UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board minutes: March 2022

Minutes for the ninth meeting of the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board on the 31st March 2022.

Attendees and apologies

Members of the Board

  • Michael Chalmers, Chair, Scottish Government
  • Laura Caven, CoSLA
  • Jennifer Davidson, Institute for Inspiring Children's Futures
  • Richmond Davies, Public Health Scotland
  • Juliet Harris, Together
  • Louise Hunter, CCPS
  • Dragan Nastic, UNICEF
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland

Other attendees

  • Carola Eyber, Children’s Rights Unit
  • Amy Harron, Joint Unit Head Children’s Rights Unit
  • Nicola Hughes, Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services
  • Liz Levy, Joint Unit Head Children’s Rights Unit
  • Natalie Nixon (minute taker) UNCRC Programme Officer
  • Andrew Preston UNCRC Programme Assistant
  • Lesleyann Russell, Children’s Rights Unit
  • Kaylie Shaw, Children’s Rights Unit
  • Lauren Sorrell, UNCRC Programme Office Team Leader
  • Katy Connelly, SGLD Trainee
  • Poppy Prior, SGLD
  • Emma Bond, Police Scotland
  • Gayle Devlin, Social Security Scotland
  • Jane Donaldson, Police Scotland
  • Jacqui Dunbar, Rights Right Now!
  • Laura Lundy, Queens University Belfast
  • Jim McMillan, Police Scotland
  • Jane Millar, Together
  • Aileen Nicol, Care Inspectorate
  • Parisa Shirazi, Children in Scotland
  • Shona Spence, Bill Legacy Team Leader in Children’s Right Unit
  • Key Tisdall, University of Edinburgh, associated with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland
  • Clare Whyte, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Jacqui Dunbar, Rights Right Now!
  • Laura Lundy, Queens University Bristol
  • Kay Tisdall, University of Edinburgh, associated with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland


  • Michael Cameron, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Jaci Douglas, CALA Childcare
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Fiona Mcfarlane, The Promise
  • Donna MacLean, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Des Murray, SOLACE
  • Aidan McCrory, Care Inspectorate
  • Ashleigh Pitcairn, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Carol Potter, NHS Fife
  • Ann Bell, Police Scotland
  • David Wallace, Social Security Scotland

Items and actions

Attendees and apologies

Michael Chalmers (MC), Chair, welcomed everyone to the ninth meeting of the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board. He informed the Board that some young people would join the meeting later for the Rights Right Now! item.

Minutes and actions from 24 February 2022

Michael noted that the secretariat had shared the minutes from February’s meeting on Thursday 24 March and that no comments had been received by the secretariat so far. Any comments should be shared with the secretariat by Friday 15 April to allow for publication on the SIB webpage.

Members were reminded that it was important that they were comfortable with how discussion was captured as minutes were made publicly available.

Michael advised that the action for CoSLA to provide an update to the board would be discussed later in the meeting, under item five on the Board's terms of reference.

UNCRC programme board update

Amy introduced herself to the Board. Amy leads on the Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services and the Rights Resolution workstreams.

Amy discussed the Highlight Report which issued to members on Monday. This is a new style of report which more clearly highlights key deliverables and priorities. It shows both priorities for the next month as well as the twelve months ahead. The report  is still a work in progress but should be more useful to ensure we are on track for delivery and provide more transparency about the programme of work underway to implement UNCRC. 

Progress from the last month includes that we extended the tender for the new consortium. This has now closed and applications are being assessed.

Amy discussed the priorities for the next month. This includes work on internal mapping of advocacy, policy work and scoping for the children’s rights scheme. We will bring these items back to future Board meetings as the work progresses. This will allow us to share our thinking and provide updates.

Amy mentioned that the 2021 cabinet takeover report and commitments from the 2021 takeover will be published next month. We will share these with SIB if helpful.

Nicola to provide an update on the knowledge and skills framework and innovation fund deep dive at agenda item seven. The insights from this were very valuable and helped to shape our work going forward. Amy asked the Board to let us know if they would like deep dive sessions on any other aspects of the work listed in the highlight report.

