UNCRC Implementation Embedding in Public Services minutes: 6 December 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 
  • Lesleyann Russell, Scottish Government – LR 
  • Gita Sharkey, Scottish Government – GS 
  • Valerie Malloch, SPSO – VM 
  • Rosemary Agnew, SPSO – RA 
  • Juliet Harris, Together – JH 
  • Eloise Di Gianni, Theory of Change Project – EDG 
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland – CC
  • Deborah Wason, Public Health Scotland – DW 
  • Cathy Asante, SHRC – CA 
  • Julie Williams, CCPS – JW 


  • Laura Caven, COSLA
  • Morag Driscoll, Law Society of Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions 

The Chair introduced and welcomed new members, Laura Caven from Cosla who is replacing Jill Laspa in this group, Laura has sent her apologies for this meeting but will join us in the new year. Welcome to Lesleyann Russell who joined the Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services team to work on Improvement and Innovation. 

Update from Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) on child-friendly complaints process

Rosemary Agnew provided a brief presentation on Child-friendly complaints, covering the role and values of the SPSO, statutory functions, complaints standards, and the developing child-friendly complaints model.

JH asked about police and judiciary as the work they do will have an increasing impact on children, should this be monitored more closely as it develops? 
It was also noted that non-discrimination is crucial, ensuring the complaints process works for all children regardless of their background. Under “Relationship with parents” it was noted that this should also include carers.

SPSO are writing guidance in such a way that it can be picked up and adapted by others (including police and judiciary). PIRC is already involved in conversations with SPSO. CC confirmed the police will continue to engage in this process.

Update on Children’s Consortium

JH provided an update on the work of the Children’s Consortium, which was formed to ensure that children and young people are directly involved in child rights governance and the UNCRC Implementation Programme. The Consortium has involvement from 6 partner organisations and over 15 associates. Each partner organisation is tasked to bring 2-3 young people who they have trusting relationships with, this particularly includes care experienced children and those whose rights are most likely to be breached due to inequalities.

Currently all meetings are being held online, but they hope to organise at least one in-person meeting in the new year to help build relationships. 

Juliet encouraged anyone seeking consultation with children and young people to reach out to the consortium. 

Update from Observatory on Theory of Change project

Eloise Di Gianni provided a presentation of the Theory of Change project and the work being undertaken by Matter of Focus. 

The project started in November and aims to define a collective vision for UNCRC Implementation across the sector. This is due to finish in March 2022 however the evaluation and monitoring work will also link in with this project (which goes beyond March). GS noted that findings from this work will also provide some evidence and background for monitoring and evaluation as we go forward.

EDG agreed to share presentation with members, including EDG’s contact info if members want to get in touch.


  • LL to share Theory of Change presentation containing EDG contact details with members

Minutes and actions from previous meeting 

There was one action from the last meeting which is still outstanding:


  • terms of reference (ToR) to reflect ability to call exceptional meetings as required and to note permission to share confidential material on request of SG. LL to update the ToR to reflect this and update the group page ahead of the next meeting

Published introductory guidance and cover letter – next steps

The Scottish Government announced on World Children’s Day (19 November) the following publications: 

The Chair thanked members for their tremendous efforts in drafting the Introductory Guidance, which has since been shared widely accompanied by a cover letter to all public bodies in our latest contact list. 

Chair confirmed there is currently no update on statutory guidance, the Children’s Rights Unit are undertaking engagement and looking at remedial actions for the UNCRC Bill. This is something we will come back to the group with once there is more information. 

Innovation Fund project overview

Chair introduced Lesleyann Russell who has joined the team to work on Improvement and Innovation. The Chair and LR provided a high-level overview of the National Improvement Programme, and the key projects within, including the Innovation Fund. 

There are still some areas that need further exploration, for example, how can those in the workforce share that learning? Once someone undertakes the Skills and Knowledge Framework, what support is actually available to support individuals to undertake a child-rights based approach in their work? Resourcing and capacity building should both be taken into consideration in this approach. 

Funding is currently set at £550k, and will be kept under review over the lifetime of the Programme. The SG hopes to get a supplier in place by March 2022 so applications and funding can begin directly after. 

LR offered to have individual conversations with members who are interested in this area, and welcomed any questions.

Members mentioned that multi agency applications would be welcomed to allow organisations to look at issues collectively, with the right partners involved. LR confirmed that this is possible, but we would need to consider the size and scope of that fund. 

Chair encouraged members to review the paper and make any comments on Objective Connect. 


The next meeting is scheduled for 24 January 2022. 

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