.
Year of Young People 2018
Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, has provided an opportunity for generations to come together to celebrate our nation’s young people, to create a platform to give them a stronger voice on issues which affect their lives, showcase their ideas and talents, and ultimately, challenge the status quo and create a more positive perception of young people in society. The Scottish Government will ensure that the legacy of this successful Year continues beyond 2018.
Actions Agreed at the Cabinet Meeting with Children and Young People 28 February 2017 – Progress Report
In February 2018, the Scottish Government published a Report and a Children and Young People’s summary demonstrating progress in taking forward actions agreed at the first Cabinet Meeting with children and young people. This included a commitment that the Cabinet would meet with children and young people annually.
Actions agreed at the Second Annual Meeting of Cabinet Ministers with Children and Young People were published in March 2018. A Progress Report on these actions will be made available in 2019.
Rethinking Legal Aid An Independent Strategic Review (2018)
Rethinking Legal Aid: An Independent Strategic Review, commissioned by Scottish Ministers and chaired by Martyn Evans, was published in February 2018. It sets out an ambitious vision for publicly funded legal assistance in Scotland, through a citizen focused approach, including for children’s legal aid.
Civil Rights and Freedoms
The Scottish Government’s response to the Report by the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on the Use of Biometric Data was published in March 2018. The Scottish Government agreed with the Group’s recommendation for considering a different approach to children aged between 12 and 17 to ensure that their biometric data is taken, used and retained in a proportionate manner that reduces any unintended negative risks or consequences. This approach is consistent with wider Scottish policy approaches including Getting it Right for Every Child and the Whole System Approach for Children and Young People who Offend. Police Scotland have established a short life working group to develop the new policy; new investigative options; and the decision-making model required to progress this recommendation, in parallel with considerations arising from proposals to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Scotland. The Scottish Government will continue to engage with Police Scotland and the IAG to implement the recommendation.
Code of Practice on the use of Stop and Search (2017)
The Code of Practice, which was developed by the Independent Advisory Group on Stop and Search, came into force on 11 May 2017. Chapter 7 of the Code is targeted specifically at children and young people and sets out additional consideration for police officers on the conduct of searches in cases where a child or young person is involved. A separate guidance document – Stop and Search In Scotland: What you need to know – A guide for Children and Young People is published on the Scottish Government’s website: https://www.gov.scot/publications/stop-search-scotland-need-know-guide-children-young-people/.
Violence Against Children
Child Protection Improvement Programme Report and Child Protection Systems Review Report Recommendations (2017)
The Child Protection Improvement Programme report sets out 35 Actions covering children’s hearings, leadership and workforce development, inspections of children’s services, neglect, data and evidence, child sexual exploitation, child internet safety, and trafficking. Progress is being monitored through the National Child Protection Leadership Group.
Scotland’s National Action Plan to Prevent & Tackle Child Sexual Exploitation Update (2016)
The Update reported on progress made since the publication of the first National Action Plan in 2014 and outlined 44 actions to be taken between summer 2016 and 2019. The Scottish Government continues to work with the National Child Sexual Exploitation Group on the implementation of these actions.
National Action Plan on Internet Safety for Children and Young People (2017)
The Action Plan sets out specific actions under three broad aims – giving everybody the skills, knowledge and understanding to help children and young people stay safe online, inspiring safe and responsible use and behaviour online, and creating a safer online environment. A progress report will be published in 2019.
Protecting Scotland’s Children and Young People: It is Still Everyone’s Job (2017)
Report of the Systems Review Group
A Child Protection Systems Review Group was established with representation from a wide range of professionals at a national and local level, to look at the operation of the formal child protection system and to recommend what changes or improvements might be needed to these underpinning processes and structures in order to protect children and young people more effectively. The Systems Review report makes 12 recommendations, covering Initial and Significant Case Reviews, Child Protection Committees, the Child Protection Register, and matters of leadership, governance and accountability. The Scottish Government has accepted all of the recommendations made in the Report and progress is being monitored through the National Child Protection Leadership Group.
