UNCRC Implementation Embedding in Public Services minutes: 24 January 2022

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
  • Lesleyann Russell, Scottish Government – LR
  • Carola Eyber, Scottish Government – CE
  • Shona Spence, Scottish Government – SS
  • Laura Caven, COSLA – LC
  • Maria Doyle, Together – MD
  • Zoe Thomson (on behalf of Deborah Davidson), ADES – ZT
  • Jane Donaldson (on behalf of Colin Convery), Police Scotland – JD
  • Daniel Cosgrove, Unicef – DC
  • Eloise Di Gianni, Theory of Change Project – EDG
  • Deborah Wason, Public Health Scotland – DW
  • Cathy Asante, SHRC – CA
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL
  • Julie Williams, CCPS – JW


  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef
  • Alison Sutherland, Social Work Scotland
  • Morag Driscoll, Law Society of Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Chair welcomed attendees and provided an update on recent developments:

UNCRC Implementation Programme

  • partnership proposals work is progressing, organisations funded should have received their grant letters and work is underway

Strategic Implementation Board (SIB)

  • the next meeting is scheduled for Thursday 27 January 2022
  • minutes from the board will be published on the group page after the meeting

Reference to the Supreme Court

Minutes and actions from previous meeting

Minutes from the previous meeting have been circulated with members and will be made available on the group page. There were no actions pending from the previous meeting of 6 December 2021.

Members should have received an email on Wednesday 19 January alerting of our workgroup closure on eRDM Connect as part of general housekeeping. We are arranging for all documents currently in the workgroup to be backed up so they’re still accessible. Members were reminded the introductory guidance as published is available online.

Update on Theory of Change project

Eloise Di Gianni provided a brief recap on the Theory of Change project and listed partners involved. This project should strengthen cohesion around sectors and provide a framework for implementation. An additional meeting has been arranged for 27 January so members can engage more with this.

The 4 themes for change mechanisms were described:

  1. Policy adaptation, coordination and administrative integration
  2. Building cross-sector capacity and capability to integrate rights-based ways of working
  3. Changing attitudes, norms, values and everyday actions
  4. Creating a system of information, advocacy, complaints, redress and remedy for children

Workshops have taken place and a draft theory of change has been issued internally for comments. Deadline for views is February 18th. Project is due to be finalised at the end of March.

Evidence work with Public Health Scotland is progressing to look at existing evidence on UNCRC implementation.

Action: LL to circulate draft theory of change to members. Any members wishing to provide feedback can do so before 18 February.

Action: members to read the background paper submitted ahead of the meeting on 27 January.

Reporting under the new Bill

LR provided an update on the current reporting arrangements under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. A few questions were posed to the group to start thinking about options as to how reporting duties under the new Bill could be meaningful, impactful and improved. Members discussed existing methods that could be used if we want a dedicated data set for rights.

Joint reporting for public bodies was highlighted as a positive, however it doesn’t always take into account community planning partnerships and other areas of joint work. Including 3rd sector partners in this process would be important in capturing a fuller story.

A paper setting out options will be available on this soon and shared with the group to facilitate further discussion. This will be a reoccurring item in the agenda and members will have a chance to feedback as this work develops.

Animation project – update and plans to engage young people

BP provided an update on the current animation project the Embedding team are working on. This project, which will be delivered in collaboration with children and young people, will form an accessible, child-friendly supplement to the non-statutory guidance, "Children's Rights and the UNCRC in Scotland: An Introduction".

The video is intended to inform young people about the UNCRC and communicate the key messages of the introductory guidance, including that all children's rights should be upheld and respected by all public authorities, not solely children's services. The team hopes to have the video ready by the end of March, but this will depend on the availability of a suitable supplier, young people and others involved.

Chair noted that SG are developing a national awareness raising campaign, where resources like this will be widely promoted, however it might be for public authorities to best decide how to use the resources available, and to make sure they are integrated into work already ongoing regarding rights awareness at a local level. Chair agreed that this can be picked up as a key message in the video, or in the accompanying notes.

MD noted that Together are working on their State of Children’s Rights Report and working on child friendly version – with text ready for 4th Feb. These resources could be helpful to share with the children when consulting them.

Action: BP to link in with MD on the animation project.

Update on plans for guidance

Overall introductory guidance feedback has been positive. Public bodies have received it, read it, and used it to support discussions. It has raised the question of what it means for specific sectors. Chair confirmed the guidance is broad and wouldn’t be able to address sector specific needs. The PowerPoint style format, with imagery was also welcomed as it’s easier to digest information.

There are no publication timescales for statutory guidance yet, although preparatory work is underway. Members agreed that the inclusion of good practical examples would be welcomed.

Members briefly touched on sequencing of commencement of duties, questions were raised as to what happens first and in what order. The strong preference was for Guidance on Part 2 to be in place before Part 2 duties commence and for Guidance on Part 3 to be available at least 6 months before the reports are due (as soon as practicable from 1st April 2023). Remedies must also be in place in case there is a breach.

The members questioned whether or not the statutory guidance would have a general audience, or if it would be sector specific, NH confirmed plans were to release guidance that had universal application but recognised some sectors may benefit from tailored guidance. A question was raised on who would be responsible for this.

Members discussed the challenge of producing guidance before the commencement of duties, in light of potential early commencement within a 6 month period, recognising the need for consultation. NH recommended a sub-group was established, on a short-term basis, to support the development of guidance.

An options paper including proposed topics for inclusion and estimated timescales will be prepared and shared with the group when available.

Action: NH to share options paper with the group.

Action: members to self-nominate to join Guidance Sub-Group.

Update on workforce needs analysis, skills and knowledge framework and innovation fund

Further updates provided on the following areas of work:

Skills and knowledge framework

  • further engagement with groups recorded in the procurement specification
  • should have significant progress on this soon
  • further update will be provided at the next meeting

Workforce needs analysis overview

This was prepared after conversation with Dr Caroline Bruce at NES who was a leading partner in the Trauma-Informed Framework.

  • the aim of this analysis is to gather information on current skills and knowledge, values, perceptions and beliefs of the UNCRC/children’s rights across the public sector workforce. This will then help identify areas of strength and areas that need development
  • this will enable a more strategic approach to capacity building
  • analysis of existing materials to ensure there is no duplication
  • the SG will engage with the workforce and stakeholders on this
  • DL noted it may be useful to consult with members on a question set for staff. It would be helpful if public bodies could receive a breakdown of responses from their staff to support organisation specific planning. Timeline for output would be good as to coincide with publication of statutory guidance

Innovation fund

  • LR provided an update on the Innovation Fund phases and welcomed any feedback to be submitted to her email Lesleyann.Russell@gov.scot directly


The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 21 February.

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