UNCRC Embedding in Public Services Guidance Sub-group minutes: June 2022

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Carola Eyber (Chair), Scottish Government – CE
  • Luiza Leite (Minutes), Scottish Government – LL
  • Nicola Hughes, Scottish Government – NH
  • Lesleyann Russell, Scottish Government – LR
  • Lyndsey Saki, Scottish Government – LS
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
  • Poppy Prior, Scottish Government – PP
  • Rachel Nicholson, Scottish Government – RN
  • Rebecca Spillane, Improvement Service – RS
  • Sarah Rodger, SOLAR – SR
  • Juliet Harris, Together – JH
  • Tamar Jamieson, Police Scotland – TJ


  • Julie Williams, CCPS
  • Debby Wason, Public Health Scotland
  • Rebekah Cameron-Berry, COSLA

Items and actions

Welcome, apologies and introductions of first-time attendees

The group welcomed Lyndsey Saki from Scottish Government who is the new programme lead for Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services.

Review of minutes and action points

The minutes for the last meeting are available on the group page.

The following actions were captured at the last subgroup meeting:

  • Carola to update group on compatibility review process – this is one of the items for this meeting’s agenda
  • Rebekah Cameron-Berry to present findings from introductory conversations with Local Authorities on perspectives on guidance – apologies received from Rebekah for this meeting, this action point will carry over to the next meeting in August
  • Rebecca Spillane to continue conversations with LAs as work on guidance develops and to provide updates to Carola/future sub-group meetings. This is ongoing and updates will be given as required

Members were content with the minutes for the last meeting and agreed no further changes are needed.

Update on rememdial work on Bill

NH provided a brief update on the targeted engagement work as a response to remedial work on Bill. As part of the planning for Reconsideration Stage, the SG committed to 3 weeks of engagement with key stakeholders, including with children and young people, to ensure that those who have lobbied for the Bill, understand the changes that are being made and why.

NH asked that members who received the targeted engagement document do not share it further unless this had been agreed in advance. NH reminded members that the closing date for responses is Friday 17 June 2022.

JH confirmed Together has discussed this widely with members and will submit a response on Friday.

Part 3 discussion on options for reporting frameworks

LR provided a PowerPoint presentation on the identified potential frameworks listed authorities may wish to utilise when preparing their children’s rights report under section 15 of the Bill, giving an overview of their potential strengths and weaknesses:

  • article by article reporting – considered a very onerous yet robust process
  • reporting under UNCRC clusters – currently proposed as reporting framework under Child and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 non-statutory guidance, is not as onerous as an article by article approach. However, few authorities have used this reporting approach
  • child rights based approach indicators: action focussed, child rights based approach that can be taken via reporting on raising awareness, participation, capacity building, accountability, equality, child friendly complaints

LR asked members to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the approaches for the new reporting duty for public authorities (as listed in s.16 UNCRC Bill). Members shared their views as follows:

  • it would depend on the needs of individual public bodies, reporting by cluster may be useful for some, while others may want to pay attention to individual articles
  • all options can potentially work, as long as there is consistency in reporting. Achieving consistency via a template would be useful as this also allows for comparing and compiling overall feedback and reporting
  • local authorities may want to pick and choose what style they wish to follow
  • tracking and monitoring process across the board would be simpler if there is a structure to be followed
  • reviewing article by article would be too challenging
  • sharing and collaborating across public bodies would be helpful – mechanisms for exchanging information and learning would be useful. This is going to be facilitated via the Knowledge Hub run by the Improvement Service.
  • what does SG actually use the reports for? We want to be able to draw out patterns and address them
  • there will be additional areas for consideration, such as the Optional Protocols so reporting should not just focus on the UNCRC articles
  • some members felt there should be some scrutiny and feedback of the reports by SG

RS noted that the Poverty and Inequality Commission did some analysis of a selection of the Local Child Poverty Action reports which was very useful to inform future work.

While providing feedback to specific listed authorities on their individual reports is unlikely to be an option, the intention is for SG to analyse the reports and draw out learning and broad themes that would form the basis for further planning and implementation. The intention is to use the reports for furthering learning as part of the aim to give better and further effect to children’s rights.

Carola to present skeleton outline of content of Guidance for Parts 2 and 3 (Paper 1)

CE welcomed comments on this paper, and for any written comments to be submitted via email after the meeting.

The following views were gathered from members:

  • it is logical from a local authority’s perspective
  • balance needed between there being enough useful information to refer to, and not being too overwhelming for public bodies to use
  • breaches of rights should be more prominent in the guidance to ensure compliance. CE noted this will be covered under child-friendly complaints, but also welcomed further comments on how this can best be captured
  • point 9 of the draft discussion paper (circulated ahead of the meeting) on links to other policies could be of great interest to local authorities who are interested in seeing the connection between children’s rights and areas beyond children's services e.g. climate change, planning, housing etc

When asked about timescales for when the guidance will be produced, CE explained that the first step is for the Bill to be returned to the Scottish Parliament via the Reconsideration stage. If the Bill is passed and receives Royal Assent, only then could the provision relating to guidance be commenced. Guidance on Parts 2 and 3 of the Bill are subject to a statutory consultation which must take place before any guidance is issued. The statutory consultation exercise can only take place if the Bill receives Royal Assent. Therefore, timescales are dependent on remedial work, the Bill being passed by the Scottish Parliament again and then receiving Royal Assent.

CE highlighted that any potential topics for inclusion which do not feature, or do not feature substantially in the Part 2 and 3 guidance would potentially be able to be accommodated elsewhere. We are considering how best to provide information to public authorities, which may include revisions to guidance, further non-statutory guidance, or inclusion within a range of projects such as the Skills and Knowledge Framework.

CE asked members to review and make comments on the paper and to submit these back to her via email. 

Action: Members to submit any comments on the content outline before the end of June.

Core elements of new compatability review tool (Paper 2)

As the meeting ran late there was little time left to discuss this paper. CE agreed to come back to members in the August meeting with a brief outline of this tool.

The following discussion was captured:

  • JH asked about the concept of “minimum core obligations” (MCOs)
  • there is no provision relating to MCOs contained in the provisions of the UNCRC Bill as passed
  • JH noted that Together are considering possible UNCRC compatibility issues and will follow up with CE on any relevant findings

Action: JH to follow up with CE if needed.

AOB and date of next meeting (9th August 2022)

The next meeting will be held on 9th August 2022. Members agreed that the meeting originally scheduled for 12 July should be cancelled to accommodate leave.  

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