Children and Young People Bill Engagement Event – Report

Written by Clare Marsh – HSS Education Officer

The Scottish Government plan to introduce a new bill to protect the rights of children and young people and has issued a consultation document to which they invite responses by 25 September 2012.

The bill will propose a duty that requires Scottish Ministers to take appropriate steps to further the rights set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This duty would, for the first time, explicitly in legislation:

  • be a clear statement of Ministerial commitment to – and responsibility for – the rights and duties set out in the UNCRC and
  • require ministers to identify specific measures to further the rights set out in the UNCRC

Of particular interest to the HSS is article 14 which requires the state to respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

In his presentation, Scott Wood, Head of Children’s Rights Policy, Scottish Government, said that they intend to impose a duty on Scottish Ministers to

  • take appropriate steps to further children’s rights as set out in the UNCRC
  • report on steps taken to further children’s rights every 3 years
  • promote awareness and understanding of children’s rights.

They also plan to:

  • extend the role of Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People to allow him to undertake investigation on behalf of individual children and young people
  • establish a mechanism for children to raise concerns through the SCCYP
  • increase transparency, scrutiny and accountability around the entire public sector’s approach to children’s rights

After his presentation I spoke to him about the problems parents were encountering in certain schools when they raised concerns about their children being taught religion as fact. He seemed to be aware of this and agreed to meet us to discuss how we might best proceed.

We intend to submit our response to this consultation on 18th September and invite any member of the HSS or any parent, student or teacher to send us their suggestions for inclusion before that date.

All presentations can be viewed at

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/Young-People/legislation/engagement-2012

 

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