Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland - action plan: progress report 2020

The Report sets out progress made in taking forward the actions in the Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland: An Action Plan 2018 to 2021 since November 2019.

Raising Awareness

We will develop and deliver through co-production, an ambitious programme to raise awareness and understanding of children’s rights across all sectors of society in Scotland.

Alongside the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill (the Bill), the Scottish Government is continuing to progress its 3 year programme to raise awareness of children’s rights across all sectors of society in Scotland. The programme will contribute towards Ministers’ aim for Scotland-wide knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and how to act on them, which is fundamental to the implementation of the Bill and to embedding children’s human rights into the fabric of Scottish society. 

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has emphasised that awareness-raising about children’s rights is most effective when progressed through interaction and dialogue, including with children and young people.[2] Co-production is, therefore, central to the development and delivery of the 3 year programme. 

As part of this approach, the Scottish Government commissioned Young Scot, in partnership with Children in Scotland, to lead the co-production strand of this important work. Building upon existing materials and resources, an #ActivateYourRights panel of 20 children and young people, aged 8 to 18 years old, with 50% of them having come from seldom heard groups, was established. Working together with Young Scot and Children in Scotland, they co-produced a range of materials to support raising awareness of children’s rights amongst children and young people to be used in a variety of settings across Scotland. The resources seek to aid progressive learning about children’s rights, introduce activities to help children and young people understand what rights look like in practice, and build their confidence to defend their rights when these are not being respected.

The #ActivateYourRights resources, which include an Activity Facilitation Pack, a Q&A podcast from the Minister for Children and Young People and the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Bruce Adamson, and a host of online, interactive articles, are available on Young Scot’s website. The co-produced materials were published in September 2020 to coincide with the introduction of the Bill to the Scottish Parliament.

To support parents and carers in ensuring they are aware of and understand the human rights of children, a Reference Group of key partners was initiated in March 2020. The Group aims to develop and design resources to increase the awareness of children’s rights amongst parents and carers and to advise on the best approach to test these resources. In light of the pandemic, in April 2020, the Group took the strategic decision to pause commencement of this work until such times as parents and carers could be meaningfully engaged with and also in recognition of the need for partners to focus their time and resources on crucial, emergency response work. Consideration is currently being given to the recommencement of this Group and how its work will inform preparations for the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots law.

Raising awareness of children’s rights amongst public authorities with duties under Part 1, section 2 of the CYP Act is also critical to making rights real for children, young people and their families. These duties require public authorities listed in Schedule 1 of the CYP Act, to publish a report every 3 years on the steps that they have taken in that period to secure better or further effect of the UNCRC requirements within their areas of responsibility. The first reports under these provisions are due to be published as soon as practicable after 1 April 2020. Support meetings continue to be offered to assist listed public authorities in meeting these duties. 

In light of pressures placed on public authorities in responding to the current coronavirus pandemic, paragraph 8 of schedule 6 of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020, allows for Scottish public authorities to postpone publishing or laying certain reports before the Scottish Parliament if they are of the view that doing so is likely to impede their ability to take effective action to prevent, protect against, delay or otherwise control the incidence or transmission of coronavirus. If a public authority decides to postpone the publication of a report, they must publish a statement to that effect on or before the date by which the report is due, or as soon as is reasonably practicable after that date. Such a statement must also indicate that the report will be published or laid as soon as reasonably practicable. 

We are continuing to work alongside Education Scotland and YouthLink Scotland to strengthen awareness and understanding of children’s rights through the refresh and testing of the Community Learning and Development (CLD) version of the Recognising and Realising Children’s Rights training tool, which aims to support the development of a rights-based culture and ethos across CLD practitioners and settings. In November 2020, Education Scotland published the Children’s Rights and Participation Strategy 2020 – 2022. The Strategy sets out how Education Scotland will strive to protect and respect the rights of all children, as set out in the UNCRC



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