Monitoring

 

Every state that has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is required to report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child on how it is fulfilling its human rights obligations. The basis for the Committee's review is a report submitted by the state party two years after it has ratified the Convention. After that, progress reports are required every five years.

The UK first reported to the United Nations (UN) on 15 March 1994. The UK's most recent report on the UNCRC was submitted to the committee in 2014. This was followed up by the UK Concluding observations report from the Committee on 10 June 2016.

Prior to publishing Concluding observations, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child took into account NGO reports (submitted in July 2015) and held an examination of the UK's progress on UNCRC implementation in May 2016. Find out more below.

Further information on the UNCRC reporting cycle is available here.

 

Initial report

After a country ratifies the Convention, it is required to submit an initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child. The initial report outlines measures the country has taken to implement the Convention.

 

Periodic report

Approximately every five years thereafter, each country must submit a periodic report. The periodic report should enable the Committee on the Rights of the Child to make a comprehensive assessment of progress in that state relating to the implementation of the Convention. The Scottish Government produces a report that feeds into the overall UK Government report.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is keen to hear from independent human rights bodies. Before it examines a state party (the government), the committee holds a 'pre-sessional' working group where it hears from independent human rights institutions (including children's commissioners), non-governmental organisations and children and young people. In 2015, Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People (SCCYP) worked with the England, Wales and Northern Ireland's Children's Commissioners to produce a joint report for the UK.

 

Non-governmental organisations

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as national charities, including Together, are encouraged to submit reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child about the implementation of the Convention. The UNCRC is the only international human rights treaty that expressly gives NGOs a role in monitoring its implementation. The Committee on the Rights of the Child prefers NGOs to work together in coalitions and to submit coordinated reports. Together reports on behalf of children's organisations across Scotland, and works closely with equivalent children's rights alliances in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to collate a UK NGO report.


The most recent NGO report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child was submitted on 1st July 2015. Together is the co-ordinating body for the NGO report for Scotland. The Scotland report which Together produces is used to inform the UK submission to the UN Committee on the rights of the Child. To do this Together works closely with equivalent children's rights alliances in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to collate a UK NGO report.

 

Children and young people

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is keen to hear from children and young people about the implementation of their rights. NGOs have a critical role in supporting children and young people to submit their views and experiences to the committee. Governments too must obtain children's and young people's views about how well their rights are respected.


In Scotland, Article 12 and their partner organisations consulted widely on how children and young people view their rights and wellbeing. The information gathered from these consultations was compiled in a report supported by the UN Committee to reflect the views and opinions of over 8,000 Scottish children and young people.

 

Concluding Observations

The Committee on the Rights of the Child considers all evidence submitted to it by governments and other bodies. It then drafts concluding observations on the country it has assessed. These set out the committee's assessment of progress in implementing the Convention in that country, and areas of concern. The committee's latest concluding observations of the UK were published in 2016.
The government is not expected to formally respond to the concluding observations, but should address the issues in its next periodic report to the committee.

 

Scottish Government Action Plan

In September 2009, in response to the UN Committee's Concluding Observations, the Scottish Government published a children's rights action plan, "Do the Right Thing". This action plan sets out how Scottish Government will take forward work to address the Concluding Observations and focuses on 21 key areas of work, from promoting positive forms of parenting and providing better support for young carers to improving outcomes for looked after children, tackling child poverty and improving children's involvement in their schooling.

The "Do the Right Thing" progress report was published in May 2012 to update the "Do the Right Thing" 2009 report. In the report, the Scottish Government identifies progress made in those priority areas the Scottish Government identified in 2009; sets out some of the additional steps that they have committed to since the original report and next steps.

 

UK Government Action Plan

As well as producing their own individual action plans to address the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee, the Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations worked together to produce a UK-wide action plan, to detail their joint commitments and actions.

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