Evidence and responses

One of the ways the Commissioner protects the rights of children and young people is to comment on proposed policies and legislation that may affect them. He does this by:

  • giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament around issues that affect children and young people,
  • responding to consultations around issues that affect children and young people, and
  • writing briefings for MSPs.

Parliamentary evidence, consultation responses and MSP briefings given since 2012 can be downloaded in PDF form below. Get in touch if you’d like to ask for evidence or responses from before this date.

Parliamentary evidence

2018

Universal Periodic Review: Opportunities for Parliamentary involvement

January 2018. A paper for the Equalities & Human Rights Committee on how the Scottish Parliament can feed into the reporting process of the UN Universal Periodic Review.

2017

Children and Young People (Information Sharing)(Scotland) Bill

August 2017. The Commissioner responds to a call for evidence from the Education and Skills Committee.

Domestic Abuse Bill

May 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie gives evidence to the Justice Committee around the newly introduced Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Bill.

Evidence to Health and Sport Committee

January 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie's written evidence around historic abuse in football.

2016

Evidence on Scotland’s relationship with the EU

September 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to European and External Relations Committee's request for evidence around Scotland’s relationship with the EU following the UK's vote to leave the European Union.

2015

Response to inquiry on the Human Rights Act

November 2015.  Commissioner Tam Baillie outlines concerns around the UK Government's proposal for a British Bill of Rights and repeal of the Human Rights Act in this response to the European and External Relations Committee.

Evidence on the Education (Scotland) Bill

May 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie's response to Stage 1 consultation on the Bill.

Evidence to the JCHR on UK compliance with the UNCRC

March 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie's evidence to the Joint Committee for Human Rights gives an overview of key achievements and concerns in Scotland around children's rights, then focuses on the state of children's rights for groups highlighted by the Committee.

Evidence to the Justice Committee on the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill

February 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie's evidence focuses on issues around child trafficking he feels the Scottish Parliament's Bill must address.

2014

Evidence to the Health and Sport Committee on health inequalities in the early years

March 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie's evidence covers children's rights, early years policy interventions, the impact of poverty, and barriers and challenges to reducing health inequalities.

Housing (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 Evidence

February 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie gives evidence to the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee around Stage 1 of the Housing (Scotland) Bill.

2013

Evidence to the Justice Committee on the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill

September 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie's written evidence focuses on the rights and treatment of child suspects, the removal of the requirement for corroborated evidence in children’s hearings court proceedings and the statutory aggravation relating to human trafficking offences.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: written evidence to the Education and Culture Committee

July 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie’s written evidence discusses UNCRC incorporation, children’s rights impact assessments and specific provisions made by the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.

Evidence to the Justice Committee on the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill

April 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie's evidence on the proposals contained in the Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill that will implement EU Directive 2012/29/EU in relation to minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime and forms part of the wider justice reform programme aiming to support victims and witnesses.

Evidence on the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill

August 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie's evidence on the Tribunals (Scotland) Bill focuses on the future of the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland (ASNTS) and the children’s hearings system.

2012

Inquiry into decision making on whether children should be taken into care

August 2012. Commissioner Tam Baillie’s evidence to an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament Education and Culture Committee into the decision-making processes involved in determining whether a child should be taken into care and whether these processes are delivering the best outcomes for children and their families.

Public Petition PE1411: reform of school uniform policies

January 2012. In this response, Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the legal position on school uniforms; the Equality Act 2010 and the duties it places on public bodies to prevent indirect and direct discrimination against those with protected characteristics; and alternatives to a strict uniform/dress code.

Consultation responses

2018

Review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004

February 2018. The Commissioner responds to Angela Constance MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, on the review of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

Empowering schools: A consultation on the provisions of the Education (Scotland) Bill

February 2018. The Commissioner responds to Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP around this consultation.

2017

Extending Children’s Rights Consultation

November 2017. A letter to John Swinney MSP responding to a consultation on extending children's rights.

Proposed period poverty consultation

November 2017. The Commissioner responds to a consultation on a proposed bill to end period poverty.

Proposed Draft Police Act 1997/Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 Remedial Order 2018

November 2017. The Commissioner’s office responds to a consultation on a draft Remedial Order.

Evidence and procedure review

October 2017. The Commissioner responds to this consultation.

Review of Part 1 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995

September 2017. Notes of an interview between our Policy Officer Megan Farr and the Scottish Government.

Supporting Children's Learning Code of Practice

September 2017. A response to Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney MSP around the Code of Practice.

Letter to John Swinney MSP on prejudice based bullying

August 2017. A joint letter from the Commissioner and the EHRC around prejudice-based bullying in schools.

