United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): Embedding Children's Rights in Public Services Guidance Sub-Group minutes: April 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC): Embedding Children's Rights in Public Services Guidance Sub-Group, held on 19 April 2022.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance

  • Carola Eyber (chair), Scottish Government – CE
  • Nicola Hughes, Scottish Government – NH
  • Luiza Leite (minutes), Scottish Government – LL
  • Rebecca Spillane, Improvement Service – RS
  • Tamar Jamieson, Police Scotland – TJ
  • Darren Little, Dumfries and Galloway Council – DL
  • Rebekah Cameron-Berry, Cosla – RCB
  • Poppy Prior, Scottish Government – PP
  • Dragan Nastic, Unicef – DN
  • Sarah Rodger, SOLAR – SR
  • Juliet Harris, Together – JH


  • Julie Williams, CCPS
  • Nicola Hogg, SOLACE
  • Debby Wason, Public Health Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome, apologies and introductions of first-time attendees

CE welcomed attendees and new members Rebekah Spillane from the Improvement Service and Sarah Rodger from SOLAR introduced themselves.

Review of minutes and action points

LL confirmed the guidance sub-group would soon have its own page on the Scottish Government website where minutes will be available for public view - the same which is already in place for the Embedding group. LL will discuss this with the web team and hopes to have a page live ahead of the next meeting.

Terms of reference

Members were content with the proposed terms of reference, these will soon be made available on the subgroup page once it’s live.

Update on remedial work on Bill

NH confirmed there has been no significant update since the last meeting. The Deputy First Minister has written to the Secretary of State regarding remedial work but SG is still awaiting a response. There are limitations on how much can be shared with stakeholders at this stage, however NH confirmed SG will continue to provide the subgroup with as much information as possible.

Proposed Content of Statutory Guidance for part 2 and 3 of the Bill

CE talked through the wording of the Bill in relation to part 2 and 3 guidance. Whilst the Bill does not suggest specific ‘topics’ to be included, engagement with stakeholders and work to prepare the introductory guidance, has enabled SG to draw up a list of potential topics for inclusion. CE put forth topics we consider to be priority topics for inclusion in the part 2 guidance, and in the interests of issuing expedited guidance, consideration was being given to covering non-priority topics in alternative sources, including further guidance. CE assured members that discussion is still ongoing and no decision has been in regard to the proposed content at present. CE gave an overview of the topics considered to be essential for the first round of part 2 and 3 guidance.

JH asked if child-friendly complaints should fall under part 3, thinking it was essential for part 2 guidance, CE advised the topics are still under discussion and will revert back to the group in due course to more fully explain the allocation of topics.

Discussion on the proposed content followed and the following points were made by non-SG members of the subgroup:

  • that it is essential for duty bearers to tell us what should be addressed in statutory guidance
  • the approach to focus on essential topics for inclusion in the first instance was supported
  • guidance is needed for those carrying out functions of a public nature but aren’t necessarily considered public authorities – this should be clear so bodies know when it applies to them
  • reflection on introductory guidance is that it doesn’t give enough to move forward – future guidance should include details needed to progress child rights. Examples of what success in progressive realisation of child rights would look like would be useful
  • consistency of approach taking into account local differences
  • local authorities are complex, multi-faceted organisations and those within them have different levels of understanding of CR. They are looking for guidance that is practical, it would be useful if that could include examples of what they can do to ensure compatibility
  • guidance should cover what building blocks are necessary to prove that public bodies have tried their best to demonstrate this
  • reassurance around legal implications. Understanding of terminology around evolving capacities, for example, would be useful
  • a route map has been helpful for reflecting on Whole Family Support and what public bodies need to do to move forward. It could be helpful to have a children's rights route map too

RS agreed to gather views from some LAs on what they’re looking for in terms of guidance and support. CE agreed it would be useful for RS to present some of these views at the next guidance subgroup meeting, as well as to hear from others who work closely with public bodies.

NH highlighted that the SG would not be able to provide legal reassurance through guidance, and that it is up to individual public authorities to seek legal advice on compatibility issues.

Action: RS to gather feedback and views from LAs in time for the next subgroup meeting.

CE agreed examples of success would be helpful and noted that the recent together report is a useful resource for this: Together launches its 2022 State of Children's Rights Report! | Together Scotland.

Overall, however, there was agreement that the first round of statutory guidance should aim to provide the building blocks, rather than specific examples as each organisation will be unique.

Discussion of compatibility models

CE talked through the three models laid out in the compatibility paper.

Overall members felt that all models have their merits and each are needed in some level, different models are useful for different stages of compatibility review.

DN commented that the specific model is not necessarily what is important, rather the questions and process it takes you through. Aspects of all these models could be used to develop a tool which assists with a review of compatibility.

JH shared Jersey guidance as an example.

JH highlighted that it’s important to distinguish between the tools needed to support compatible implementation (part 2) (which are all the elements of the Children's Scheme) and reporting on impact (part 3). NH pointed out that the group needs to come to a shared understanding of what the Bill sets out in relation to part 2 and 3 guidance and suggested that the expectations of reporting under the Bill would be a a good item for this group to pick up in a future meeting.

CE asked members to think about criteria for compatibility, ensuring it’s fit for purpose for duty bearers. The next subgroup meeting in May will have more concrete proposals on how we take this forward.

Action: members to share existing compatibility models for CE to review in the upcoming weeks.


The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 10 May 2022.

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