We have given thought to how to strengthen our communication for public authorities to share information and practice underway to plan for incorporation. The intention is to issue regular programme updates to public authorities. This will include information on, for example, the status of the Bill, planning and work currently underway by public authorities and resources and support available at a national level.

The Improvement Service Forum will provide an opportunity for senior leaders within local authorities to share good practice and challenges and will also provide a direct route to feedback any issues to the Scottish Government. We have asked for this to be up and running as a matter of urgency.

Some questions were generated on the back of this:

  • how will the timelines for the discussions with UK Government (on options for extending the Scottish Parliament’s powers to incorporate UNCRC) impact on planning for reconsideration stage? Michael replied that we are not in a position to report back yet on how those discussions have concluded. Liz clarified that these discussion are taking place in parallel with planning for reconsideration
  • a couple of members said they appreciated how clear the new Highlight Report format was. It was suggested and agreed that we change the RAG status of items reliant on the Bill receiving Royal Assent to amber rather than green
  • whether the public awareness raising campaign could comment sooner than 2023

ACTION: Liz to discuss with Paul the timelines for launching the campaign and whether we can launch this sooner.

Update on progress in addressing the Supreme Court judgement

It was acknowledged that this month marked a year since the Bill was unanimously passed by the parliament. Discussions with the UK Government on options to extend our powers to incorporate the UNCRC are ongoing in parallel with plans to bring the Bill back for reconsideration stage. Next steps are for Deputy First Minister to make a statement to Parliament when we can provide more clarity about this. The Board  would be notified as soon as we know when DFM is to make his statement. At that point targeted engagement will begin with stakeholders. Thereafter the Bill would require to be returned to the Scottish Parliament via the Reconsideration stage. This is the first time Reconsideration stage will have been done and it is hoped that cross party interest to pass this Bill will allow it to proceed quickly through Parliament.

Update on refining terms of reference of the Board

A small sub-group of SIB met on the 29 March to review the Board’s Terms of Reference and to consider whether we need to refocus the papers or add or remove anything from the agenda in future to help us to better focus on the remit.   The overall aim to the SIB is to provide strategic oversight of the UNCRC implementation programme.

There was agreement that the Terms of Reference are comprehensive. The only suggested change was the reference, in the section on remit, to seeking assurance that "costs remain within budget forecasts and resources are being fully utilised". That seems like an internal Scottish Government responsibility and it's not something that we’ve brought to SIB over its nine meetings so far. Liz asked the Board if anyone had objections to removing this from the terms of reference and none were received. It was also agreed that we make clear, in the first bullet under remit, what is meant by "governance principles" and adding in some language from earlier in the terms of reference about proportionate, effective, balanced and transparent decision making. 

Action – Programme Office to share a revised Terms of Reference with the SIB to reflect these changes.

It was also agreed:

  • that the new highlight report will help the Board identify work that they’d like us to feature at the meetings in more depth
  • that we dedicate a future meeting to working through the final product from the Theory of Change work and make sure there are strong connections between this and our programme of work
  • we’ll share with the Board our Project Initiation Documents for each of the projects in the programme
  • we’ll have a session with the Board on the monitoring and evaluation strategy that we’ll use to assess whether the programme is making a difference
  • the Programme Office will work up a risk register and share that and a regular ‘risk heat map’ with the Board
  • the consortium will continue at attend meetings to identify when we need input from children and young people
  • we’ll set out the details of the range of groups that are being set up to support the programme
  • the Board will help to scope out content for a new programme update for public authorities to strengthen our external communication

Eileen Nicol suggested that we could do more to demonstrate the connections between delivering The Promise and UNCRC implementation. Liz explained that we’d tried to make clear in The Promise Implementation Plan how UNCRC would support delivery of The Promise. Eileen suggested that we could also demonstrate how delivery of The Promise underlines the importance of taking a children’s rights approach. Michael stated that The Promise, GIRFEC and UNCRC were pillars and that we want to get better at making cross references.

It was agreed that meetings shouldn’t be about holding public services to account and so updates on what organisations represented on the Board are doing to plan for incorporation would be better covered in the programme update which would be shared more widely with other public authorities. The SIB might however be a useful forum for identifying which organisations to approach for this.

