UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board minutes: 30 September 2021

Minutes from the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board meeting on 30 September 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families, Scottish Government
  • Teja Bapuram, UNCRC Programme Manager, Children’s Rights Unit, Scottish Government
  • Afson Barekat, Scottish Government Legal Department
  • Michael Cameron, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Aoife Charles, Policy Officer, Children’s Rights Unit, Scottish Government
  • Kavita Chetty, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Jennifer Davidson, Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures
  • Jaci Douglas, CALA Childcare
  • Helen Fogarty, Joint Head of Children’s Rights Unit, Scottish Government
  • Eddie Folan, CoSLA
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Juliet Harris, Together
  • Nicola Hughes, Programme Lead – Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services, Scottish Government
  • Louise Hunter, CCPS
  • Linda Jones, Police Scotland (substituting for Gary Kerr)
  • Kay McCorquodale, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Donna McLean, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Anna Munro, Scottish Government Legal Department
  • Craig Morris, Care Inspectorate
  • Dragan Nastic, UNICEF
  • Natalie Nixon, UNCRC Programme Officer - Minute Taker
  • Andrew Preston, UNCRC Programme Assistant
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Lauren Sorrell, UNCRC Programme Lead, Scottish Government
  • Grace Vickers, SOLACE
  • David Wallace, Social Security Scotland
  • Gina Wilson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland


  • three members of the Children’s Parliament, joined along with Cathy McCulloch, Rona Blackwood and Katie Reid
  • Jane Miller, Participation Lead, to support Juliet Harris


  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Louise Halpin, Human Rights Bill Team Leader in Scottish Government
  • Will Kerr, Police Scotland
  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland
  • Fi McFarlane, The Promise
  • Carol Potter, NHS Fife
  • Lesley Sheppard, Deputy Director for Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice, Scottish Government
  • David Wallace, Social Security Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Michael Chalmers, Chair, introduced everyone to the meeting and gave an especially warm welcome to the guests from Children’s Parliament. As an ice breaker everyone was asked what their favourite ice cream flavour was which generated a lot of conversation. Members of the Children’s Parliament told members about new ice cream flavours including ‘mermaid’ and ‘unicorn’.

Michael informed the Board that the Supreme Court Judgement will be published on Wednesday 6 October. This will be live streamed on Wednesday afternoon.

Minutes and actions from 26 august

Michael went through the apologies for the meeting and explained to the members of Children’s Parliament what this means.

The minutes from the 30 September 2021 meeting were approved with no amendments suggested.

Rights-based approach to children’s participation and engagement

Michael introduced Katie and the three members of the Children’s Parliament. Katie asked for the three members to introduce themselves and then asked them some questions.

Katie mentioned that the members of the Children’s Parliament had been involved in designing a website and setting up a journal ‘The Corona Times’ when lockdown began. Katie mentioned that a lot of adults said how important this journal was for them to understand the impact of lockdown on children.

Katie asked them what being a member of the Children’s Parliament means to them? The members gave the following answers:

  • it was good to see a project like children’s rights become a reality as this means if they are unhealthy, unhappy or unsafe someone will have to listen and deal with it
  • getting to be part of a project and working with a big group to help make children’s rights real and give them a real voice in political decisions
  • having our opinions heard and taken into account also getting to meet new people and making friends for life

Katie then asked what it feels like when adults listen and take them seriously? The members said it made them feel happy and more likely to talk about their feelings. Also that they feel proud and happy to feel like they have impacted on something.

The members were then asked what helps them and other children feel they can have their say? The members said that when adults are open and don’t talk over them, being able to attend these calls and talk about the things that impact on them and having no judgement by creating a space where they can talk about their opinions.

The Board asked the Children’s Parliament members some questions about how to better involve children and young people. Some suggestions were mentioned:

  • make sure the meetings are at a time that suits children, make the meetings comfortable and have cake, make it easy for children to talk if they feel comfortable to do so, an example of using buttons was given as a way to do this
  • don’t be patronising, treat young people like people with views and opinions
  • do not contradict or interrupt, there are better ways of doing this than telling children they are wrong
  • be direct and honest when things are not achievable, this is better than thinking that something is possible when it is not
  • include children in more decisions and stay in contact, this way children will know that they are valued
  • allowing children to vote on decisions that impact on them

The members of the Children’s Parliament had to leave after their item as it was the end of the school day. Michael thanked all for their attendance and input.

Update on the children and young people consortium

Jane Miller, who is on secondment with Together as the Participation Lead, presented on Together’s work to coordinate the Children and Young People’s Interim Consortium.

Partner organisations for the interim consortium have now been selected and recruited. Together has undertaken training with Partners and Associates on child protection, trauma informed practice and monitoring and evaluation.

Jane said that Together is keen to work with organisations that work with a diverse group of children and young people. Partner selection was supported by an expert panel including Professor Laura Lundy, the Observatory for Children’s Human Rights Scotland and Together members with expertise in participation.

At this stage, Together are working with up to 18 children and young people and have also recruited 13 to 14 associate members to support this work. Together is eager to hear from younger aged children and plans to work with organisations including Starcatchers and LicketySpit to ensure these children are also involved and their views taken into account. Work with associates will also help to inform recommendations for the ultimate Children and Young People’s Consortium.

The first meeting with children and young people is due to take place on the 14 to 15 October. In advance of this on the week beginning the 4 October, they are working with partner organisations to prepare and ensure they are creating a safe space.

SIB members were asked to think about three things:

  • head (what do we need to think about for this work?)
  • heart (what are our values?)
  • hand (how do we achieve our aims and how we are going to work together?)

Jane ended her input by requesting members get in touch to let her know if they were able to attend the first Consortium meeting with children and young people.


  • those who have yet to submit a video biography were asked if they could do so

  • together asked if two to three members of the Board could attend on the 14 or 15 October

International evidence and learning

Dragan Nastic, UNICEF UK presented to the Board, discussing approaches on implementation of the UNCRC from across the world. This covered approaches to law reform, impact of incorporation and lessons learnt.

Dragan said that UNICEF update their data and research on this in order to assess how governments are doing with regards to UNCRC implementation. This is made available on the UNICEF website. In 2022 there will be an update on this which will be available on the UNICEF website along with guidance and guidelines.

The approaches to implementation the UNCRC vary from one country to another due to various factors such as differences in legislative frameworks. Dragan stated that legislative reform was vital though only one part of the solution. This needs to be set up with other institutions for effective wider implementation such as budgets and social policies.

Dragan informed Board that there will be a lecture on the 20 October, by Ursula Kilkelly which will go into this comparative and international analysis in more detail. This event will be hosted by Rights of the Child (ROCK) UK along with another event on the 3 November, looking at UNCRC lessons from Scotland.


It was agreed that agenda item seven from today, covering an update on the UNCRC Implementation Programme would be discussed at the next meeting instead.


  • Helen Fogarty and Nicola Hughes agreed to share a paper covering agenda item seven in advance of a dedicated discussion at the next meeting

Michael Chalmers reminded members of the two events by ROCK UK Dragan discussed in his update.

An ask was made to members to share their reflections at the next Board meeting about what activities are being undertaken by public bodies in relation to implementation and to feedback on any challenges to date.

Michael Chalmers closed the meeting by informing the Board that the next meeting will be held on Thursday 28 October 2021.

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