UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board minutes: August 2022

Attendees and apologies

Scottish Government

  • Michael Chalmers (Chair), Director for Children and Families
  • Andrew Preston, UNCRC Programme Assistant
  • Dean Snape, UNCRC Project Manager
  • Kaylie Shaw, Policy Support Officer
  • Lawrence Mearns, Children’s Rights Resolution Programme Manager
  • Liz Levy, Joint Head of Children’s Rights Unit
  • Lyndsey Saki, Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services Programme Lead
  • Nicola Hughes, Joint Head of Children’s Rights Unit
  • Paul Gorman, Empowered Children and Young People Programme Lead
  • Poppy Prior, SGLD
  • Shona Spence, UNCRC Bill Lead
  • Eilidh Walker (minutes), UNCRC Programme Assistant

Members of the Board

  • Aileen Nicol on behalf of Craig Morris, The Care Inspectorate
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Chloe Riddell, The Promise Scotland
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Colin Convery, Police Scotland
  • Des Murray, SOLACE
  • Dragan Nastic, UNICEF
  • Gary Ritchie, Police Scotland
  • Gayle Devlin on behalf of David Wallace, Social Security Scotland
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Gina Wilson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Jennifer Davidson, Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures
  • Juliet Harris, Together Scotland
  • Katy Kelman on behalf of Kay McCorquodale, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services
  • Laura Pasternak, Coalition of Care and Support Providers (CCPS)
  • Michael Cameron, Scottish Housing Regulator


  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland
  • Ashleigh Pitcairn, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services
  • Barbara Bolton, Scottish Human Rights Commission
  • Ben Gaston, SGLD
  • Carol Potter, NHS Fife
  • Craig Morris, Care Inspectorate
  • David Wallace, Social Security Scotland
  • Donna MacLean, Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Jaci Douglas, Care and Learning Alliance (CALA)
  • Kay McCorquodale, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services
  • Laura Caven, Coalition of Scottish Local Authorities
  • Lauren Sorrell, UNCRC Implementation Programme Lead
  • Tom McNamara, Deputy Director, Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice
  • Victoria Morton, SGLD

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Michael Chalmers (MC) welcomed the Board and noted apologies. New members Chloe Riddell from The Promise and Laura Pasternak from Coalition of Care and Support Providers Scotland (CCPS) were introduced.

Minutes and actions from last meeting

Minutes from the meeting of 30 June 2022 were shared with members and no amendments have been requested.

There were 11 actions from the meeting on 30 June 2022. Eight have been completed and three are ongoing. They are as follows:

  • Nicola Hughes to come back to a future meeting to set out proposed eligibility criteria and scoring framework for the Innovation Fund. The exact timescale for this is still to be confirmed
  • a paper aligning the UNCRC Implementation Programme with the Theory of Change (ToC) was discussed at the meeting on 30 June 2022. We will bring this back to SIB as we update our programme of work in the new year
  • Ashleigh Pitcairn (AP) to forward a letter sent from the Lord President’s Private Office (LPPO) detailing what courts are doing to make processes as child friendly as possible. This action is pending

Katy Kelman, deputy for Scottish Courts and Tribunal Services, agreed to pick up the last action with AP on her return.

Members brought clarification on an action from the meeting on 30 June 2022 around the involvement of children under 14 in upcoming consultation work. This is in relation to national participation guidance.

Action: Paul Gorman to share information on the national participation guidance with Juliet Harris

UNCRC Programme Board update

Members received two highlight reports ahead of the meeting on 25 August 2022. The first was shared on 28 July 2022 in the absence of a July meeting and the second on 18 August 2022. Due to time constraints on the agenda, and to increase time in meetings for discussion of strategic matters, this paper will from now on be presented for noting, rather than discussion. Future iterations of the highlight report will provide updates by exception only. As such, members should consider highlight reports ahead of the meeting and come prepared with questions.

The board noted the importance of ensuring the highlight report includes progress on priorities from previous months. Some instances were identified where priorities from the previous month had dropped off the subsequent report e.g. the publication of an update on progress with the action plan. LL explained that we were trying to ensure that the highlight report was focused on deliverables in the UNCRC implementation programme rather than business as usual within the Children’s Rights Unit. On the specific point about the publication of a progress report, LL explained that would coincide with publication of the SG position statement to accompany UN State Party reporting and so we are considering whether that position statement would provide a sufficient update on progress.

Action: LL to discuss with Together how SG provides an annual progress report in November.

Action: PO to ensure that the highlight report provides an update on all priorities identified in the previous month and where it doesn’t, provide an explanation.

Reviewing advocacy provision is essential for successful UNCRC implementation. Juliet Harris (JH) noted that The Promise committed to providing Ministers with recommendations on this by the end of 2023. Given that this is over a year away, it would be useful for the Strategic Implementation Board (SIB) to consider whether this timescale will meet expectations around advocacy.

Action: Chloe Riddell to speak to colleagues at The Promise about their recommendations to Ministers and provide an update.

Child Rights Budgeting (CRB)

Under the Children’s Rights Scheme (CRS), Ministers will be required to set out their actions to consider the rights of children within the Scottish Budget process. We are committed to embracing a rights based approach to budgetary decision-making and to encourage other organisations throughout Scotland, both public and private, to ensure their budgetary process considers the rights of children and young people.

SG are undertaking a range of work to improve the transparency and accountability of the budget process. To further support the development of rights based approaches Scottish Ministers will publish a CRS, provide public authorities with guidance on CRB, and provide additional relevant content in the UNCRC Skills and Knowledge Framework.