We renewed our commitment to circulate an agenda and other relevant papers one week in advance of each meeting and issue draft minutes and actions within one week of each meeting.

Liz asked the SIB how they felt about the frequency of these meetings. There was agreement that the monthly meetings should remain for now but the Board agreed to cancel the meeting scheduled for April to give the team space for some annual leave and to progress some of the products mentioned above.

Overview of the Lundy Model of participation

Professor Laura Lundy joined the meeting to share her model of participation. This was a taster session for the longer version on Monday 4th April (3-5pm). This will consider our progress in developing child rights-based governance between the Strategic Implementation Board and children and young people.

The journey for this model started in Northern Ireland 18 years who when Professor Lundy saw that adults focusing on the right of the child were not seeking the views of children or taking them seriously.

Professor Lundy stated that there are 4 main aspects to this model:

  • space: safe, comfortable and inclusive spaces are needed for meaningful participation
  • voice: participation must be voluntary; enable an understanding of the issues to allow for informed views; and the right to all children capable of expressing a view of being able to be heard
  • audience: active listening; informing children of who is asking questions and why; those asking need to show they are listening and what they are going to do with this information
  • influence: being realistic with children about parameters of any input; seeking feedback which is critical for accountability. There is a framework as part of this model for gaining feedback

The Irish Government has now produced a framework on participation. Secretariat shared this with the Board on Tuesday 29 March. This framework is encompassing of all government departments and was co-produced. It contains the feedback sheet mentioned previously.

A member asked Professor Lundy whether keeping this work going on a permanent basis was challenging. She responded that this work has been ongoing since 2012 and successive governments and parties have remained committed. There has been great funding, training and children involved at all levels. There is room for improvement but this has been approached in a very comprehensive way with regards to training and resources.

Update from Together/Rights Right Now!

This item was led by Parisa Shirazi, from Children in Scotland, Oscar and Ramine from Rights Right Now!

Oscar and Ramine presented to the Board with a quick warm-up that required some participation in the chat box. They shared their insights into the work of the group, celebrated their achievements, and offered suggestions of next steps for the main Consortium.

When asked about why they got involved they informed the Board that it was really interesting work. They wanted to make a difference, they felt it  was important for everyone to know about children’s rights.

They discussed that children of all ages from across Scotland took part in these meetings. They often involved discussions about issues they cared about. They mentioned that people from the Scottish Government came to speak with them at these meeting.

They said that they enjoyed meetings new people and seeing how adults react to and think about their rights. They enjoyed the confidence that these meetings gave them and said everyone was friendly and made them feel included. Ramine mentioned that the breakout rooms were especially helpful way of allowing members to express themselves.

When asked what the project achieved they said it allowed for a framework to be set out for how children should be listened to  in decisions about UNCRC  incorporation  It also highlighted that some people, including adults, may not know as much as others about children’s rights.

When asked if they had a message to those working with or for children both said it would be good to involve teachers - either through bringing them along to these meetings or by including children’s rights in the curriculum.

When asked what they would like to see change in the Scottish Government they said that they would like to see more people be aware of children’s rights and also to see children be more involved.

They finished their input by saying thank you for being part of the meeting, and that it was good to know that adults cared about children’s rights.

Feedback on the Skills and Knowledge Framework and the Innovation Fund

Nicola led an item on feedback from two papers that were shared with the Board on the 15 February.

Feedback was received from Police Scotland and North Lanarkshire Council. Nicola sought members views on the eligibility criteria of the Fund, on Public, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector organisations. 

Nicola said she recognised more could be done around capacity building and that this is being looked into. With regards to the Innovation Fund, Nicola sought further feedback from SIB members on whether or not the Fund should be targeted at children who are furthest from their rights being met and whether PVI applicants should be eligible to apply as sole or lead applicants.

Nicola also invited the Board to think about anything that could be done to strengthen the fund. She was particularly keen for feedback on how children could be involved in the development and delivery of the fund.

Due to time constraints, there wasn’t the opportunity to have a full discussion.  Nicola committed to following this up via correspondence.


Michael informed the Board that there would not be a meeting in April and the next meeting of the Board would be on the 26 May.

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