UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board minutes: 1 July 2021

Minutes from the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board meeting on 1 July 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Children and Young People
  • Michael Chalmers, Director for Children and Families
  • Jackie Brock, The Promise (substituting for Fiona Duncan)
  • Michael Cameron, Scottish Housing Regulator 
  • Jaci Douglas, CALA Childcare
  • Helen Fogarty, Head of Children’s Rights 
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Tasmin Gold, Children in Scotland
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland
  • Sara Hampson, Acting Head, Empowered Children and Young People
  • Louise Haplin, Human Rights Bill Team Leader in Scottish Government
  • Juliet Harris, Together 
  • Louise Hunter, Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) 
  • Josh Kennedy MSYP- Scottish Youth Parliament 
  • Elaine Kerridge, Children in Scotland 
  • Hope Laing, Young Advisor-Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland
  • Chantelle Lalli, Programme Lead - Scottish Government Leadership in Children’s Rights 
  • Jill Laspa, COSLA (substituting for Eddie Folan)
  • Angela Leitch, Public Health Scotland
  • Aaran MacDonald, MSYP- Scottish Youth Parliament
  • David Mackay, Children in Scotland 
  • Colin McAllister, Special Advisor to the First Minister 
  • Mhairi McCann, Children in Scotland
  • Kay McCorquodale, Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service
  • Ben McKendrick, Scottish Youth Parliament 
  • Craig Morris, Care Inspectorate 
  • Dragan Nastic, UNICEF 
  • Natalie Nixon, UNCRC Programme Officer - Minute Taker 
  • Gary Ritchie, Police Scotland (substituting for Will Kerr)
  • Carol Potter, NHS Fife 
  • Lesley Sheppard, (Deputy Director for Care, Protection and Justice
  • Clare Simpson, Parenting Across Scotland 
  • Kay Tisdall, University of Edinburgh, associated with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland (substituting for Jennifer Davidson) 
  • Grace Vickers, SOLACE
  • David Wallace, Social Security Scotland 
  • Gina Wilson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland


  • Kavita Chetty, Scottish Human Rights Commission 
  • Lynsey Cleland, Healthcare Improvement Scotland 
  • Jennifer Davidson, Institute for Inspiring Children’s Futures
  • Fiona Duncan, The Promise
  • Eddie Folan, COSLA
  • Will Kerr, Police Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome by Michael Chalmers, Director of Children and Families and Chair

Michael Chalmers welcomed the group to the inaugural UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board, and gave a particular welcome to the Minister for Children and Young People and the five young people who had joined this first meeting.

An ask was made of the group to use simple language, avoiding the use of acronyms, to ensure language was inclusive and accessible for all.

It was emphasised that the Scottish Government remains committed to the incorporation of the UNCRC to the maximum extent of the Parliament’s powers and to commencement of the UNCRC Bill as soon as possible, and that the vast majority of work in relation to implementation of the UNCRC Bill can and is continuing, as we await the Supreme Court judgment. 

Introductory words by Clare Haughey MSP, Minister for Children and Young People

Thanked everyone who had worked tirelessly to get us to this point and for agreeing to be members of this Board.

Thanked the young people and their supporters, who had given up their time to attend this first meeting, and emphasised how critical it was that the voices of children and young people are heard, and that they are part of the decision-making process for the UNCRC implementation programme.

Outlined the ambition of the incorporation of UNCRC into Scots law to deliver improved outcomes for children and young people, and to help create a Scotland in which children and young people grow up knowing they have rights that should be respected, protected and promoted. 

Reiterated that the Scottish Government’s commitment to incorporation is unwavering.

Introductions and icebreakers

A short ice breaker to get to know each other ensued. Three volunteers were asked “If you were an action figure what accessory would you have to represent you?”

