UNCRC Implementation: Guidance Reference Group minutes: 21 June 2021

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Nicola Hughes (Chair), Scottish Government – NH 
  • Helen Fogarty, Scottish Government – HF 
  • Lawrence Mearns (Minutes), Scottish Government – LM
  • Deborah Davison, ADES – DD 
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL 
  • Morag Driscoll, Law Society of Scotland – MD 
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland – CC 
  • Deborah Wason, Public Health Scotland – DW
  • Maria Doyle, Together – MD 
  • Lucinda Rivers, Unicef – LR  
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN 
  • Suzanne Brown, SCRON – SB 
  • Juliet Harris, Together - JH
  • Kavita Chetty, Scottish Human Rights Commission - KC
  • Kenny Meechan, Glasgow City Council / SOLAR  -KM
  • Sarah Rodger, SOLAR  - SR


  • Alison Sutherland, Social Work Scotland - AS
  • Jill Laspa, COSLA – JG 
  • Elaine Sutherland, Law Society of Scotland - ES
  • Julie Williams, CCPS – JW 
  • Joanne Glennie, CCPS – JG 
  • Luiza Leite – Scottish Government - LL

Items and actions

Welcome and introduction

Chair welcomed members, followed by introductions and updates on the following key issues from HF: 

UNCRC Implementation Programme – The first meeting of the Strategic Implementation Board will take place on 1 July. A fourth stand has been added to the Scottish Government implementation programme which will focus working with public authorities and the children’s rights and wider third sector to collaboratively address issues which prevent children experiencing their rights, and develop an evaluation framework for implementation.  

Supreme Court – date set to take place on 28th and 29th June 

HF noted that whilst the reference will be at the end of June we do not know when a judgement from the Supreme Court will be reached. However, the implementation work continues to proceed at pace, consistent with the case being before the court.


  • Chair to provide update to members following Supreme Court reference and 1st meeting of Implementation Board at next meeting of Working Group

Minutes and actions from previous meeting

A group page on the SG website has been established and an invitation to the Objective Connect folder has been shared with members. 


  • LL to place all Working Group papers and minutes on Objective Connect

Phase 1: update on our approach to guidance/consultation

Chair provided an overview of paper which set out Scottish Government’s intended approach and timeline for the publication of the Phase 1 and subsequent sets of guidance and a public consultation to inform the development of statutory guidance. The paper sets out that the Phase 1 guidance will be accompanied with a public consultation, and child-friendly consultation, which will inform the development of the statutory guidance. 


  • JH requested that the public consultation provide public authorities with an opportunity to flag where they believe legislation may be incompatible 

Phase 1 guidance: potential topics for inclusion 

Chair provided an overview of a paper which set out potential topics for inclusion in the different phases of guidance. 


  • members requested that following elements be included as part of the Phase 1 guidance:

- making clear to public authorities that they must consider the detail of how children’s rights apply in their own sectors
- a section on the distinction between reserved and devolved functions when considering the extent of the compatibility duty
- an overview of the wider human rights framework and ongoing work of the HR taskforce to encourage public bodies to consider this broader context
- a reminder for public bodies that legislation must be read in a way which is compatible and that the compatibility duty applies all of individuals undertaking functions of a public nature within the powers of the Scottish Parliament 
- a section providing a framework or process for assessing compatibility and which also makes clear that this should include data collection, evaluation and identifying those children whose rights are at risk of not being fulfilled


  • NH and HF to meet with SR to discuss the work of SOLAR to review compatibility


DN suggested that the Terms of Reference be amended to make the time frame of the Working Group open ended. 

The Terms of Reference, as drafted, does not place a time limit on the Group and instead sets out that the Working Group will support the development of Phase 2 and Phase 3 guidance.


  • members are asked to confirm that they are content that timeframe for the Working Group set out in the current Terms of Reference is sufficiently flexible and requires no further amendment  
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