The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (from herein referred to as 'the Act') sets out fundamental reforms to the way services for children and young people are designed, delivered and reviewed. As part of the Act the Scottish Government provided guidance on Part One (section two) Children's Rights and Part Three Children's Services Planning. In examining this guidance the Scottish Government undertook a public consultation on these two elements, which invited views on the scope and use of the guidance, and the relationship between the two parts. This consultation analysis examined responses to both parts of the guidance.
Fifty-eight responses to the consultation were received: 55 from organisations, and 3 from individuals. Organisations included third sector (14), local government (12), local partnerships (5), public bodies (12) and health boards (7), amongst others.
On the whole both parts of the guidance were well received. A number of key themes emerged across the consultation and across the two parts of the guidance, gaps were also identified, and suggestions for improvements provided. The main themes and recommendations to emerge across both parts of the guidance include:
- Generally positive response to the guidance and its aims, but some wish it to go further.
- Welcome the embedding of children's rights (in both aspects of the guidance), but more connection with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC) was sought. Some felt that children's rights should be the starting point with everything else stemming from that. More emphasis within Part Three would also be welcomed.
- The aligning of 'rights' and 'wellbeing' was, to a degree, controversial but broadly well-received.
- Guidance on engaging with children and young people was applauded, but further detailed guidance is needed for some regarding consulting with disadvantaged or vulnerable children to ensure all children and young people are involved. Associated to this, concerns were raised regarding organisations capacity to consult with children and young people and how it would be maintained looking towards the future.
- Freedom to publish the children's rights reports and children's services plans in accessible manners was welcomed.
- Requests for baseline or minimum national standards to be produced and what this will look like given the flexibility in producing children's rights reports and children's services plans.
- The guidance was seen as a welcome opportunity to work together across organisations, both locally and nationally - although there are concerns of how this will work in practice.
- There was a considerable need for the guidance to connect with wider policy and legislation.
- Incorporating all organisations (big and small) in to plans and reports was welcomed but a number of concerns regarding how it will be supported and realised in practice were raised.
- More guidance and examples of how the services plans and rights reports will be produced would be appreciated by many.