Can Scotland be Brave – Incorporating UNCRC Article 12 in practice

This project investigated how well practitioners, understood and implemented the full obligations of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (‘UNCRC’).


  • Emerging decision makers - If we want a nation of good decision makers, we need to facilitate a developmental progression across our services. Creating opportunities for CYP to engage in reflective thinking and be involved in setting goals or targets should become core practice. CYP should be asked what decisions they want to be involved in, rather than practitioners being in control of that decision. All services need to become accountable for demonstrating how they have used the voices of CYP in decision making.
  • Training and development of staff - This pilot project demonstrated that staff in all 3 sites (who were already focused on including the young person's voice) still benefited from training.  The Lundy framework made the requirements in Article 12 more concrete and Talking Mats provided a communication support which extended their listening skills and maximised the young people's ability to express how they felt.  Training and adequate resources should be prioritised and properly funded as part of the implementation plan.
  • Inclusive language at all stages - practitioners evidenced their use of language supports to get the young person's views initially but only gave verbal feedback to older children, or not at all. Use of visual supports, i.e. pictures, symbols and signing, should be used at all levels and in feedback to CYP. All services should be asked to evidence they can provide accessible feedback to CYP.
  • Wellbeing themes - The case examples which were returned hold rich data about young peoples' perceptions of their lives according to GIRFEC wellbeing indicators. A further project focussing upon specific themes and trends relevant to CYP would give valuable insight into the lives of CYP living in Scotland in 2019/2020.
  • GIRFEC - a genuine focus on the GIRFEC principles goes a long way to achieving the aim of Article 12 UNCRC.  Training which combines both the GIRFEC framework and children's rights should be developed for practitioners. We would echo the finding of The Good Childhood report published by The Children's Society [27] which stated further research into children's wellbeing is critical.
  • Good collaboration - all organisations who know the CYP should be able to act and contribute to the CYPs plan. Currently there appears to be an unconscious bias that education and health services are given more credence than third sector organisations. This is an attitudinal barrier that needs to change in order to better support each CYP's wellbeing. 



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