Protecting Children: Review of section 12 of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act 1937 and section 42 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 (2018)
The PfG 2017/18 included the commitment to consult on revising the criminal offence of abuse and neglect of children to ensure it reflects a modern understanding of such terms. A formal consultation on the proposed amendments took place during 2018. The Scottish Government’s response to the consultation is due to be published in early 2019.
Physical Punishment of Children
The Children (Equal Protection from Assault)(Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 6 September 2018. This is a member’s bill that would remove the existing defence of justifiable assault in relation to the physical punishment of children by parents or people in charge of or caring for children. The Scottish Government supports the removal of this defence, which will provide children with the same protection from physical assault as adults.
Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy (2017)
Scotland’s first Human Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s ambition to work with partners to make Scotland a more hostile place for human trafficking. The Strategy identifies the following areas for action: identify victims and support them to safety and recovery; identify perpetrators and disrupt their activity; and address the conditions, both local and global, that foster trafficking and exploitation. The First Annual Report on progress with the Strategy was published in June 2018.
Equally Safe, Scotland’s Strategy for Preventing and Eradicating Violence against Women and Girls (2016)
Equally Safe, Scotland’s Strategy for preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls, seeks to work with stakeholders, to prevent violence from occurring in the first place, build the capability and capacity of mainstream and specialist services to support survivors and those at risk, and strengthen the Justice response to victims and perpetrators. The Strategy was updated in March 2016 to correctly reflect the experiences and desired outcomes for children and young people who experience gender based violence.
Equally Safe – A Delivery Plan for Scotland’s Strategy to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (2017)
The Delivery Plan sets out the actions the Scottish Government, COSLA and partners will take to prevent and ultimately eradicate all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), including the impact for children and young people. The Delivery Plan includes a range of actions relevant to children and young people, including prevention within schools and ensuring more effective, trauma-informed support for children and young people affected by VAWG. Progress on the specific actions in the delivery plan will be reported annually.
Scotland’s National Action Plan to Prevent and Eradicate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) 2016-2020
The National Action Plan sets out an agreed range of actions and associated activities to be taken forward by the Scottish Government and its partners to prevent and ultimately eradicate FGM. Progress against actions from the National Action Plan is being monitored by a Multi-Agency Implementation Group. The FGM National Action Plan Year One report was published in October 2017.
Family Environment and Alternative Care
National Parenting Strategy (2012)
The National Parenting Strategy seeks to strengthen the support on offer to parents and make it easier for them to access this support. When we refer to parents, we mean anyone with a parenting role for children of all ages.
Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and Family Justice Modernisation Strategy
In May 2018, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on the Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 and the creation of a Family Justice Modernisation Strategy. The consultation covered a wide range of issues that affect children, including how best to obtain the views of the child in family cases, support for the child, the role of family members and how victims of domestic abuse can best be protected. The Scottish Government will introduce to Parliament a Family Law Bill to make changes to family law, in particular to further ensure that the child’s best interest are at the centre of any contact and residence cases. A Family Justice Modernisation Strategy outlining current and planned work to improve how family cases are dealt with will also be published.
Getting it Right for Looked After Children and Young People Strategy (2015)
The strategy sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities to improve the lives of looked after children and young people. The Strategy, which has relationships at its heart, has three priority areas of work: early engagement, early permanence and improving the quality of care. The Strategy proposed that different approaches would be required in monitoring and assessing progress on the priorities identified through the strategy.
Independent Care Review
In 2017, Scottish Ministers established an independent root and branch review of the care system for children and young people in Scotland, to help identify how to change the future of the care system for the better and to improve both the quality of life and outcomes of young people in care. The Review is due to conclude by 2020.
Realigning Children’s Services
Realigning Children’s Services is a programme involving a number of Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) and the Scottish Government, as well as children and families, which is working to make services better at meeting children’s needs and to meet those needs as quickly as possible. To do this, the programme collects data on wellbeing directly from children and parents, maps children’s services that are currently provided, and delivers a Development and Facilitation programme for CPPs.
National Review of Care Allowances (2018)
A National Review of Care Allowances for children living in foster care, kinship care and adoptive placements was carried out between November 2017 and August 2018. The Review Group’s final report, including 12 recommendations for Scottish Ministers and COSLA leaders, was published in September 2018.