Comments from the Board:

  • guidance on this topic sounds worthwhile but SG will have to lead by example and ensure CRB processes are included in scrutiny of their own budget. SG currently have a well-established budgetary and scrutiny arrangement. SG publishes an Equality and Fairer Scotland Budget Statement each year, have introduced the Fairer Scotland duty and submit detailed information around total expenditure including budget lines that are relevant to children and families. We recognise there is more that we can do and there are different elements of work ongoing including the SG’s Open Government Action Plan 2021-26 and Scottish Ministers response to the recommendations of the Equality Budget Action Group. In addition, the CRS will enable us to set out the work more clearly as it is paramount we can demonstrate the work we are doing]

JH noted the children’s sector is taking on board considerations in line with CRB. The Children’s Services Sector Forum, convened by children in Scotland, are looking at budgeting in relation to children’s rights, children’s wellbeing, participation and gender. Together are meeting with the Chief Economist, Gary Gillespie, and Louise Macdonald, Director General Economy, to see what support can be given so that Scotland can lead by example. Developments from these meetings will be shared with the Board.

Action: Juliet Harris to share developments from conversations with the Chief Economist and Director General Economy with the SIB

  • Dragan Nastic (DN) shared that El Salvador have created an index to measure to what extent public authorities are implementing CRB. UNICEF have many resources that can be shared on this work. [SG response: We welcome any information UNICEF have and are keen to learn from any other comparator countries]
  • is there a plan to reflect on how we plan to implement CRB at a mainstreaming level across public bodies? It would be useful to understand how we come to conclusions and discuss assumptions
  • Laura Pasternak (LP) asked if the connections between this work and a wellbeing economy have been explored and noted related work on The Promise
  • Carnegie UK are involved in SSF. Katherine Trebeck has written a report around a wellbeing economy

Lawrence Mearns (LM) welcomed members to get in touch with further questions after the meeting.

Action: Chloe Riddell to speak to colleagues at The Promise about work relating to a wellbeing economy and feed back to the group.

Action: Eilidh Walker to include CRB presentation with papers.

Update on the Bill

The aim is for the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill to be brought back to and passed by Parliament by the end of this calendar year. This will be dependent on amendments being prepared, no significant concerns being raised by UK Government, and the Parliamentary process itself. Amendments are being prepared in line with DFM’s statement to Parliament in May 2022 and the aim is to address the complexity of the Supreme Court judgment and be as accessible for users as possible. Statutory guidance on Part 2 and 3 will support the Bill in due course. Engagement with the UK Government is continuing and detailed amendments will be shared with them as soon as they have Ministerial approval, allowing us to respond to any issues raised before we lodge a motion to reconsider the Bill in Parliament. So far we are on schedule with the timelines in the highlight report.

Raising public awareness of UNCRC

Paul Gorman noted parents’ organisations in 2021 raised questions around how SG are raising awareness of CR with parents, carers and families. We established the UNCRC Parents network which began by analysing data from the IPSOS/Mori survey and undertaking qualitative research with parents and carers to find out more about their understanding of CR and the UNCRC.

SG will publish a UNCRC booklet in early October 2022 with a formal launch date of November 2022, to align with World Children’s Day. The booklet will be hosted on the Parent Club website and 2,000 copies will also be printed. We will carry out a survey with parents, carers and families, through parents’ groups to look at the impact of the booklet.

To ensure CR become more familiar in public life and for us to begin to see a normative and cultural shift in their favour, SG engages in multiple networks including the UNCRC Comms network and Parent’s Network.

Questions from the Board:

  • members asked for a fuller explanation of why the UNCRC Booklet cannot be included in the Baby Box, noting the high importance of the discussion around children having rights from birth. It was felt that including the booklet in the Baby Box would express this message clearly [SG response: we are working toward including it in the future]
  • LP asked if the JRS study includes care experienced parents in their research? [SG Response: Yes, care experienced parents were included]

Any other business

Independent advocacy is being looked at as part of the development of the National Care Service. It is important that we make connections. It was noted that Scotland should not have two different advocacy systems for children and adults.

Ben Farrugia highlighted that there are ongoing conversations around whether some interagency referral practices within child protection in Scotland are compatible with UNCRC requirements, particularly with regard to the involvement of families. [SG response: SG are working with Together and the Children’s Commissioner to understand where any CR issues are so we seek to address them with relevant policy teams. If SIB is also able to help us identify issues, we would be very grateful]

Chloe Riddell asked if there is an upcoming review of the child protection guidance that could consider the above points? [Member’s response: Joanna Macdonald (SG, Office of the Chief Social Work Advisor) is chairing a Child Protection Guidance Implementation Group, a function/action from which is review of how the guidance is being implemented. We are not aware of anything formal planned, but some of the team at Social Work Scotland, in partnership with SG colleagues and others are reviewing how implementation is going. (The discussion in respect of interagency referral practices has emerged, in part, through that process).]

JH highlighted the importance of taking time to look at compatibility of legislation as well as practice.

Members expressed interest in SIB identifying other strategic groups and how the UNCRC is being considered in other settings. Members asked if there is a mapping exercise already completed for this? [SG response: We are currently considering how to ensure consistent messaging across multiple forums. We would welcome the support of SIB on this work.]

MC noted that implementation partners have been invited to present at future meetings on the work they are undertaking to support UNCRC implementation. UNCRC Programme Office are working with partners to identify suitable slots for attendance and have confirmed the following thus far:

  • Improvement Service – September
  • UNICEF and SPSO – October

Children’s Parliament and Together Scotland have also expressed interest in presenting at a future meeting, however dates have yet to be confirmed.

MC reminded members of the change in meeting schedule. The Board will now meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 15:00 to 17:00.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 27 September 2022.

Back to top