Consultation on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024: Statutory Guidance on Part 2 and 3, section 18

Closed 16 May 2024

Opened 22 Feb 2024


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is an international treaty which sets out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights which all children up to the age of 18 years have, regardless of their circumstances. The UNCRC must be seen as a whole: all the rights are linked and no right is more important than another. The UNCRC includes the following general principles:

  • for rights to be applied without discrimination (Article 2);
  • for the best interests of the child to be a primary consideration (Article 3);
  • the right to life, survival and development (Article 6); and
  • the right for the child to express a view in matters that affect them and to have that view taken into account in accordance with the child’s age and maturity (Article 12).

The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024 (“the Act”) was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 7 December 2023 and received Royal Assent on 16 January 2024. The Act is a landmark piece of legislation that incorporated the UNCRC into Scots law to the maximum extent of the Scottish Parliament’s powers – signalling a revolution in children’s rights in Scotland.

The intent behind the Act is to deliver a proactive culture of everyday accountability for children’s rights across public services in Scotland. The Act also seeks to empower our children and young people to claim their rights and help to make Scotland the best place in the world to grow up.

In accordance with section 47(2)(a) of the Act, Part 2 (duties on public authorities) and Part 3, section 18 (reporting duties of listed public authorities) of the Act will come into force 6 months after Royal Assent. As Royal Assent was obtained on 16 January 2024, this will be on 16 July 2024. 

The Act requires Scottish Ministers to publish guidance (“statutory” guidance) of Part 2 and Part 3, section 18. It also requires them to consult on that guidance. This consultation fulfils that requirement and is launched by Scottish Ministers in accordance with sections 13(3) and 20(2) of the Act.

The draft guidance attached to this consultation was developed with support from stakeholders. A Guidance Subgroup comprising of members from the Embedding in Public Services group was established to assist and support with this process.

This consultation seeks your views on the following draft statutory guidance:


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