National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland (2017)
The National Missing Persons Framework for Scotland sets out the roles and responsibilities of respective agencies, as well as key national objectives and supporting commitments to focus efforts on preventing people from going missing and limiting the harm associated when they do go missing. The Framework clarifies responsibilities and sets out a clear set of objectives and supporting commitments. It also includes an Implementation Plan and makes a commitment to review progress.
Support for Young Carers
Young carers can use the Carers’ charter to find out about their new rights introduced by the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 which took effect in April 2018. Alongside this, the Scottish Government will be co-ordinating development of a Carers Strategic Policy Statement to replace the previous carers strategy and young carers strategy (which ran to 2015).
Disability, Basic Health and Welfare
A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People: Our Delivery Plan to 2021 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2016)
The Delivery Plan has five long-term ambitions and 93 actions aimed at transforming the lives of disabled people in Scotland and ensuring that their human rights are realised. The actions include a range of measures relevant to children and young people and supporting the families with disabled children and young people. Progress is monitored through: the review process for the UK State Party in relation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Fairer Scotland progress report to be published in 2019; and the Mainstreaming Equality Report also due for publication in 2019.
The Scottish Strategy for Autism Outcomes and Priorities 2018-2021 (March 2018) and the Keys to Life strategy (to be published shortly)
These Strategies have been refreshed in 2018 to focus on specific priorities for the next three years to achieve the four strategic outcomes intended to ensure people with autism and learning disabilities live healthier lives, have choice and control over the services they use, and are supported to be independent and active citizens.
Supporting Disabled Children, Young People and their Families – Resource
The Scottish Government is in the final stages of developing an information resource to support disabled children, young people and their families. This will provide information, based on the lived experiences of disabled children, young people, and their families across three pillars: rights and information, accessibility of support, and transitions. A public consultation on the draft resource closed in September 2018. The final resource will be developed into a website which will also be accessible through mobile devices.
See Hear (2014)
This strategic framework aims to meet the needs of people with a sensory impairment in Scotland and commits to ensuring that children, young people and adults have the same access to opportunities and public services as everyone else. The strategy is being implemented through local partnerships of statutory and third sector organisations.
British Sign Language National Plan 2017-2023 (2017)
The British Sign Language National Plan 2017-2021 sets out the ambition to make Scotland the best place in the world for BSL users to live, work and visit. The plan is framed around ten long-term goals and contains a number of actions relevant to children and their families. A progress report and a further set of actions will be published in 2020.
Part 4 of the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 – Provision of Communication Equipment
Part 4 of the Act, which commenced on 19 March 2018, places a duty on NHS Boards to ensure communication equipment, as well as the support to use it, are provided free of charge to people of all ages, from all care groups, who cannot speak or who have difficulty speaking.
To support the delivery of legislation the following tools have been developed:
Guidance on the Provision of Communication Equipment and Support in using that Equipment, Easy Read version of the Guidance and A National AAC Core Pathway
Work is now underway to co-produce, with our national advisory group members and stakeholders, a refresh of the national Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) high level work plan, reflecting the broader and on-going program of work on AAC.
To support the delivery of the legislation the following tools have been developed: Going Further: Scotland’s Accessible Travel Framework (2016)
The Framework, which was co-produced with disabled people, disability organisations, transport operators, and the government, aims to support those involved in transport to understand how to provide excellent customer service to disabled people across the range of impairments, including those with hidden disabilities. Our vision is that disabled people can travel with the same freedom, choice and dignity as non-disabled citizens.
Increasing public sector employment of Disabled People: consultation (2018)
A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People included a commitment to consult with public sector bodies and other stakeholders around potentially setting targets for public sector organisations, and other measures to improve the employment of disabled people in the public sector.
The consultation document, published in April 2018 and closed in August 2018, sought views on actions that public bodies can take to increase the number and proportion of disabled people in their workforces.
No One Left Behind – Next Steps for the Integration and Alignment of Employability Support in Scotland (2018)
In March 2018, the Scottish Government published No One Left Behind – Next Steps for the Integration and Alignment of Employability Support in Scotland, which contains a comprehensive range of activities to deliver more effective and joined-up employability support across Scotland. The document recognises that better integration and alignment of employability with other services is a vital part of its ambition to tackle labour market inequalities and help more people into work.
