UNCRC Implementation Guidance Reference Group minutes: 18 October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Implementation Guidance Reference Group held on 18 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Nicola Hughes (Chair) Scottish Government – NH
  • Luiza Leite (Minutes), Scottish Government – LL 
  • Billy Pugh (Minutes), Scottish Government – BP 
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL 
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
  • Maria Doyle, Together – MD 
  • Suzanne Brown, SCRON – SB 
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland – CC
  • Afson Barekat, Scottish Government – AB
  • Deborah Davison, ADES – DD
  • Deborah Wason, Public Health Scotland – DW 
  • Alison Sutherland, Social Work Scotland – AS 
  • Sarah Rodger, SOLAR – SR 
  • Morag Driscoll, Law Society of Scotland – MDR 

Items and actions

UNCRC (Scotland) (Incorporation) Act 2021 – Guidance Reference Group
Monday 18 October 2021 – Note of meeting

Welcome and introductions

Chair welcomed attendees and noted that due to staff absences the guidance has not yet been internally reviewed. The revised guidance and cover letter will be shared with members for feedback as soon as possible.

Skills and Knowledge Framework 

Chair gave a brief summary of the intentions behind the Skills and Knowledge Framework (SKF), noting that there has been a longstanding desire for an improved approach to capacity building around embedding children’s rights. Chair stated that SG’s approach has been informed by the Trauma Informed Framework, which offers a tiered approach to capacity building. 

Chair highlighted that there are significant challenges and unanswered questions regarding the tiered approach, especially with regards to the type and extent of knowledge required for practitioners at each tier, in light of the diversity of roles and organisations covered by the SKF. 

Chair stated that the biggest challenge is implementation, especially within local contexts, where local authorities must prioritise training based on practitioner need, and be supported to drive the cultural change required. 

Chair recognised that there is a significant amount of resources currently available in this space, and that mapping will have to be undertaken to identify gaps and prevent duplication; the SKF is intended to assist with the creation of a shared narrative around children’s rights, a common resource that offers a comprehensive suite of resources.
Chair emphasised that SG will be developing mechanisms to help public authorities assess compliance with the UNCRC as the SKF develops, and drew attention to the National Improvement Programme, which will assist public authorities to evaluate their current practice and make evidence-based improvements and innovations.   

CC enquired about the possibility of undertaking a workforce needs analysis in order to ensure that training is appropriately targeted to the needs of practitioners. 

Chair agreed that this is something that SG will look into, and asked members for suggestions of organisations that specialise in workforce needs analysis. 

DW enquired about intersections between children’s rights and data, and how organisations should develop a children’s rights approach to data management, suggesting that data management practices should be incorporated into the SKF. 

Chair highlighted that the SKF is intended to apply to all workers, including data processors and controllers. Chair suggested that this question raises a broader point about specificity and universality within the SKF, where depth of information may need to be carefully considerd, in order to attend to the breadth of roles and processes covered under the SKF.

Chair emphasised that a key consideration was consistency of language and terminology, as previous scoping exercises with stakeholders had demonstrated that practitioners felt that this was important. Officials will be focusing on the explicit development of consistent language and terminology in order to promote consistent approaches to embedding children’s rights across public authorities.

Members discussed questions around the definition of a child in Scottish law and the UNCRC, emphasising that specific content should be incorporated into the SKF to ensure clarity for public authorities. It was agreed that the definition of a child should be clear so practitioners know it applies to them (16/17 year olds not categorised as children in some contexts.)

Chair asked for members’ views on the possibility of a ‘dual purpose’ SKF, which would cover both duty-bearers and rights-holders.

Members expressed agreement that the SKF should contain resources for children, parents, and carers, with links to important content embedded within documents. MD raised a concern that attempting to integrate the format needs of both public authorities and children and young people may prove challenging. 

Chair welcomed members’ views and suggested that officials were looking to create interactive, engaging, and accessible materials comprising animations and interactive features alongside text, and that it was intended to sit separately from the SG publications website. 

Chair asked for members’ views on the best way to meaningfully involve children and young people in the development and implementation of the SKF.

Members agreed that any efforts to involve children should focus on often overlooked or vulnerable groups. Members suggested that officials discuss potential efforts to engage with children with the Children and Young People’s Consortium.

Chair agreed to enquire about progress of Children and Young People’s Consortium with Sara Hampson. 

DL stated that Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs¬) each had unique mechanisms for engaging with children and young people, and in order to tap into these mechanisms, officials would need to reach out to individual CPPs.

Discussion followed on parental rights and responsibilities, and the importance of raising awareness. Members would be interested in helping shape that. 

Chair suggested that Shelly Coyne, leading parental awareness-raising work, speak to members at a future meeting. Members agreed that this would be beneficial. 

Overall members agreed the Framework should be dual aspect, and apply to duty bearers and rights holders. Chair encouraged members to make any comments on the Framework version available on Objective Connect.


  • Chair to enquire about the possibility of Shelly Coyne presenting work on parental awareness raising to members
  • SG to revise Skills and Knowledge Framework and share with the Reference Group
  • SG to share the guidance and cover letter with Reference Group once internally reviewed
  • members to share examples of organisations that undertake workplace needs analysis


The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 1 November.

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