Progressing Children's Rights in Scotland - An Action Plan 2018-21

Closed 26 Sep 2018

Opened 2 Jul 2018

Feedback updated 16 Apr 2019

We asked

We asked for views on the proposed content of the 3 year Action Plan for taking forward children’s rights from 2018-2021; a plan that the Scottish Ministers are required to lay before the Scottish Parliament in accordance with duties under section 1(4) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (2014 Act).  The consultation paper asked about the overall content of the Plan and the possible inclusion of the following strategic actions:

  1. Development of a dynamic Participation Framework for Children and Young People.
  2. Ambitious delivery, through co-production, of the 3 year children’s rights awareness programme.
  3. Progressing the comprehensive audit on the most effective and practical way to further embed the principles of the UNCRC into policy, practice and legislation, including the option of full incorporation into domestic law. 
  4. Evaluation of the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA).

Views were also sought on whether the Action Plan should include a summary of policy specific initiatives being taken forward across all Scottish Government portfolios, which strengthen how children and young people experience their rights, including in relation to child poverty, bullying, mental health, youth justice etc.  The consultation suggested that the inclusion of this summary would allow the Action Plan to more effectively capture all that the Scottish Ministers intend to achieve for children and young people until 2021, in addition to the proposed strategic actions.

The consultation also suggested that the Action Plan might include a number of policy specific actions, identified through the consultation process, that were not being taken forward currently through Scottish Government initiatives.   

You said

The consultation, which ran from 2 July until 26 September, included a formal consultation document, published on Citizen Space, and an easy-read survey monkey.  The consultation document received 114 responses, including from local authorities, the third sector, academics and individuals.  The easy-read survey monkey received 403 responses.

In line with provisions in section 1(5) of the 2014 Act, separate engagement with children and young people, including with representatives from particular groups of children and young people and the organisations that represent them, also informed the development of the Action Plan.

The responses received to the consultation expressed overwhelming support for the proposed content of the Action Plan.  However, respondents made a number of suggestions in relation to the proposed strategic actions, including the need:

  • for the approach to participation to target and engage effectively with seldom heard groups of children and young people and to support and promote a range of methods for participation, including non-digital approaches;
  • for further clarity on the proposal around a central resource to increase the capacity of the third sector to support Scottish Government business areas to engage with children and young people;
  • to align the strategic actions with other current cross-cutting initiatives, e.g. on Adverse Childhood Experiences and mental health and wellbeing;
  • to ensure that the proposed approach to participation is informed by current research and international best practice;
  • to ensure ongoing dialogue with the third sector, local government and public bodies as well as key organisations and professionals working with children and young people, including schools and nurseries, children’s services, etc.;
  • to support and promote awareness and understanding of children’s rights amongst parents and carers;
  • to improve the format and dissemination of the Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment;
  • to link the strategic actions to the relevant articles of the UNCRC and for outputs from these actions to be accessible; and 
  • to ensure effective governance and oversight of the ongoing delivery of the Action Plan.

A number of respondents to the consultation also called for the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots Law.  Action 3 of the consultation has now been superseded by the commitment in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2018-19, to incorporate the principles of the UNCRC into Scots Law.  

Comments were also made about specific policy issues, including the use of mosquito anti-loitering devices, Getting it right for every child and the teaching of sexual education in schools etc.  The Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland: A Report 2015-2018 (December 2018), which was also published in line with provisions in Part 1 of the 2014 Act, sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to these issues.   

In response to comments made, the Action Plan was renamed, Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland: An Action Plan 2018-21.   

We did

Following the consultation, we published the non-confidential Responses to the consultation document on Citizen Space.  We also undertook an initial internal review of the responses received. 

An independent contractor, Kantar Public, was commissioned to analyse the responses to both the formal consultation and the survey monkey.  Their Report has been published on the Scottish Government’s website.   

The points raised in the consultation were taken into account in the development of the, Progressing the Human Rights of Children in Scotland: An Action Plan 2018-2021, which was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 20 December 2018.  Alongside the 4 strategic actions, the Plan also includes information on governance and a non-exhaustive list of key ongoing Scottish Government initiatives relevant to children’s rights.

In relation to governance, a Children’s Rights Advisory Group will be established to oversee the delivery of the Action Plan and provide a leadership space to discuss ideas and issues to make children’s rights real in Scotland.  We have also committed to provide an annual update on progress made in taking forward the strategic actions.  

The findings of the consultation will also inform the ongoing implementation of the strategic actions over the 3 year duration of the Plan.  


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights to which all children are entitled, regardless of their circumstances or background.

The UNCRC underpins Scottish Minsters’ ambitions to make Scotland the best place to grow up, be educated and to bring up children. Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, places specific duties on all Scottish Ministers to keep under consideration steps which would or might secure better or further effect in Scotland of the UNCRC and to promote public awareness and understanding of children’s rights. Ministers are also required to report every 3 years to the Scottish Parliament on progress and their plans for the next 3 year period.  The Scottish Government is currently preparing a Report on all its activity in taking forward children’s rights since June 2015, when the duties came into effect. The report is not subject to this consultation.

A separate Action Plan will set out identified actions for taking forward the rights of the child from 2018 until 2021. This consultation seeks views on the proposed content of the Action Plan.

Why your views matter

The Scottish Government is keen to seek the views of all those with an interest in children’s rights on the proposed content of the Action Plan for taking forward the rights of the child over the coming 3 year period, 2018-2021.

We are also keen to seek the views of children and young people on the consultation. The Scottish  Ministers are also engaging separately with children and young people to ensure that their views are heard in the preparation of the 3 year Action Plan.

Download the consultation paper.


  • Children and Families