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, following the ratification of the Convention by the UK Government in 1991.
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.
SACR began as a small, informal network drawn from Scottish children’s organisations. It then 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 this then led to the formation of a Board of Directors which was drawn from a range of national children’s organisations.
SACR submitted the first NGO report to the UN Committee 2001 with financial support from Save the Children. In summer 2009, SACR then secured funding from the Scottish Government’s children’s rights team to employ a Development Officer and part-time Administrator. Following this, SACR changed its name to Together to reflect the number of children’s charities working together to improve children’s rights 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 its members. Each report aims to identify progress that has been made and gaps that continue to exist in implementing the UNCRC in Scotland.
Together’s staff team has now grown and consists of a Director, a Policy Officer and a Legal Research Officer. Funding and support from the University of Edinburgh and other organisations has also allowed Together to benefit from having several interns and students over the past years who have undertaken essential work at the organisation including contributing to State of Children’s Rights reports and researching specific children’s rights issues.