Proposed Children (Equal Protection from Assault) (Scotland) Bill

August 2017. The Commissioner's office responds to John Finnie's consultation on this proposed Bill.

Response to PE1635: Review of Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995

April 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Public Petitions Committee around a petition on Section 11 of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

Healthcare needs in schools

April 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to a consultation around guidance for schools around the healthcare needs of pupils.

Inquiry into hunger amongst children during the school holidays

March 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to an Inquiry from the UK Parliament's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger.

Guidance on religious observance

March 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government consultation around religious observance guidance.

Consultation on the new National Health and Social Care Standards

January 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the consultation on new standards in health and social care.

Consultation on the sexual portrayal of under-18s in advertising

January 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice’s (BCAP) proposals for new rules.

Empowering teachers, parents and communities to achieve excellence and equity in education: a governance review

January 2017. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the review.

2016

Standards in Scottish Schools etc Act 2000: draft statutory guidance

November 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to John Swinney MSP around this draft guidance.

A new future for social security

October 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Consultation on Social Security in Scotland.

A child poverty bill for Scotland

October 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government's consultation around its ambitions to eradicate child poverty.

Mental health in Scotland: a 10-year vision

September 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government's consultation around what Scotland's mental health services should look like in 10 years time.

Review of Scottish strategic police priorities

August 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's review.

Police powers to search children and young people for alcohol

June 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie's response to the Scottish Government's consultation.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 non-statutory guidance part 1: children's rights duties

June 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie's response to the Scottish Government's consultation.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 statutory guidance part 3: children's services planning

June 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie's response to the Scottish Government's consultation.

Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (Time for Compliance) regulations 2016

May 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government's consultation.

Report on the application of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in Scotland

May 2016. This report to the UN looks at Covenant application with respect to the rights of children and young people.

A criminal offence of domestic abuse

April 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on draft proposals around creating a specific offence of 'abusive behaviour in relation to a partner or ex-partner'.

UNCRPD draft delivery plan

January 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government's Draft Delivery Plan 2016-2020 for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

2015

Digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland

December 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Scottish Government's draft Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy.

Response to consultation on the Police Act 1997 and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007 Remedial Order 2015

December 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to a Scottish Government request for observations around the 2015 Remedial Order.

Response to pregnancy and parenthood in young people strategy

October 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie gives his views on the Scottish Government's strategy for young people who are pregnant or parents.

United Kingdom Children’s Commissioners’ response to the Home Office consultation “Reforming support for failed asylum seekers and other illegal immigrants”

September 2015. The 4 UK children's commissioners' joint response to a Home Office consultation.

Submission to the Scottish Parliament Public Petitions Committee on Petition PE1319: Improving youth football in Scotland

May 2015.This submission to the Public Petitions Committee consists of:

  • a child rights impact assessment on the registration process for youth football in Scotland from a rights perspective, and
  • a research report exploring the views of young players.

Response to Petition PE1548: national guidance on restraint and seclusion in schools

April 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to Petition PE1548 at the Public Petitions Committee.

Consultation on draft statutory guidance for part 9 (corporate parenting) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, 2014

February 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the draft guidance around the Act from a perspective explicitly based on children's rights.

Response to Legal Assistance in Scotland: Fit for the 21st Century

February 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to the Law Society of Scotland's discussion paper on legal assistance, focusing on the potential impact of its proposals on children and young people.

Comments on the proposed British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill

January 2015. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's proposals from a rights-based perspective.

2014

Comments on the Scottish Government consultation on draft secondary legislation for Parts 9, 10 and 11 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

December 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie's comments take in Part 9 (Corporate Parenting), Part 10 (Aftercare) and Part 11 (Continuing Care) of the 2014 Act.

Response to the Smith Commission

October 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie's response to the Smith Commission, which will look at further devolved powers for Scotland.

National Care Standards consultation

September 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie gives his response to the public consultation around the National Care Standards.

Comments on Scottish Government proposals for a Human Trafficking Bill and outline strategy

August 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's proposals from a perspective based on children's rights.

Draft Regulations relating to the Public Bodies (Joint Working) Scotland Act 2015/ Set 1

August 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's proposed regulations.

Antisocial Behaviour (Scotland) Act 2004 consultation

June 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's proposals for amendments to the Act.

Carers’ legislation: consultation on proposals

April 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government’s proposals to improve the identification and support of all carers in Scotland.

Consultation on extending the rights of children with capacity

March 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie gives his response to the Scottish Government's consultation on extending the rights of children with capacity under the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended) and repealing Section 70 of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.

Human Trafficking (Scotland) Bill

January 2014. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on Jenny Marra MSP's proposal for a Human Trafficking (Scotland) Bill.

