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Enquire Blog

A diverse group of teenagers sit outside in the grass. One girl is looking directly at the camera and smiling, whilst the others are all looking off camera, into the distance.

Preparing for incorporation

The UNCRC (Scotland) Act 2024 places a series of duties on local councils to ensure they meet and uphold the rights of children and young people. Kimberley Hunter and Laura MacAskill share how East Renfrewshire have been working to prepare for incorporation of UNCRC into Scots Law, including ensuring meaningful participation and engagement with young people around the council’s services.  

When the UNCRC (Scotland) Bill was first proposed in 2021, it signalled a national commitment from Scotland to incorporate the UNCRC into domestic law and ensure children’s rights were upheld across the work of all public bodies.  It signalled the start of work across East Renfrewshire Council to consider how the UNCRC, and children’s rights and wellbeing more broadly, was evident in how we provide our services.  

In preparation for the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots Law, East Renfrewshire Council established a UNCRC Implementation Group in April 2021 with representation from across council and wider partners. Its role was to consider the implications of the incorporation and how this affects the way we deliver council services. 

We focused on three key areas; participate, publicise and promote.

Making progress

Since the launch of the Implementation Group three years ago, we are pleased to report a number of areas of progress, including: 

  • Development of a dedicated Children’s Rights section on the East Renfrewshire council website
  • Delivery of a media campaign to improve awareness around children’s rights and the work of East Renfrewshire council to help realise and uphold these rights  
  • Development of an Audit Tool for use by council and partners which has been trialled by the council Housing Department 
  • UNCRC embedded within Equality, Fairness and Rights Impact and Assessments 
  • First Youth Assembly and Rights Roadshows 
  • Production of a Children’s Rights Report, as well as a child-friendly version 
  • Successful Innovation Fund Bid to establish a representative youth rights committee.
Applying rights-based learning and meaningful participation 

Over the last six months, the rights of children and young people have been at the forefront of discussions across council services and with young people, and the creation and development of our youth rights committee is well underway.  

The Community Learning and Development CLD) staff have undergone training facilitated by ‘My Rights My Say’ and have been following their guidance to ensure that discussions and consultations were carried out using effective, inclusive and engaging methods. We have incorporated their knowledge and excellent materials into our Rights Roadshows to ensure that all young people involved were included and able to participate in discussions and activities. 

Across the authority we held 12 roadshows with around 250 young people aged 11-25 across primary and secondary schools, youth groups and support groups to find out more, have their say about the council services and influence how we move forward.  

The grand finale of these Roadshows was an ‘East Renfrewshire Youth Rights Fest’ which brought young people from across the authority together to participate in an evening of fun and decision making. The event was designed, led and hosted by East Renfrewshire’s Scottish Youth Parliament members, Youth Ambassadors and members of our Local Youth Participation groups supported by the councils CLD team.  

This inclusive and interactive event provided an excellent opportunity for interested young people to make some decisions of their own and on behalf of the wider group. Decision making ranged from deciding on the name of the ‘Committee’, whether to commit to becoming an active member and the themes that should be covered, reflecting topics important to young people.   

The young people unanimously voted for the committee to move forward under the name of The Youth Rights Association, and fed back positively about the night and plans for the future.

Some comments recieved included: 

In the coming weeks and months the Youth Rights Association will be taking part in fun and engaging activities, skills development, peer support activities and a residential activity to Lockerbie Manor during the summer.   

Following this period of team building, the aim of the association will be to work in partnership with policies, decision makers and community groups/organisations to ensure that the views of Children and Young People are embedded in the initial conversations of all decisions being made, that can, or will, affect them.   

We look forward to supporting our Youth Rights Association to see what they can achieve in 2024 and beyond, marking the start of our commitment to meaningful engagement and participation with young people, and to children’s rights more generally.  

Kimberley Hunter and Laura MacAskill are Community Workers within East Renfrewshire Council. 

Looking for support?

The UNCRC (Scotland) Act 2024, places a series of duties on government and public administrations in Scotland, as well as all bodies in the public, third and independent sectors who meet the definition of a ‘public authority’.

For more information on how Enquire or My Rights My Say can work with your local authority to uphold the duties included in the UNCRC (Scotland) Act, contact Lucy Johnson, Senior Development Officer with Enquire. Email: ljohnson@childreninscotland.org.uk.  

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