Amendments to UNCRC Bill must not create further delay  

Commissioner responds to Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice’s Ministerial Statement on UNCRC Incorporation Bill 

Nick Hobbs, Acting Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said: 

Today’s update on the UNCRC Incorporation Bill has been a long time coming. We welcome clarification from the Scottish Government on their preferred approach to amending the Bill. 

We do not want to see the Bill delayed by further challenges. Children cannot wait any longer for their rights to be protected in law, nor for the culture change needed to make their rights real. For duty bearers and rights holders, we want the legislation to be clear. 

The Bill contains many measures which will contribute to making children’s rights real, not least new duties on Scottish Ministers to consider the rights of children in the budget process and identify and address any situation where a child’s rights are not being fulfilled. 

Our office continues to call for Scottish Government to undertake a legislative audit to identify areas of law which are currently incompatible with the UNCRC. This should include Acts of the Scottish Parliament and UK Acts in devolved areas which could be brought into scope of the UNCRC Incorporation Bill by being consolidated into new Acts of the Scottish Parliament. This will ensure maximum coverage of the UNCRC Incorporation Bill. The passage of the Bill need not, and must not be delayed by this audit. It should be done as a parallel process, and can continue once the Bill has received Royal Assent.   

Scottish Government must live up to the promises they have made to the children and young people of Scotland and deliver the intention to incorporate the UNCRC to the fullest extent possible. Children need a clear and urgent timeframe for when their rights will be protected in law. They need decisive action now, not further unnecessary delay. 

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