Together responds to consultation on statutory guidance for children's services planning
Date: 21st June 2019
Category: Child rights impact assessments, Respect for the views of the child
Together has responded to Scottish Government’s consultation on the provision of statutory guidance for children’s services planning under Part 3 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.
Our response highlights the guidance should be strengthened in two key areas:
- ensuring the participation of children and young people from the outset
- ensuring the use of Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIAs)
Children and young people have a right to be involved in the decisions affecting them (Article 12 UNCRC). Their views and experiences are of great importance in planning how to address specific needs that are not adequately addressed by existing services. Whilst the guidance mentions that local authorities and health boards "may" wish to pay attention to children and young people's views, this instruction is weak and there is no mention of how to involve children and young people. This could be improved by reference to General Comment 12, which sets out the basic requirements of participation.
Although the guidance makes reference to CRWIAs, it does not sufficiently emphasise the important role that they play as a policy development tool, supporting rights-based service and practice. The guidance should be strengthened to emphasise the need to carry out CRWIAs at the earliest possible stage. This would support public bodies in fulfilling their reporting duties under Part 1 of the 2014 Act, as well as helping to ensure the public body is working in line with the UNCRC ahead of its incorporation into Scots law.