In the consultation on the proposals for a Children and Young People Bill, I set out the Scottish Government's ambition: to make Scotland the best place to grow up in.
It is a huge ambition. Yet as the very strong response to the consultation makes clear, the Scottish Government is not alone in holding such high aspirations for the children and young people of Scotland. The broad support for the proposals indicates a strong recognition that the Children and Young People Bill has a central role to play in realising our collective ambition.
I am very grateful to all those who responded to the consultation, and to those who took part in our extensive programme of engagement on the Bill. I am particularly delighted that over 2,400 children and young people have been engaged in activities in response to the Bill proposals, and would like to thank each of them for their involvement.
The message from the consultation and engagement could not be more clear: there is an appetite for the kind of change the Bill proposes. Children and young people deserve services that can intervene more effectively and earlier in their lives and that listen and take full account of their views and rights. Achieving this involves a programme of change that is not limited to any one service, but embraces a change in the culture and practice of all services that affect the lives of children, young people and their families. That change embodies the principles underpinning our wider approach to public service reform: the importance of services coordinating around the needs of individuals to provide person-centred care.
As the Government Response sets out, the views we have heard have been pivotal as we develop the Children and Young People Bill. This response will give you further detail on how we intend to proceed with the proposals. We are clear that there is no one policy or initiative that can bring about the kind of change required. However, the Children and Young People Bill will be a landmark in deepening the progress that has already been made, bringing about a step-change in the way that all services support children and young people and inspiring renewed debate and ambition for what Scotland's children and young people can expect.
We intend to introduce the Bill to Parliament this year so that children and young people can experience its benefits as soon as possible. I greatly look forward to working with you to improve the services we deliver and the outcomes we achieve for the children and young people of Scotland.
AILEEN CAMPBELL MSP
MINISTER FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
Email: Simon Craig