UNCRC Embedding in Public Services Guidance Sub-group minutes: December 2022
- Children and Families Directorate
- Part of
- Children and families, Equality and rights
Minutes of the meeting of the group on 13 December 2022.
Attendees and apologies
- Carola Eyber (Chair), Scottish Government – CE
- Luiza Leite (Minutes), Scottish Government – LL
- Lesleyann Russell, Scottish Government – LR
- Lyndsey Saki, Scottish Government – LS
- Nicola Hughes, Scottish Government – NH
- Fraser Gorn, Scottish Government – FG
- Grant Trainer (on behalf of Tamar Jamieson), Police Scotland – GT
- Sarah Rodger, SOLAR – SR
- Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
- Rebecca Spillane, Improvement Service – RS
- Felicia Szloboda, Improvement Service – FS
- Rebekah Cameron-Berry, COSLA – RCB
- Debby Wason, Public Health Scotland – DW
- Amy Kerr, Scottish Government – AK
- Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council - DC
- Julie Williams, CCPS Tamar Jamieson
- Tamar Jamieson, Police Scotland
- Juliet Harris, Together Scotland
- Susan Revie, Scottish Government
- Vicky Wan, Children’s Parliament
Items and actions
Welcome, apologies and introductions of first time attendees
CE welcomed members and introduced first time attendee, Grant Trainer from Police Scotland, attending on behalf of Tamar Jamieson.
Review of minutes and action points
Members approved the minutes from the meeting held on 8 November 2022 which will later be made available on the group page. There were no outstanding action points.
Update on rememdial work on Bill
There were no major changes from the last meeting. The Scottish Government (SG) are still engaging with UK Government on amendments. SG are also engaging with Parliamentary authorities. Once we are in a position to proceed a motion will be brought back to Parliament requesting the Bill is progressed to reconsideration.
A question was raised as to what format the latest meeting with UK Government officials was held (i.e online meetings, in person, etc). NH clarified this engagement was done via correspondence.
Discussion on drafts circulated ahead of the meeting
Members had received a draft for Part 3 Guidance ahead of this meeting. The document shared included the following:
- introduction to the guidance in relation to children’s rights reporting
- sections 5-7: reporting requirements for listed authorities; frameworks for children’s rights reporting and the publication of reports
The following discussion points and feedback was captured from members:
- alternative frameworks to structure reports have been noted as useful
- it was noted that the current draft appears quite lengthy, and that it is important to consider user friendliness. It was suggested that maybe the guidance could be shortened, or have the layout and sections broken down further with subheadings so it’s easier to digest
- a suggestion was made to change the term “child friendly” to “easy read” in relation to the report format for children. CE has previously agreed to this change and it will be reflected in future drafts
- a question was raised as to how will reports be used. Members queried what is the strategy and purpose around how the information will be collated and used. LR acknowledged the point around strategy and purpose – this can be discussed further – however it’s not clear yet if the guidance would be the best place to include this information or if it should be provided separately. The paper that was presented to the Guidance Sub-group in August 2022 on reporting will be presented at the wider Reference Group in January 2023 for further discussion on this topic
- a suggestion was made to reference the Child Poverty Action reports in this section as the Child Poverty Action reports have the same reporting cycle, there was general agreement across members that it would be useful to link these
- members agreed that it would be useful that local authorities have access to this guidance as soon as possible
- it was suggested that the guidance needs to make clear that UNCRC applies to all services, not just children’s services
- in terms of legal obligation to act compatibly / risks of legal action – a suggestion was made that more consideration was needed as to how we communicate these areas to public authorities. It was pointed out that this information will be contained in Part 2 Guidance
- positive feedback from members to see clarity around joint reporting. However merging governance and aligning timelines needs more thought as this can be complex to achieve in joint reporting
- joint reporting shouldn’t be used to the detriment of quality / narrowing the lens of how we look at children’s services (looking beyond children and education services). LR noted that upcoming case studies should also assist in clarifying this
- challenges for national organisations where everything impacts children / needs around engagement are different
A question was raised around any reports that aren’t submitted, or are submitted very late. LR noted that the Bill doesn’t give us enforcement powers should this happen, but SG will support local authorities to produce these and promote best practice.
NH explained that the reports will not necessarily be scrutinised in order to find fault, but as a method to gather data and examples of good practice. These reports should be used as a demonstration of transparency across local authorities. NH noted we absolutely want to recognise the burden on listed authorities in producing various reports.
CE confirmed that SG does have the power to issue revised guidance after the Bill has come into force, so more case studies may be included in future updates.
CE encouraged colleagues to submit any comments and feedback on any of the circulated drafts directly to LL or LR directly.
Statutory guidance consultation update
CE shared with members that a full public consultation has now been agreed, rather than the originally planned targeted approach. This is to ensure no one is missed and will last the standard 12 week period. We will also be consulting with children and young people (CYP) as part of this process. The engagement will be carried out in partnership with third sector organisations working directly with CYP to gather their views.
Full written update on consultation for statutory guidance – December 2022.
We have a duty under the Bill to consult on the statutory guidance. The Bill also sets out that certain groups must be included in this. i.e. children, the Commissioner, Scottish Commission for Human Rights and other persons as the Scottish Ministers consider appropriate. This fourth group is quite broad, given the range of sectors and organisations who will use the guidance as a ‘public authority’ under the Bill. This would include listed authorities, National Public Bodies (including agencies of SG), and organisations across the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector - dependent on the nature of their functions.
In terms of engaging CYP we’re planning to engage a range of groups which support a broadly representative cross section of CYP, including parents for younger children.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek and incorporate stakeholder views and feedback on how useful the content is for the new duties under the Bill and for strengthening a child rights-based approach.
The purpose of consulting CYP on the guidance is to better understand their views and experiences of having their rights respected, protected and fulfilled by public authorities, and hear from them if we have adequately included issues and aspects of the topics that they would consider important. We need their views on how we have explained things to public authorities in relation to their rights, and ensure that we have not missed crucial aspects from our adult perspective.
For the stakeholder consultation, we plan to share a near final draft and questions on an online platform. For the CYP consultation, we will ask external organisations to facilitate sessions with CYP, providing them with a topic guide which sets out key messages with the guidance and discussion prompts.
Consultation will be launched as soon as possible after Royal Assent and will be open for 12 weeks. In terms of the work to analyse and incorporate the feedback, we’re estimating this will take a further three to four months, but this is of course very dependent on the volume and depth of responses.
Any other business and date of next meeting
NH provided a brief update to members acknowledging this is her last meeting and thanked members for their ongoing support.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 January 2023.
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