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| 2 minutes read

New Year, new guidance on taking a children's human rights approach published

The Scottish Government has today (8 January 2024) published new guidance to provide information and resources to support public authorities and other organisations to implement a children’s human rights approach in the work they do. The guidance is to assist public authorities in meeting their current duties under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and to prepare them for their duties under the  United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill. 

The guidance has been issued to:

  • Assist those involved in public service delivery in Scotland by providing them with an introduction to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).
  • Support such service providers in implementing a children’s human rights approach.
  • Give effect to children’s rights in practice.

The Scottish Government has made it clear that ensuring a children’s human rights approach is taken is not just relevant to children and young people’s services, but that, “all decisions made about, and actions taken to deliver public services may impact on the rights and wellbeing of children and young people". Therefore, this guidance will likely be important for a variety of organisations and individuals to ensure they are compliant. 

This guidance will assist those considering the implications of the passing of the UNCRC Bill as it will not only place legal duties on public authorities but also intends to improve the culture of children’s rights in Scotland. This guidance on how public authorities, and other organisations, can take a children’s human rights approach aims to support this shift to ensure they consider the UNCRC in the delivery of their services and take actions now to make children’s rights real.

The extensive guidance aims to do the following: 

  • Provide a brief summary of human rights, children’s rights and the UNCRC.
  • Raise awareness of the ambition for children’s human rights in Scotland and set out the Scottish Government’s actions to implement the UNCRC to date.
  • Provide an update on the UNCRC (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill.
  • Provide information and resources to support organisations to take a children’s human rights approach to planning and delivery of services.
  • Clarify links between the UNCRC, key policies and existing Scottish legislation.
  • Share relevant case studies on taking a children’s human rights approach.

As family lawyers, we work in an area which is heavily involved in decision-making regarding children, be that through parents reaching agreements directly, or via the civil court system.  Therefore, if the Scottish Government is seeking to improve the culture of children's rights in Scotland, we need to ensure that this guidance is taken onboard and kept in mind going forward. 


uncrc, children, child, child law, young people, rights of the child, family law