Unsure about how to involve children in decision-making? This new guide is for you

As we share ‘Listen, engage, have fun: Guide on involving children in Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) and Child Rights Impact Evaluation (CRIE)’, our Information Officer Gillian Munro blogs on the importance of children’s participation.

Legal and cultural change is just around the corner as we move to incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law. It’s the most exciting time in the evolution of children’s rights in Scotland. 

Of course, this will lead to practical change too.  

Using child rights impact assessment (CRIA) and child rights impact evaluation (CRIE) puts children’s rights at the heart of public authority decision-making. To help build confidence and knowledge in doing this we’ve worked with Children’s Parliament, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) and the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights in Scotland to create a user-friendly guide.

‘Listen, engage, have fun’ gives practical advice and guidance in involving children in CRIA and CRIE for leaders, policy-makers, and practitioners. Children from three primary schools and one secondary school in East Lothian who shared their views and experiences were vital to making this guide. We owe them a big thank you for their commitment to this project. Their contributions emphasised that children’s involvement is key to making CRIA and CRIE meaningful and fun.   

We know that creating a culture of participation might seem daunting but that’s where this guide comes in. It offers practical suggestions about how to engage children in CRIA with templates, top tips, and example activities you can use. They are all tried and tested and you can adapt them to the children involved and to the context of your work. They are geared towards children aged eight to 13, but can be tweaked to include older and younger children too. 

One Member of the Children’s Parliament who was part of the project said: “I have learned that children’s opinions matter.” Children have a right to be meaningfully involved in decisions that affect them, and due weight must be given to their views.

We want this guide to empower people who don’t have an in-depth understanding of children’s rights. It provides a starting point, explains terminology, and gives plenty of examples.

We hope you – and the children you’ll be involving in your CRIA and CRIE – enjoy using it. We’d love you to share your experiences with us so that your work can inspire others.  

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