Health and Wellbeing
The Best Start: a five-year forward plan for maternity and neonatal care in Scotland (2017)
The Best Start sets out the vision for the delivery of high quality and safe maternity and neonatal services across Scotland where services regard mother and baby as one entity and truly put the mother, baby and family at the centre of service planning delivery. Implementation is being evaluated through monitoring the impact for women, babies, families and staff in terms of clinical outcomes, equity, cost and the experiences and views of all stakeholders.
Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action (2011)
The Framework sets out the action which can be taken by NHS Boards, local authorities and others to improve the nutrition of pregnant women, babies and young children in Scotland, including a range of breastfeeding support activities.
A Universal Health Visiting Pathway for Scotland (2015)
The Pathway sets out the minimum core home visiting programme to be offered to all families by Health Visitors. The programme consists of 11 home visits to all families – 8 within the first year of life and 3 child health reviews between 13 months and 4-5 years.
Family Nurse Partnership (FNPs)
The FNP is an intensive, preventive, one-to-one home visiting programme for first-time teenage mothers (as well as some mothers aged up to 24 years) and their children, from early pregnancy until the child reaches 2. The FNP programme aims to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes and break the cycle of disadvantage by working directly with young mothers and their children to improve their health and wellbeing.
Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy 2016-2026
The Pregnancy and Parenthood in Young People Strategy sets out the action required to support young people around pregnancy and parenthood. It aims to address the cycle of deprivation that is often associated with pregnancy in young people and supports young parents. The Strategy focuses on increasing the opportunities available to young people, to support their wellbeing and prosperity across the life course and to help young people develop the appropriate knowledge, skills and confidence they need around pregnancy and parenthood through a partnership approach between professionals and young people.
The 10 year Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Framework and Action Plan (2018)
The Scottish Government is working with partners in the public and third sector to develop a 10-year Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan which will cover both physical and mental wellbeing. The Action Plan and accompanying Framework are expected to be published in early 2019.
A Healthier Future: Scotland’s Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan (2018)
The Scottish Government published A Healthier Future: Scotland’s Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan, following wide consultation with stakeholders. The plan sets out our ambition to halve childhood obesity in Scotland by 2030, and to significantly reduce diet-related health inequalities. It also sets out our vision for everyone in Scotland to eat well and have a healthy weight. Actions to tackle childhood obesity will start pre-pregnancy and continue throughout school years and into adolescence. This includes more support to children, young people and families to achieve a healthy weight, and training for frontline staff in services that work with them.
A More Active Scotland: Scotland’s Physical Activity Delivery Plan (2018)
Following from the Active Scotland Outcomes Framework (2017), the Delivery Plan outlines the actions that the Scottish Government and a wide range of partner organisations will take to support and enable people in Scotland to be more physically active. This includes actions which particularly target the needs of girls and young women and those of children and young people who face barriers to participation. The Active Scotland Delivery Group will monitor delivery of the actions in this plan.
Oral Health Improvement Plan (2018)
The Oral Health Improvement Plan sets out the future of oral health improvement and NHS dental services in Scotland. The Scottish Government will establish a number of short-life working groups to take forward the actions set out within this plan. The Chief Dental Officer will produce a bi-annual newsletter to provide an update on progress toward implementation.
Mental Health Strategy 2017-2027 (2017)
The Strategy sets out a central vision for Scotland where people can get the right help at the right time, expect recovery, and fully enjoy their rights, free from discrimination and stigma. It sets out 40 actions organised under five key headings: prevention and Early Intervention; access to Treatment and joined-up, accessible services; the physical wellbeing of people with mental health problems; rights, information use, and planning; and data and measurement. The plan includes a range of specific actions relevant to children and young people, including the commitment to develop a matrix of evidence-based interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce, chaired by Dr Dame Denise Coia, will examine our whole approach to mental health services and will develop a blueprint for how services, and surrounding support, can better meet the rapidly changing needs of children and young people. A specific reporting process for the Mental Health Strategy is in place.
