UNCRC Implementation Embedding in Public Services minutes: 1 November 2021

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Nicola Hughes (Chair) Scottish Government – NH
  • Luiza Leite (minutes), Scottish Government – LL 
  • Eilidh Walker (minutes), Scottish Government – EW 
  • Billy Pugh, Scottish Government – BP
  • Paul Gorman, Scottish Government – PG 
  • Shelly Coyne, Scottish Government – SC 
  • Caroline McMenemy, Scottish Government – CM 
  • Anna Munro, Scottish Government – AM 
  • Suzanne Brown, SCRON – SB 
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL 
  • Juliet Harris, Together – JH
  • Jill Laspa, COSLA - JL
  • Zoe Thomson (on behalf of Deborah Davidson), ADES – ZT 

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Chair welcomed attendees followed by introductions. The group welcomed Paul Gorman, Shelly Coyne and Caroline McMenemy from the Empowered Children and Young People team as they’ll deliver a presentation later in the agenda.

Minutes and actions from previous meeting 

The Chair confirmed that the officials are still considering next steps following the Supreme Court hearing, this is moving at a considerable pace and the Chair hopes to provide an update as soon as possible.

Minutes from the previous meeting have been circulated with members and made available on Objective Connect. These will also be available on the group page shortly thereafter.

Near-final version of introductory guidance and cover letter

The estimated publication date for the Introductory Guidance is set for 19 November to coincide with World Children’s Day, there will also be a public announcement following this. 

The following changes have been made to the latest version of the guidance:

  • updated reference to the Bill and Supreme Court challenge
  • a line emphasizing the difference between legal capacity and developing maturity of a child has been included
  • a line making it clear that children’s human rights are not in competition with adult rights
  • changed layout to portrait style to make the document more accessible and remove large blank spaces

The Chair asked for any requested amendments to be emailed by COP today. 


  • all to submit any amendments to the guidance by COP 1 November

JH noted that Together will submit an updated line to Nicola today.

The group discussed the membership of the group, and the lack of representation from private sector, given the Bill’s intended definition of a public authority. Chair agreed and advised this had been considered for the SIB and may need to be reviewed in light of the Supreme Court judgement. Chair confirmed this is something the programme office is carefully looking into and will take on board recommendations relating to this reference group. 

Review of updated terms of reference 

Following up on discussions to extend the remit of this group to provide wider support to the Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services strand, the Chair welcomed comments on the updated terms of reference via email or through Objective Connect. 

Members discussed whether meetings should remain fortnightly or less frequently. Agreement on monthly with exceptional meetings called as required. SG will consider any changes to the terms of reference and provide an update at the next meeting. 

Materials and confidentially section should be amended to note the periodic request from SG for members to share drafts more widely, as part of targeted consultation. 


  • terms of reference to reflect ability to call exceptional meetings as required and to note permission to share confidential material on request of SG

Raising awareness presentation 

Paul Gorman and Shelly Coyne from the Empowered Children and Young People team provided a presentation on key work delivered by the Raising Awareness Programme, and plans for future work in this regard.  

Presentation covered the vision and aims following the Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland Action Plan for 2018-2021. 

Issue of raising awareness for children who are home schooled for example. The Chair acknowledges there are gaps we are trying to plug. It’s important that child rights teaching comes from a trusting relationship, and it’s important that we consider milestones in achieving rights knowledge through different services as children grow up. A lot of work has gone into this and will continue in order to plug any gaps

Issues around rights and responsibilities raised. The current Curriculum revision and Education reform look into some of these issues. The Chair affirmed our position on this and that we will continue to work with Education and Learning colleagues to develop this area and ensure children’s rights are meaningfully included. 

Mapping of existing chidren’s rights awareness resources and materials is underway, this will be shared more widely once complete. 

SC welcomed comments and feedback from members directly via email.


The next meeting will be held on Monday 29th November 2021. 

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