Briefings examine Child Rights Impact Assessments

Date: 2nd October 2017
Category: Child rights impact assessments

New UNICEF briefings examine Child Rights Impact Assessments across the UK, including a Scotland-specific briefing with recommendations for Scottish Government.

Most policies have some level of impact on the lives of children, and there have been welcome developments throughout the UK in recent years to improve the way in which governments take children's rights into account when making law and policy. However, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its 2016 examination of the implementation of children's rights in the UK, called for the UK State Party to introduce "a statutory obligation at national and devolved levels to systematically conduct a child rights impact assessment when developing laws and policies affecting children", and to "publish the results of such assessments and demonstrate how they have been taken into consideration in the proposed laws and policies".

In response, UNICEF UK have published a comparative study exploring the role of child rights impact assessment (CRIA) in supporting governments to protect and promote children's rights, setting out recommendations for action in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They found that CRIA can be powerful tools that both serve the best interests of children and provide them with a voice in adult-dominated processes, preventing potential harm and minimising the risk of costly policy failures and mistakes. It is hoped that this study will support the further development of CRIA across the UK, and encourage the momentum needed to embed this transformative agenda for children's rights.


In Scotland, a Child Rights and Well-Being Impact Assessment (CRWIA) process was introduced in June 2015 to enable Scottish Ministers to fulfil new legal duties to take children's rights into consideration in their decision-making. CRWIA is not a mandatory requirement; however, to September 2017, 21 CRWIAs had been published by departments across Scottish Government. The Scotland-specific briefings give a number of recommendations to Scottish Government on applying CRWIA to all new policies, measures and legislation with an impact - direct or indirect - on children.