The answers were:

  • a book  to symbolise life-long learning, teaching, and the importance of education
  • a necklace with the scales of justice on it to symbolise the importance of justice to children and young people
  • a magical thick skin to offer additional protection when things go wrong
  • it was also suggested that a shield could represent the group collectively

UNCRC Implementation Programme - vision and overview- Lesley Sheppard, Deputy Director, Children’s Rights, Protection and Justice

An overview of the three-year implementation programme was given with the additional point that work would continue beyond that timeframe. 

The establishment of a consortium of organisations to support the meaningful participation and engagement of children and young people in the programme will be essential. Preliminary work has begun with stakeholders on the scoping and development of this, and the proposed model will be brought for further discussion at a future board meeting.


  • the proposed model for the consortium to be tabled as a future agenda item for further discussion and the Board’s guidance and thoughts

A brief proposal for the 4 work streams was given, again reiterating that further discussion will be required at future meetings. In summary:

Children’s rights resolution: will focus on how to progress areas we know can make a real difference to children experiencing their rights, e.g. advocacy, access to justice and child friendly complaints procedures.

Scottish Government leadership for children’s rights: will focus on how to make sure all Scottish Government policy and legislation is UNCRC compliant

Empowered children who can claim their rights: will focus on how we ensure the strong and meaningful participation of children and young people in the implementation programme

Embedding children’s rights in public services: will focus on how we support public authorities to fulfil their duties under the UNCRC Bill

It is clear that whilst legislation, systems and processes are critical so is a transformation in our culture.

This group has an important role to work together to advise on how we can effectively create the required culture change that enables children and young people to experience every day how their rights are being respected.


  • look at how the aims of the implementation programme could be adjusted to reflect the cultural transformation also required

Participation and engagement of children and young people- led by Josh, Aaran, Tamsin, Mhairi and Hope

Reflections were given by the young colleagues on what makes for meaningful involvement of children and young people in discussions and decision making.

What makes for meaningful involvement?

  • children and young people actively being listened to, with actions being taken on the back of this
  • not wasting children and young people’s time and it feeling like a tick box exercise
  • making sure papers are accessible and that children and young people are put at ease, with no pressure to participate
  • have everyone friendly language
  • make it fun with activities commensurate with the age of the children and young people
  • children and young people having equal power in decision making
  • not categorising children and young people- everyone has many identities


  • follow up on how do we meaningfully ensure the participation and engagement of younger children? Children’s Parliament to be invited to speak at a future meeting

Draft terms of reference

Comments were invited on the draft Terms of Reference. The following suggestions were made:

  • could we expand on the vision and what we are trying to achieve as a group?
  • could we expand on what the distinct roles are within in group, and add clarity to the roles and the responsibilities of both the Board and of Ministers in the programme?
  • could we include seldom heard groups of children and young people in bullets 2 and 3 as this will provide an important measure of our impact?
  • could clarification be given on the Ministers’ commitment to commencement after the Supreme Court judgement? The Bill states automatic commencement 6 months after royal assent but also the possibility to commence sooner

It was also clarified that minutes will be published, but will not attribute comments to individuals.


  • suggestions to be taken away and further narrative to be constructed on what this board is set up to do- namely to provide oversight, scrutiny, challenge, and leadership, and will be brought back to the next meeting

Proposed guidance and timescales - Helen Fogarty, Unit Head, Children’s Rights

An overview of the proposed guidance to support the implementation of the UNCRC was provided.

Guidance is something that a Government typically does when introducing a new policy or legislation as it helps to give a better understanding about the intention of the policy or legislation.

As soon as possible this month, it is the intention to produce high level guidance to duty bearers on what the Bill is about, and what it means for their work. Duty bearers will also be asked what is it they need to support them.

The intention is to then provide fuller guidance with topics such as how to involve children and young people to participate in meetings, and decision making, and how to have a child friendly complaints process.

The proposed third set of guidance will be in relation to reporting duties, to support the list of bodies who have to report every 3 years on what they have done and what they intend to do.

The intention is to consult throughout this process and this will include with children and young people.

Any other business

An ask was made for future agenda items from members of the Board. 


  • monthly meetings on the last Thursday of the month from 3pm-4.30pm will be set up and will be subject to review
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