Every Life Matters (August 2018)
Every Life Matters envisages a Scotland where suicide is preventable; where help and support is available to anyone contemplating suicide and to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The Plan sets out ambitious actions which leaders at national, regional and local level must take to transform society’s response and attitudes towards suicide, including the targets to further reduce the suicide rate by 20% by 2022 (from a 2017 baseline) and to consider, in particular, the needs of children and young people. The National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group has been established to oversee how the actions in the action plan are to be implemented.
A Connected Scotland: tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger communities (2018)
In January 2018, the Scottish Government launched a consultation on A Connected Scotland, Scotland’s strategy for tackling social isolation and loneliness and building stronger communities. This strategy sets out our vision for a Scotland where everyone has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships, regardless of age, status, circumstance, or identity. The final strategy will be published shortly.
Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2015-2020 Update (2015)
The first Sexual Health and Blood Borne Virus Framework was published by the Scottish Government in 2011. The Framework brought together policy on sexual health and wellbeing, HIV and viral hepatitis for the first time. It set out five high-level outcomes which the Government wished to see delivered, and it sought to strengthen and improve the way in which the NHS, the Third Sector and Local Authorities supported and worked with individuals at risk of poor sexual health or blood borne viruses. The Sexual Heath and Blood Borne Virus Framework 2015-2020 Update provides an update on progress made since the publication of the original Framework. The framework is monitored by a series of indicators which are measured and monitored by a National Monitoring and Assurance Group.
The Scottish Government has refreshed its drugs and alcohol strategies, The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland’s Drug Problem (2008) and Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action (2009).
The Alcohol and drug treatment strategy - Rights, respect and recovery (2018) published on 28 November 2018, presents a new combined approach to the treatment of drugs and alcohol in recognition of the many shared underlying causes and similarities in treatment services. Alcohol Framework (2018) was published in November 2018 and outlines the Scottish Government’s national prevention aims on alcohol including a strong focus on doing more to protect children and young people from alcohol-related harm.
Raising Scotland’s Tobacco-free Generation (2018)
This five-year action plan sets out interventions and policies to help reduce the use of, and associated harms from using, tobacco in Scotland. Bi-annual evaluations of progress will be published every two years from 2020.
Strategic Framework for Action on Palliative and End of Life Care (2016-2021)
The Strategic Framework committed explicitly to better supporting children and families by promoting the further development of holistic palliative care for the 0-25 year age group, recognizing that many of their needs may differ from those of adults. A new National Implementation Support Group, involving a wider range of partners, supports the implementation of improvement actions.
Support for Families
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017
The Act sets ambitious income targets for child poverty reduction for both 2023 (Interim targets) and 2030 (final targets). It places duties on the Scottish Government to produce three ‘delivery plans’ between 2018 and 2026 setting out action to be taken to meet the targets, plus annual reports on progress. In addition, local public sector partners (NHS Boards and local authorities) are now required to plan and report on their own child poverty action. The Act was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament in December 2017.
Every Child, Every Chance – The Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22 (2018)
The Delivery Plan, backed by a range of investment, including the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund, sets out the action we will take to make progress towards Scotland’s ambitious child poverty targets, set for 2030. Its actions are organised in two ways: actions to make progress on the three main drivers of child poverty (income from work and earnings; costs of living; income from social security); and actions that take account of the need to help families in other ways, to improve their lives in the short term, and work closely with our partners to deliver our ambition. Annual Reports will be published on the progress being made against delivery of the actions within the Plan and against the targets set. The first progress report is due for publication in 2019.
Fairer Scotland Duty (2018)
The Fairer Scotland Duty, commenced in Scotland from April 2018. The Duty brought into force the ‘socio-economic duty’ within Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010, following public consultation in 2017. The Duty places a legal responsibility on particular public bodies in Scotland to actively consider how they can reduce inequalities of outcome caused by socioeconomic disadvantage, when making strategic decisions. Interim Guidance on the Duty was published by Scottish Ministers in March 2018. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is the regulator for the Fairer Scotland Duty.
The Scotland Act 2016 devolved new social security powers to Scotland. Section 1 of the Social Security (Scotland) Act 2018 sets out eight core principles in the Scottish social security system’s founding legislation. These principles will define all aspects of the design, development and implementation of this new system. The Act also proposes a statutory requirement on Ministers to produce a publicly accessible charter that reflects the key principles and communicates in clear terms what people are entitled to expect from the new system, and how it will be delivered in practice.
