The Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights (SACR) was set up in 1996 with a remit to promote the full implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in Scotland. SACR began as a small, informal network drawn from Scottish children's organisations.
The impetus to create such a grouping came from the ratification of the UNCRC by the UK Government in 1991. In ratifying the Convention, the Government undertook to reflect its principles in UK policy and legislation and to make periodic progress reports to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
The original informal grouping became a company limited by guarantee with charitable status in 1999. The founding Directors of the company were the senior officers of Save the Children, Barnardo's and Childline and led to the formation of a Board of Directors which was drawn from a range of national children's organisations.
With financial support from Save the Children, SACR submitted the first NGO report to the UN Committee in 2001. In summer 2009, SACR secured funding from the Scottish Government's children's rights team to employ a Development Officer and part-time Administrator. In 2010, SACR changed its name to "Together" to reflect the number of children's charities working together to improve children's rights in Scotland.
Since its inception SACR's purpose has been to act as the focal point for the non-government children's sector, working towards the full realisation of the Convention in Scotland. Non-government organisations (NGOs) have a distinctive role to play in the reporting process, and given the differences in policy and legislation, even in a pre-devolved Scotland, there was clearly a need to consult with and draw together the views of the children and young people's sector in Scotland.
An annual 'State of Children's Rights Report' has been published by Together since 2010, to highlight the views and topics brought forward in ongoing consultation with it's members. In each report, case studies illustrating progress towards the full implementation of the UNCRC in Scotland are included alongside recommendations to highlight where the Scottish Government could make positive change.
During 2012, key areas of work at Together included the Universal Periodic Review and the consultation for the proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. Early preparations for the next UNCRC reporting round also took place, which will see further impetus in 2013.
Together had another busy year in 2013. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament in April and reached Stage 2 scrutiny by the Education and Culture Committee as the year drew to an end. Together developed its social media strategy and launched the 2013 'State of Children's Rights' report on Universal Children's Day (20th November). Together also responded to a call for views on the UK periodic report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child which was due to be sent to the Committee in January 2014.
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