2013

Draft guidance on the conduct of relationships, sexual health and parenthood education (RSHPE) in Scottish schools

November 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie responds to a consultation process put in place by the Scottish Government on this draft guidance.

Response on amending the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010

September 2013. This response comments on proposals to amend the Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 following on from follow on from the recommendations of the Commission on the Delivery of Rural Education.

Proposed Smoking (Children in Vehicles) (Scotland) Bill

August 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on proposed measures to ban smoking in cars whilst children are present.

Shaping Scotland's court services

May 2013. In this written evidence to the Justice Committee, Commissioner Tam Baillie considers the potential effects to children and young people of Scottish Court Service recommendations on a future court service.

Making justice work: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill Consultation

May 2013. In this letter, Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government’s proposals for a Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill.

Scottish Government consultation on Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill

March 2013. In this letter, Commissioner Tam Baillie focuses on the matters raised by the Scottish Government in relation to education in Annex C and on matters relating to parenting raised in the Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) at Annex K.

Scottish Human Rights Commission’s consultation on Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP)

March 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie welcomes this opportunity to contribute to Scotland’s National Action Plan for human rights. He sees the Plan as a potentially powerful mechanism to facilitate progress on improving Scotland’s human rights record, and on closing the gap between rhetoric and reality in terms of human rights in Scotland.

Consultation on Health and Sport Committee inquiry into Teenage Pregnancy

January 2013.Evidence submitted by Commissioner Tam Baillie to the Health and Sport Committee Inquiry into teenage pregnancy. Scotland has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in Europe, with some geographical areas consistently higher than the Scottish average.

Consultation on the Draft Referendum Franchise (Scotland) Bill

January 2013. In this response, Commissioner Tam Baillie welcomes the intention of the Scottish Government to introduce a separate Bill to the Scottish Parliament to extend the franchise to 16 and 17 year-olds for the referendum on independence.

Commissioner Baillie focuses his comments on the importance of education and awareness raising activities to ensure that young people can engage fully in the democratic process and the 'Register of Young Voters' as a means of extending the franchise whilst safeguarding young people's rights to privacy of their personal data.

2012

A tobacco control strategy for Scotland

November 2012. Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the Scottish Government's draft tobacco control strategy.

In this response, Commissioner Baillie underlines the issues raised in his submission to the Department of Health consultation on standardising packaging of tobacco products and reiterates his support for plain packs and for continued vigilance over attempts to market tobacco to young people. He is also of the view that addressing tobacco use should be everyone's responsibility and is keen to explore how to best identify pathways for cessation for young people and their parents.

Consultation on a proposal for a Children and Young People Bill

September 2012. Commissioner Tam Baillie broadly welcomes the proposals in respect of children's right. However, he notes that they fall short of implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in law. Commissioner Baillie strongly encourages the Scottish Government to work towards this as a longer-term goal, as he believes incorporation will afford all children and young people in Scotland the protection they deserve.

Integration of adult health and social care in Scotland: consultation on proposals

September 2012. Commissioner Tam Baillie welcomes the aspirations and policy intentions of the proposals. Since the publication of this consultation, the Scottish Government has published 'A Scotland for Children: a consultation on the Children and Young People Bill'. Both will significantly affect children and young people and there is likely to be a critical interaction between the two, yet this is not sufficiently taken into account in either document. Commissioner Baillie suggests that the two sets of proposals have to be assessed as to their potential impacts on children and young people and family services in the round to ensure better results and minimise any potential unintended consequences.

Department of Health: consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco products

August 2012. Commissioner Tam Baillie endorses the Government's explicit public health goal of reducing the uptake of smoking by young people. He welcomes the proposals to help reduce the opportunities available to tobacco companies to promote and target their product at children and young people; all of which should reduce tobacco use and promote the health of children in Scotland and across the UK.

Consultation on proposals for a new tribunal system for Scotland

June 2012. In this response Commissioner Tam Baillie limits his comments to two areas in which his office has a particular interest and expertise; the Additional Support Needs Tribunal of Scotland (ASNTS), and the children's hearings system.

Children's Hearings legal assistance: consultation on draft code of practice

June 2012. It is Commissioner Tam Baillie's view that the draft code must be strengthened so that it contributes to a robust scheme which helps ensure that solicitors who undertake children's hearings work are best able to fulfil the particular requirements inherent in this work.

Commission on women offenders

January 2012. In this submission, Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on two key areas of the larger topic of women and the criminal justice system on which his office has done specific pieces of work in the last few years.

The first is the detention of girls and young women who offend, and the conditions under which they are detained. The second is the impact on children of their parent's imprisonment.

