UNCRC Implementation Guidance Reference Group minutes: 4 October 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) Implementation Guidance Reference Group held on 4 October 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Helen Fogarty (Chair), Scottish Government – HF
  • Luiza Leite (Minutes), Scottish Government – LL
  • Billy Pugh (Minutes), Scottish Government – BP
  • Aoife Charles, Scottish Government – AC
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
  • Suzanne Brown, SCRON – SB
  • Cathy Assante, Scottish Human Rights Commission – CA
  • Maria Doyle, Together – MDO
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland – CC
  • Daniel Cosgrove (on behalf of Lucinda Rivers), Unicef – DC
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL
  • Deborah Davison, ADES - DD
  • Anna Munro, Scottish Government – AM
  • Morag Driscoll, Law Society of Scotland – MD

Items and actions

Introduction and updates on key issues

The Chair welcomed attendees and provided the following updates:

The Supreme Court will issue its judgment on Wednesday 6 October at 9:45am. SG will consider the implications of that judgment carefully.

Members agreed it would be useful to hold an additional meeting once the judgement is issued to discuss next steps and how this impacts on the guidance. An extrordinary meeting will be set up for Monday 11 October.

The fourth strategic implementation board meeting took place on Thursday 30th September. The agenda included input from Together, Children’s Parliament and an overview of the draft Raising Awareness Strategy from Shelly Coyne, SG. 

Minutes and actions from previous meeting

Minutes from the previous meeting on 27 September 2021 have been agreed. No points of accuracy received.

The Chair provided the following update on actions from the previous meeting:

  • based on members’ feedback, a slide providing examples of CRWIAs that have helped decision-making have been added to the draft guidance
  • additional quotes from Children’s Parliament have been added to the draft guidance, with thanks to MD and Together
  • chair confirmed with DN that SG has access to a suite of UNICEF branding which can be used for future communications and guidance

Update on Introductory Guidance and survey closure

A revised version of the draft guidance based on members feedback and survey responses was shared with members on Thursday 30 September.

Members discussed whether to delay publication of the guidsance to allow the points raised in the feedback to be addressed in full. It was agreed that not at all the points were suitable for introductory guidance (such as sector specific guidance) and these points could be addressed in later phases of the guidance and/or other support materials. Given the requests from public authorities and third sector service providers for introductory guidance, members agreed that SG should proceed with publication preparations with a view to sign off at the additional meeting on Monday 11 October, depending on the outcome of the SC reference.

Chair detailed revisions made to draft guidance, which were generally received positively. Members discussed further revisions, including:

Page 13, changes suggested by members

Evolving capacities

This slide should be amended to include a sentence highlighting the difference between capacity as described within the UNCRC and legal capacity as a concept within Scottish Law.

Page (?), changes suggested by members

A sentence clearly stating that children’s rights should not be seen as in competition with adults’ rights.

Page 18, changes suggested by members


Removal of a sentence linking wellbeing and children’s rights, as complexity of connections between the two is judged to be too great for introductory guidance. Suggestions made that additional lines could be added to reinforce the impact of positive wellbeing as an outcome of rights being respected.

Action: officials to amend slide 13 to provide clarity on differing definitions of evolving capacities under the UNCRC and legal capacity in Scottish Law.

Action: officials to remove line connecting children’s rights and wellbeing on slide 18.

Action: update the references to make clear the judgment has arrived.

Action: add a line that children and adult human rights are equal, not one being of higher importance than another.

Action: officials to make above adjustments and prepare guidance for final consideration on Monday 11 October, subject to SC judgement.

Communications and awareness raising

BP provided an update on status of communications plan created for launch of introductory guidance, and progress on scoping separate UNCRC implementation branding. Advice from marketing colleagues emphasised the importance of a distinction between the creation of a separate ‘brand’ and a separate set of designs and imagery to be used in UNCRC implementation guidance and communications, as there is significantly greater work that would be required to create a bespoke brand.

BP stated that he was awaiting feedback from GIRFEC and Strategy colleagues and would provide members with a further update at the next meeting.

Chair asked for opinions on the draft cover letter shared with colleagues. Members were generally happy with the content but DL suggested creating a separate, more targeted letter for public bodies with a reporting duty.

Action: officials to continue scoping with SG colleagues to discuss possible creation of separate branding and provide an update at the next meeting of the WG.

Action: officials to create a separate, targeted cover letter to be published with introductory guidance sent to public bodies with a reporting duty.

Action: WG to provide any additional feedback on covering letter.

CRWIA review update

AC provided an update on progress with the CRWIA review, noting that a revised style of guidance would be tested with stakeholders in order to meet the requirements of the 2018-2021 action plan.

AC detailed changes made to the CRWIA, such as the inclusion of articles of the UNCRC in an Annex, and the addition of a review and monitoring section with reference to wellbeing outcomes, and general streamlining of the process.

AC noted that the intended publication date for revised CRWIA is 20 November.

Future meetings of short-term working group

NH enquired about WG interest in broadening the group’s remit to become a reference group for the entire ‘Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Authorities’ strand, formalising and extending the life of the group. NH asked members if they had any suggestions for potential new members. Members were in agreement. NH will confirm this with the SIB and keep the group updated as we update our Terms of Reference.

NH also suggested a brief pause in WG meetings following the publication of introductory guidance might be needed to allow space to complete ongoing work and enable focused and substantive meetings in the future. Members were also receptive to this request.

Action: officials to discuss progress of creation of working groups for each different strand within the team.

Action: officials to update the terms of reference for the Working Group.

Action: members to suggest any additional members to reflect the wider purpose.


Next meeting is scheduled for Monday 11 October 2021.

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