Annex A: 2011 'State of Children's Rights' Report by Together Scotland
Together Scotland is an alliance of Scottish children's charities that works to improve the awareness, understanding and implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( UNCRC). As part of their activity, the organisation regularly monitors and reports on the progress made to implement the UNCRC at both Scottish and UK level. It does this, in part, through the publication of their annual 'State of Children's Rights' report, the last of which was published in September 2011. There is a copy of the report at: www.togetherscotland.org.uk.
The Scottish Government welcomes the report's independent perspective on how far children in Scotland are able to enjoy and exercise their rights. We have also taken note of the recommendations made by Together Scotland.
Many of the issues in the 2011 report are consistent with those identified in our initial action plan and are the subject of ongoing activity, much of which is covered elsewhere in this report. In addition, the report includes a number of overarching recommendations in the following areas:
The 2011 'State of Children's Rights' report recommends that the Scottish Government takes steps "to incorporate the UNCRC into Scots law in a manner which ensures its fullest implementation before the next report to the UN Committee in 2014".
The Scottish Government will consult further on how legislation might best be used to strengthen our approach to children's rights in Scotland.
Consistent implementation of the UNCRC across local authorities and professions
The report recommends that work be undertaken "to address inconsistencies in the implementation of the UNCRC across local authorities and professions. It should ensure the principles of the UNCRC are at the heart of policy and practice in work with all children."
We are committed to transparency and accountability in our approach to children's rights at all levels of government in Scotland. In order to improve this, children's rights should feature in the planning, development and review of all policies, legislation and services. We are currently considering how legislation might ensure this is the case.
We are also considering the role that legislation might play in the effective implementation of GIRFEC throughout Scotland. By putting aspects of GIRFEC on a statutory footing we can ensure that children are placed at the centre of the decisions which affect them, that steps are being taken to keep them safe from harm, that they are being supported to develop the skills and knowledge that will benefit them throughout life, and that they can speak and have their voices heard on the things that matter to them.
We will shortly be publishing a resource which will describe how the effective embedding of GIRFEC within and across public services will support the practical realisation of the UNCRC in Scotland.
The report recommends that the Scottish Government take steps to "ensure that the UNCRC is at the heart of all training for professionals working with and for children, firmly embeds its principles and promotes understanding of its provisions. This should include a specific focus on the training of educational professionals and those working with children with additional support needs and/or with a disability."
We continue to take forward the development of a common core of the skills, knowledge and understanding and values every worker (paid or unpaid) should have as a minimum if they work with children, young people and families.
Earlier this year practitioners from a variety of disciplines came together to discuss good practice, giving examples of times when they had demonstrated the essential characteristics set out in the common core as well as identifying barriers which prevent good practice from happening routinely. This work has identified a number of areas that can potentially be addressed through ongoing implementation activities linked to the common core. Some issues will relate to training but there will be many more which can be addressed through, for instance, staff guidance, supervision and greater inter-agency collaboration.
"ensure that the UNCRC is at the heart of all training for professionals working with and for children, firmly embeds its principles and promotes understanding of its provisions. This should include a specific focus on the training of educational professionals and those working with children with additional support needs and/or with a disability."