The charter is being co-designed with people who have lived experience of social security and these people have the lead role in deciding what the charter should contain. A core group of around 30 people has been recruited to do this. A separate advisory stakeholder group of more than 27 organisations has been set up to provide feedback and advice to the core group for consideration. The charter and subsequent reviews will be approved by Parliament. The first charter is expected to be available for Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grants before Christmas 2018.
Best Start Grant
The Best Start Grant (BSG) will help support families with young children, both in and out of work, who are feeling the impact of UK Government welfare reform. The Scottish Government will make the first Best Start Pregnancy and Baby Grants before Christmas 2018. Payments of the Early Learning and School Age Grants will follow by Summer 2019.
Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy for Scotland (2018)
Alongside the introduction of the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition & Strategy) (Scotland) Bill, on 27 June the Draft Fuel Poverty Strategy for Scotland was published – in this we outline the actions we are taking to drive progress towards meeting the ambitious targets in the Fuel Poverty Bill, improving people’s lives and ensuring support is provided to those who need it most. We are developing a strategy that will bring thousands out of fuel poverty, based on the principles of fairness and equality for all, reflecting the different needs of all of Scotland’s urban, suburban, rural and remote communities. We are aligning this work with policies across Government to tackle poverty and improve homes, including the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and Child Poverty Action Plan.
Ending Homelessness Together High Level Action Plan (2018)
The Ending Homelessness Together High Level Action Plan, was published 27 November 2018. The action plan takes forward the 70 recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group and sets out a five year programme, to be delivered in partnership with local authorities and others, to end homelessness and transform temporary accommodation.
Energy Efficient Scotland: route map (2018)
Published in May 2018, the route map for the Energy Efficient Scotland sets out the journey for homes, businesses and public buildings to become more energy efficient. It proposes clear long-term energy efficiency standards for buildings to be warmer, greener and more efficient by 2040. It sets out the pathways that different building sectors will take between now and then to achieve or exceed that standard, through two key objectives: removing poor energy efficiency as a driver for fuel poverty; and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and decarbonising our heat supply.
Cleaner Air for Scotland – The Road to a Healthier Future (2015)
Scotland’s first distinct air quality strategy, sets out a comprehensive series of actions intended to deliver further reductions in air pollution. Progress is monitored through regular reporting on the key outcomes and objectives. Additionally, for central government and local authorities, a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is proposed. The PfG 2018/19 announced that a comprehensive review of Cleaner Air for Scotland will be undertaken, to ensure that the strategy remains on track to achieve these targets.
Education, leisure and cultural activity
2018 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan for Scottish Education
The National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan is designed to help deliver the twin aims of excellence and equity in education. It serves as the single, definitive plan for securing educational improvement through six key improvement drivers: school leadership; teacher professionalism; parental engagement; assessment of children’s progress; school improvement; and performance information. Through the National Improvement Framework and the annual Evidence Dashboard, we will build up a clear picture of progress across the key drivers and of overall progress towards our key priorities.
Scottish Attainment Challenge (2015)
The Scottish Attainment Challenge was launched by the First Minister in February 2015. It is underpinned by The National Improvement Framework, Curriculum for Excellence and Getting It Right For Every Child. It focuses on improvement activity in literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing in specific areas of Scotland. It will also support and complement the broader range of initiatives and programmes to ensure that all of Scotland’s children and young people reach their full potential.
Scotland’s Ten Year Strategy for the Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs 2017-2026
In response to recommendations of the Doran Review, a National Commissioning Group was established to develop a 10 year strategy for strategically commissioned national services. Scotland’s Ten Year Strategy for the Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs was the subject of a public consultation in 2017. The outcome from the consultation will be published in January 2019 and the final version of the 10 year strategy will be published late 2019.
Respect for All: National Approach to Anti-Bullying (2017)
Scotland’s national approach to anti-bullying aims to build capacity, resilience and skills in children and young people to prevent and deal with bullying. The approach is underpinned by the values of fairness; respect; equality and inclusion. It includes an explicit commitment to addressing prejudice-based bullying. The report sets expectations for the recording and monitoring of bullying and anti-bullying activity.