Mental health strategy for Scotland: 2011-2015

January 2012. In this response, Commissioner Tam Baillie suggests that the four-year strategy could be strengthened with a clearer priority given to the improvement of children and young people's mental health; and that this needs to go beyond CAMHS, taking a universal and targeted approach. Mental health and wellbeing should be incorporated into early years education, early intervention programmes and throughout a child and young person's life.

Public Petition PE141: reform of school uniform policies

January 2012. This petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to reform School Uniform Policies by stopping gender-specific uniforms and changing clothes worn for uniforms to more comfortable, less physically restrictive, more affordable and practical garments.

In this response to the petition, Commissioner Tam Baillie comments on the legal position on school uniforms; the Equality Act 2010 and the duties it places on public bodies to prevent indirect and direct discrimination against those with protected characteristics; and alternatives to a strict uniform / dress code.

MSP briefings

2017

Prejudice-based bullying debate briefing

November 2017.

Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 briefing

November 2017.

Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1 briefing

June 2017.

MSP briefing: Petition PE1548

April 2017. An MSP briefing produced with ENABLE Scotland on public petition PE1548: National guidance on restraint and seclusion in schools.

MSP briefing: Personal and Social Education

February 2017. Briefing to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee around the possibility of Scotland-wide guidelines for Personal and Social Education (PSE).

2016

Education (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 Briefing

January 2016. This joint briefing around key concerns in relation to the Bill's Schedule was produced by the Commissioner's office, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Inclusion Scotland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Govan Law Centre, ENABLE Scotland and Together.

2015

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

December 2015.

Education (Scotland) Bill: Stage 2

December 2015. This joint briefing was produced with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Inclusion Scotland, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, Govan Law Centre, ENABLE Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights).

British Sign Language Bill: Stage 3

September 2015.

Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill

April 2015.

2014

Scottish Parliament debate: Child poverty

March 2014.

Scottish Government Debate: Report on Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation in Scotland

January 2014.

2013

Briefing note for MSPs ahead of the Parliament’s debate on Scotland – the Best Place to Grow Up

March 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie welcomes this timely debate on Scotland’s vision for children and young people. Making Scotland the best place for children in which to live and grow up is an ambition which will be shared across the whole of the Scottish Parliament’s chamber, and indeed across Scotland.

Briefing note for MSPs ahead of the Parliament’s debate on Promoting and Protecting Human Rights – Scotland, Europe and the Wider World

February 2013. Commissioner Tam Baillie's view is that the rights of children must be at the heart of Scotland’s vision for human rights.

2012

Proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Looked After Children

September 2012: The purpose of this briefing is to share Commissioner Tam Baillie's preliminary analysis of those sections within A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which relate to support for looked after children; corporate parenting, kinship care, adoption and fostering.

Proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Early Learning and Child Care

September 2012. The purpose of this briefing is to share  Commissioner Tam Baillie's preliminary analysis of those proposals made in A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which relate to early learning and childcare.

Proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Extension of the Commissioner's Investigatory Powers

September 2012. The purpose of this briefing is to share Commissioner Tam Baillie's preliminary analysis of those proposals made in A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill to extend the Commissioner's powers of investigation.

Proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Legislating for elements of Getting it Right for Every Child

September 2012. The purpose of this briefing is to share Commissioner Tam Baillie's preliminary analysis of those sections within A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which relate to proposals for a new focus on well-being; better service planning and delivery; improved reporting regarding outcomes; the named person and the child's plan.

Proposed Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill - Children's Rights

August 2012: The purpose of this briefing is to share Commissioner Tam Baillie's preliminary analysis of those proposals made in A Scotland for Children: A Consultation on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which relate to duties on Scottish Ministers and others on children's rights.

Scottish Parliament Debate on Human Trafficking

February 2012. In 2011 the Commissioner's office published a report, Scotland - a safe place for child traffickers, which was based on research carried out by the Centre for Rural Childhood at the University of Highlands and Islands. This briefing focuses specifically on issues that the report and the Commissioner's office subsequent work has identified as being of relevance to the Scottish Government's role. It offers concrete actions that the Scottish Government and others should take to address the current issues.

Other policy documents

2017

Position statement: Mosquito devices

July 2017. In this position statement, the Commissioner calls for a ban on so-called "Mosquito" devices – which "repel" children by producing a sound which only they can hear – outlines the rights such devices infringe, and suggests a legislative framework through which they can be banned.

2016

Incorporating Digital Rights into the UNCRC

September 2016. Response to Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield, who contacted other ombudspersons for children for advice around shaping a UNCRC General Comment on children's digital rights.

Children's exposure to environmental toxicants

September 2016. Commissioner Tam Baillie's submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's 2016 discussion on Children's Rights and the Environment.