The UNCRC in Scotland seminar series 2017

This series of four one-day interdisciplinary and cross-sector seminars sought to improve -- and address gaps -- in the implementation and monitoring of the UNCRC in Scotland. Each seminar examined the UNCRC from the perspectives of law, practice, policy and next steps for implementation. The seminar series was held in partnership between Together, the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh, and the Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection (CCWP) at the University of Stirling. The series was funded by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII).

The seminar series dates:

1. The UNCRC in Law: Friday 10th February 2017
2. The UNCRC in Practice: Monday 20th March 2017
3. The UNCRC in Policy: Monday 24th April 2017
4. The UNCRC Going Forwards: Thursday 1st June 2017


1. The UNCRC in Law

The first seminar explored the strengths and weaknesses of using legislation to progress UNCRC implementation. Dr Simon Hoffman and Professor Ursula Kilkelly examined important trends in the incorporation or near-incorporation of children's rights principles into national and domestic law throughout Wales and Europe. Clan Childlaw presented some of the current legal issues facing children in Scotland whose rights under the UNCRC are not being upheld.

The outputs gathered from the seminar will help support the implementation of the Children and Young People 2014 Act and ensure children's rights approaches are taken forward at a local and national government level.

A number of materials have been created from the first seminar. These can be accessed below to aid understanding and context between seminars.


2. The UNCRC in Practice

The second seminar explored methods through which children and young people's views and experiences are - and could be - used to inform legislative and policy developments and how children's rights are fulfilled in practice. Gerison Lansdown discussed research developments and learning in children's participation over the past 25 years.

The seminar also explored practice models and participation strategies through the Children's Parliament, Who Cares? Scotland and the Scottish Youth Parliament. A set of priorities will be developed for research and practice as a result of the workshops run by children and young people themselves.

A number of materials have been created from the second seminar. These can be accessed below to aid understanding and context between seminars.


3. The UNCRC in Policy

The third seminar used learning from participants to explore how new policy developments - such as those relating to child rights impact assessments and planning in children's services - can provide opportunities to further children's rights and their participation in policy developments. The seminar aimed to inform new models of UNCRC implementation that support public bodies to meet new obligations under the 2014 Act.

The seminar was divided into three sessions and each examined different policy developments regarding children and young people in Scotland. The first session explored children and young people's participation in policy developments, the second explored the experiences and impact of Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessments (CRWIA) through multiple perspectives and the final session looked at the planning and implementation of Part 1 and Part 3 of the 2014 Act.


4. The UNCRC Going Forwards

This fourth and final seminar brought together the learning, experience and proposals of the previous three seminars to develop a plan for moving forward UNCRC implementation in Scotland across law, practice and policy. The seminar looked at UNCRC accountability mechanisms and examined the use of data and indicators to measure the progress of children's rights. The session was informed by the newly appointed Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland, members of youth councils, government officials, academia, civil society and the public sector. Mark McDonald MSP, Minister for Childcare and Early Years reflected on actions that can be taken forward by the Scottish Government to further the UNCRC.

A clear agreement has been reached that multiple opportunities and policy tools for progressing children's rights could be used to better effect as part of a national child rights action plan for Scotland. This action plan would outline the distinct steps that Scottish Government will take to progress the UNCRC. By taking responsibility individually, collectively and nationally we could ensure the culture change needed to make children's rights a reality for all children and young people.


Young People's project

Throughout the duration of the seminar series, we have been joined by several Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Glasgow Youth Council. These young people took part throughout the seminar series to create a series of videos covering the seminar's key messages, and to inform a creative project in partnership with the Children's Parliament at the close of the seminar series. They provided notes throughout each seminar to work with us to create a set of child-friendly briefings from each seminar.

At the final seminar the 'UNCRC Going Forwards' we were fortunate to have Suki Wan MSYP, Joel Meekison and Thomas McEachan MSYP Chair the afternoon session during which Bruce Adamson the Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scoland, and Mark McDonald MSP Minister for Childcare and Early Years took part in a panel discussion.

Creative Project

The Creative Project was undertaken at the start of June, after the final UNCRC in Scotland seminar took place. Artists Joanna and Yonnie spent three days working with P6 pupils from Sciennes Primary School in Edinburgh discussing key themes that were raised in the seminars as well as the ideas from the young people's project and the child-friendly briefings. The pupils then created seven panels of artwork which presented these themes in an engaging way.

Sciennes Primary School have written a fantastic blog about the project which includes pictures of the artwork and videos of the pupils discussing the mural themes.


Glasgow Youth Council trip to Aberdeen

Members of the Glasgow Youth Council and the Scottish Youth Parliament were invited to attend the seminars as part of a film-making and creative project.  As the seminar series progressed, the involvement of these young people became so much more as they learnt about the UNCRC across law, practice and policy, eventually Chairing the final seminar on next steps for implementation.  After meeting Suki Wan, Thomas McEachan and Joel Meekison during the seminar series, Aberdeen City Council invited the three of them to Aberdeen to share best practice of embedding a child-rights based approach into planning and services.

These three young people have detailed the experiences of their trip to Aberdeen in a series of blogs which can be accessed below.



Young Scot are supporting the 'UNCRC in Scotland' project through a series of short videos that have been made for each seminar. These videos capture the key messages from speakers and young people.


SUII seminar series project evaluation

A summary and evaluation of the seminar series, including insights and recommendations, is now available online through SUII.






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