STEM Education and Training Strategy (2017)
The Strategy aims to build Scotland’s capacity to deliver excellent STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning, and to close equity gaps in participation and attainment in STEM. It also aims to inspire young people and adults to study STEM, and to provide a better connection between STEM education and training and the needs of the labour market in Scotland. The remit of the STEM Strategy Implementation Group includes to develop and oversee a delivery plan for the actions within the Strategy and the first STEM Strategy Annual Report is due for publication in the coming weeks.
A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning & Childcare in Scotland – 2017-18 Action Plan (2017)
The Scottish Government and local government in Scotland are delivering a transformative change in the provision of ELC, almost doubling the funded entitlement from 600 to 1140 hours per year from August 2020 for all 3 and 4 year olds and for eligible 2 year olds. A Blueprint for 2020, sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for the expansion of ELC, underpinned by four principles of quality, flexibility, accessibility and affordability. This vision is shared with local government in Scotland.
Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland: Quality Action Plan (2017)
The Quality Action Plan sets out 15 actions that will be taken to further embed and strengthen quality on early learning and childcare in taking forward the expansion to 1140 hours of funded entitlement.
Learning together: Scotland’s national action plan on parental involvement, parental engagement, family learning and learning at home 2018 – 2021
This action plan, which contains over 50 actions, sets out a vision for parental involvement and engagement to support the learning and development of children and young people, from pre-birth to age 18, and takes account of national and international evidence base and Scottish education system expertise. The National Parent Forum of Scotland will monitor progress against this plan in partnership with the Scottish Government. A progress report will be published at the mid-way point (December 2019) and the end of the plan (June 2021).
Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Vision (2013)
This Strategy is built on the views of children and young people, parents and carers, the play sector and others involved in their wellbeing. Together with the action plan, the Strategy seeks to improve the play experiences of all children and young people, including those with disabilities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Action Plan. (2013)
The action plan supports the earlier play strategy by setting out the steps needed to realise a vision for play, underpinned by partnership working. A Play Strategy Implementation Group led by the Scottish Government and made up of representatives of statutory bodies, local authorities, third sector organisations and funders was established in order to support and monitor our progress.
Playing with Quality and Equality: a review of Inclusive Play in Scotland (March 2015)
This Review of inclusive play in Scotland aimed to identify context, current practices, barriers and aspirations and to build the knowledge base to inform implementation of the Play Strategy for all children.
Scotland’s National Position Statement on Outdoor Play Based Learning (2018)
A coalition of over 50 influential national bodies and organisations have committed to work together to embed playing and learning outdoors as an everyday activity for all children and to celebrate it as a fundamental part of growing up in Scotland.
Widening access to Higher Education
15-24 Learner Journey Review (May 2018)
The Scottish Government will take forward the recommendations of the 15-24 Learner Journey Review, the report of the review of education provision for 15-24 year olds. Implementation has commenced and the Scottish Government is committed to improving the experience for the learner and setting a clear expectation for more purposeful collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and employers. Further detail on programme implementation will follow, including setting out how the work will be governed and progress reported.
A Blueprint for Fairness (2016)
The Commission on Widening Access was established in 2015 to advise Ministers on the steps necessary to achieve their ambition that every child, irrespective of socioeconomic background, should have an equal chance of accessing university. The Commission published its final report, A Blueprint for Fairness, in March 2016. This included 34 recommendations, which were accepted in full by the Scottish Government. Implementing a ‘Blueprint for Fairness’ (2017) sets out progress in implementing the recommendations made by the Commission. The report also sets out how the Scottish Government plans to coordinate and monitor work going forward.
Developing the Young Workforce: Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy (2014)
Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy set out how the Scottish Government will implement the recommendations from the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, including the commitment to reduce the 2014 level of youth unemployment by 40% by 2021 – a target that was met 4 years early in 2017. Together with Getting It Right for Every Child and Curriculum for Excellence, DYW is the key policy approach through which the SG is creating excellence and equity in Scottish education. Progress continues to be reported on annually.
A Culture Strategy for Scotland: Draft for Consultation (June 2018)
The Scottish Government has committed to developing a Culture Strategy for Scotland. This will recognise the fundamental value of culture and its transformative and empowering potential, which everyone in Scotland, including children and young people, should have an equal opportunity to experience.
