Stage 1 report on the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill published

Date: 13th January 2021
Category: Incorporation

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The report analyses evidence gathered from individuals and groups who would be impacted by the Bill – including engagement sessions with children and young people. The Equalities and Human Rights Committee unanimously recommends that the Scottish Parliament agree to the general principles of the Bill, while identifying some areas in need of further consideration.

The report highlights widespread support from a range of stakeholders across Scotland. The Equalities and Human Rights Committee also makes a series of recommendations to strengthen or clarify aspects of the Bill, including: 

  • Interpretation: the Committee says the courts should be able to consider a wide range of UN documents and materials when interpreting UNCRC rights.
  • Definition of public authority: the Committee heard evidence that many children access services and support from private providers or charities. The Committee recommended that Scottish Government should look at this part of the Bill in more detail to make sure these children’s rights are protected.
  • Remedies: the Committee said a right to an “effective” remedy should be included in the Bill. In individual cases, courts should also ask for the child’s views on what an effective remedy would look like for them.
  • Children’s scheme: the Bill says Scottish Ministers must create a Children’s Rights Scheme - this sets out what they are doing or plan to do to comply with the UNCRC. It lists certain things that “may” be included in the Scheme. In its Stage 1 report, the Committee recommends strengthening this language to “must” and extending the list to include child-friendly complaints processes, human rights education and access to advocacy amongst other issues.
  • Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact assessment (CRWIA): the Committee says Scottish Ministers should have less discretion when deciding whether or not to conduct a CRWIA.
  • Public body reporting duties: The Bill says that public bodies must publish a report every three years to say what they have done or are doing to comply with the UNCRC. The Committee recommends that this should go a step further, requiring public bodies to also include what they will or plan to do in the next three years to advance children and young people’s rights.
  • Commencement: The Committee recommends that the Bill must enter into force six months after Royal Assent and this should be written in the Bill.

Read the Stage 1 report here.

Read the child-friendly version of this Stage 1 report here.