UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board minutes: November 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 28 November 2023.

Attendees and apologies

Members of the Board

  • Ian Donaldson (Chair), Director for Children and Families
  • Dragan Nastic, UNICEF UK
  • Juliet Harris, Together Scotland
  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland – tentative
  • CI Steve McKinnon of Police Scotland, deputising ACC Gary Ritchie
  • Laura Pasternak, Who Cares? Scotland
  • Amy Woodhouse, Parenting Across Scotland
  • Eleanor Kerr, NHS
  • Superintendent Christine Boyd, Police Scotland (Deputising for ACC David Duncan)
  • Jennifer Davidson, Institute for Inspiring Children’s Future’s
  • Norma Ruettiman, Care and Learning Alliance
  • Laura Caven, COSLA
  • Rebekah Cameron-Berry, COSLA
  • Katy Kelman, Scot Courts
  • Aileen Nicol, Care inspectorate (Deputising for Craig Morris)

Scottish Government members

  • Dean Snape, UNCRC Project Manager
  • Andrew Preston, UNCRC Programme Assistant
  • Carola Eyber, Children’s Rights Reporting and Monitoring Lead
  • Gita Sharkey, Joint Unit Head, Children’s Rights Unit
  • Liz Levy, Joint Unit Head, Children’s Rights Unit
  • Lyndsey Saki, Embedding Children’s Rights in Public Services Programme Lead
  • Paul Gorman, Empowered Children and Young People Lead
  • Shona Spence, UNCRC Bill Lead
  • Anna Munro, SGLD
  • Dawn Archer, SGLD
  • Sarah Booth, SGLD


  • Andrew Watson, Scottish Government
  • Margo Williamson, SOLACE
  • Helen Fogarty, Social Security Scotland
  • Ben Farrugia, Social Work Scotland
  • Michael Cameron, Scottish Housing Regulator
  • Gina Wilson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYCPS)
  • Chloe Riddell, The Promise
  • Craig Morris, Care Inspectorate

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies

Ian Donaldson (ID) welcomed board members to the 23rd  meeting of the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board. Ian may also wish to welcome Amy Woodhouse from Parenting Across Scotland who will be replacing Margaret Gibb on the Board moving forward.

We also had two deputies in attendance – Christine Boyd on behalf of ACC David Duncan and Aileen Nicol (Care Inspectorate) on behalf of Craig Morris.

Minutes and actions from last meeting

ID invited Dean Snape (DS) to provide an update on the minutes and actions from the previous meeting.

Minutes were circulated on 4 October 2023. One amendment request was received from Chloe Riddell for further detail to be added under item 7 – public authority support for commencement.  The requested amendment has been incorporated into the minutes which were circulated to members on 21 November. Once minutes have gone through the relevant clearance process with SGLD they will be published on the group page.

There was one action raised at the September meeting about including an update on advocacy work to highlight report and no outstanding actions from previous meetings. All actions have now been closed as detailed within the action tracker circulate on 21 November 2023.

Highlight report

The programme Highlight Report was shared with members on 21 November 2023 and sets out progress against previous activities, upcoming priorities for the next 2 months and the current status of deliverables associated with the implementation programme. Members were asked to consider this report ahead of the meeting. 

DS to direct queries to relevant programme leads on the call.

Bill update

Shona Spence (SS) shared that the Committee has now heard evidence on the amendments from duty bearers, rights holders and an independent academic and has issued a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice with a report on its evidence sessions and its recommendations. The Cabinet Secretary will issue a response shortly. We are now able to share the date of the vote in chamber on the amendments – this will take place on the afternoon of 7 Dec.

A further SG amendment on reporting duties was lodged on Monday 21 Nov  to change the current reporting date from March 2023 to March 2026 and another SG amendment will be lodged on 28 Nov to clarify how amendments to Acts are being treated in section 6. This is a clarification amendment only and does not change our approach.

Commencement Regulations

With thanks to SIB members who responded to our commencement paper sent out in October. In recognition of the changes we have needed to make to the Bill, and the views also expressed at Committee, we aim to start the majority of the provisions 6 months after Royal Assent, including the compatibility duty.

To support implementation for public authorities and listed authorities we are seeking early commencement, as soon as possible after Royal Assent, of the section that allows us consult on statutory guidance. Similarly we will commence section 37 to allow court rules to be made and sections 33 and 34 in relation to remedial regulations.

Public authority support for commencement

Lyndsey will clarify what the Scottish Government will be providing in terms of support for commencement, and what is out of scope.

She will give updates on key UNCRC implementation work: statutory and non-statutory guidance, the statutory guidance consultation, targeted support for health boards, the Child Rights Regulation and Improvement Action Group and engagement with sponsor teams and listed authorities.

Children’s Rights Scheme

The Children’s Rights Scheme – as laid out in Part 3 Sections 11-13 of the UNCRC Bill – requires Ministers to report on arrangements put in place to ensure that they comply with the section 6(1) duty to act compatibly with the UNCRC requirements and to secure better and further effect of the rights of children. Section 11(3) lists specific rights which need to be included in the Scheme when it is first made. Ministers need to report on the arrangements and proposed actions in relation to the issues and rights listed in this section.

Once the first Scheme has been made and laid before parliament, Ministers need to report annually on actions taken and new actions proposed for the next reporting cycle. The CRS requires Ministers to consult children and young people, the Commissioner, the Scottish Commission for Human Rights and other persons considered appropriate on actions to be taken in the next reporting period before the report can be published.

At the last SIB meeting in September we started discussing the CRS but only managed to discuss the publication date of the CRS which SIB agreed would be November 2024 with the first report on the CRS following one year later in November 2025.

During this meeting we want to cover two main issues:

  • test whether SIB would be supportive of amending the current reporting cycle from annual to three-yearly. The main reasons I will outline are:
  • logistical constraints of undertaking a full consultation and a review of the CRS on an annual basis
  • the ability to report on meaningful progress on child rights’ outcomes over a time period that allows for changes to take place
  • alignment with the Human Rights Scheme which is proposing to operate on a three-year cycle
  • obtain feedback from SIB on the draft CRS circulated to SIB as agreed at the September meeting

UNCRC Implementation Programme risk register

Liz Levy (LL) outlined the risks that have been captured in the programme risk register, which include risks highlighted in evidence to Committee (risk of public authorities focusing attention only on areas on which they can be litigated and challenge for CYP in understanding when the can use the courts to enforce their rights). SIB to be invited to comment on these and proposed controls and highlight any other risks that they think should be captured in the risk register.


The next meeting of the UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board will be held on Tuesday 30 January, 15:30 – 17:00

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