Ambition and Opportunity. A Strategy for Public Libraries in Scotland 2015 – 2020 (2015)
Scotland’s first National Strategy for Public Libraries sets out recommendations for all those involved: Scottish Government, local authorities, library services, library staff, publishers and more. A leadership body will oversee activity relating to each of the six strategic aims within the Strategy and monitor implementation. Strategic Aim 4 focuses on the contribution that public libraries make to promoting social wellbeing, including improving the life chances for children, young people and families at risk.
Justice in Scotland: Vision and Priorities (2017)
The Vision and Priorities document, agreed jointly by the Scottish Government and key justice organisations, sets out collective priorities to ensure a just, safe and resilient Scotland, with established priorities for 2017 to 2020. The document focuses specifically on prevention and early intervention. The Justice Vision and Priorities is accompanied by a Delivery Plan that sets out actions to help progress the priorities. This Plan will be updated annually.
Whole System Approach
The Whole System Approach (WSA) is our programme for addressing the needs of young people involved in offending. It’s underpinned by Getting it Right for Every Child, which aims to ensure that support for children and young people puts their – and their family’s – needs first.
Preventing Offending: Getting it Right for Children and Young People (2015)
The strategy sets out priorities for 2015 to 2020, building on the progress already made over the past decade in reducing offending and keeping children and young people out of the criminal justice system. It focuses on three priority areas: Advancing the Whole System Approach; Improving Life Chances; and Developing Capacity and Improvement to support the workforce and improve systems. A progress report was published in June 2017
Age of Criminal Responsibility (Scotland) Bill
The Age of Criminal Responsibility Bill was introduced to Parliament by Scottish Ministers in March 2018. Subject to approval by Parliament, the Bill will raise the age of criminal responsibility in Scotland from 8 to 12 years. The Bill also contains provisions relating to police investigatory powers, handling of forensic samples, disclosure, etc.
National Performance Framework for Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland (2017)
The National Performance Framework for Prison Visitors’ Centres in Scotland was developed by the National Prison Visitors Centre Steering Group in collaboration with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Prison Service. Agencies will report on their progress towards achieving the outcomes within the document using shared measurement tools and a standardised reporting framework.
Victims and Witnesses
Vulnerable Witnesses (Criminal Evidence) (Scotland) Bill
Informed by a public consultation, the Bill, if approved by Parliament, represents an important step towards the longer term vision of removing the need, where possible, for children to give evidence in court, whilst maintaining the rights of the accused.
Building Safer Communities Programme
Building Safer Communities is a collaborative programme which seeks to help national and local partners and communities work together to make Scotland safer and stronger. The Programme aims to reduce the number of victims of crime and unintentional harm. In 2017, the Programme published Scotland’s first Strategic Assessment of Unintentional Harm.
Cashback for Communities
The CashBack for Communities programme is a unique Scottish Government initiative, which takes funds recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and invests them back into communities. The Programme is designed to focus on positive outcomes for young people aged 10 to 25, and their communities. Since 2008, £92 million of criminal cash has been committed to community initiatives to improve the quality of life for young people right across Scotland.
Refugee and Asylum Seeking Children
New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy 2018-2022 (2018)
The New Scots refugee integration Strategy sets out an approach to support the vision of a welcoming Scotland. Children and young people can arrive with their families through the asylum dispersal process and through refugee resettlement programmes, or they may arrive unaccompanied. Some of these children will have had traumatic experiences in their formative years. They may also have missed significant amounts of education, which can be challenging, particularly if they are having to learn a new language. The strategy recognises that children and young people may require additional support to access the services they need and opportunities to participate in society. The New Scots strategy is led in partnership by the Scottish Government, COSLA and the Scottish Refugee Council.
The Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Act 2015 made the provision of independent child trafficking guardians statutory for eligible children. Expertise has been drawn from across Government, the current Scottish Guardianship Service, CoSLA and others working with unaccompanied children across Scotland to develop a draft consultation to define the role, responsibilities and functions of the Independent Child Trafficking Guardian in Scotland, which will be issued shortly.
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