The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 was the first time the UNCRC was directly mentioned in a Scottish statute.

The Act encourages Scottish Ministers and public bodies to consider children’s rights and requires them to prepare reports on what they are doing to progress children’s rights. The Act also gives more powers to the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland.

Reporting duties

Part 1 of the 2014 Act places duties on Scottish Ministers and on certain public bodies to report on what they are doing to progress children’s rights in their work. These duties provide an opportunity to mainstream children’s rights into decision making. However, they only require Scottish Ministers and public bodies to report on UNCRC implementation. They do not provide a way of enforcing rights if they are violated. Read more about these duties by expanding the boxes. 

  • Duty on Scottish Ministers

    The 2014 Act places duties on Scottish Ministers to keep under consideration and take steps to further children’s rights, and to promote and raise awareness of the UNCRC. Scottish Ministers must prepare a report every three years setting out their actions and the progress they have made.

    The first report was published in December 2018. It outlined what Scottish Government had done between 2015-18.

    As advocated for by Together's members, the Scottish Government published an Action Plan, which sets out how the Scottish Government plans to progress children's human rights between 2018-2021.

    In 2019, Scottish Government published a progress report in relation to the 2018-21 Action Plan.

    Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIAs)

    The 2014 Act resulted in the use of child rights and wellbeing impact assessments (CRWIAs) within Scottish Government.

    CRWIA are used to assess how Scottish Government policies, measures and legislation impact on children’s rights, and whether they protect and promote the wellbeing of children and young people.

    The Scottish Government’s CRWIA model provides a robust process through which officials can identify, research, analyse and record the anticipated impact of any proposed law or policy on children’s human rights.

    The Scottish Government guidance is clear that CRWIAs should be used on all legislation and policy that impacts children, not just limited to children’s services.

  • Duty on Public Bodies

    Certain public bodies must prepare a report every three years, setting out what they are doing to better secure, or give further effect to, the rights set out in the UNCRC.

    A list of the public bodies that must prepare a report is set out in the 2014 Act.

    The first set of public body reports are due on 31st March 2020.

    Detailed guidance has been produced to accompany the Part 1 duties of public bodies. This guidance is advisory only. It provides information and advice and aims to establish best practice for implementing children’s rights. 

Increased Powers for Children and Young People’s Commissioner

The Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland plays a key role in supporting the implementation of the UNCRC. They can investigate the extent to which a service provider has regarded the rights and views of particular groups of children. Service providers who can be investigated include those from the voluntary, private and public sector who provide a service to children.

Part 2 of the 2014 Act introduced an individual investigations function to the role of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland.

This provides a limited mechanism through which children can seek an investigation into violations of their UNCRC rights. Children, their parents and other adults who support them will be able to ask the Commissioner to investigate the extent to which an individual child’s rights have been upheld. The Commissioner will be able to make recommendations about what should be done to make improvements but will not have the power to order a service provider to take action.


The Commissioner has completed two investigations. Expand the headings below for more information.

See Together's 2019 State of Children's Rights report for more information on the 2014 Act.