Child Rights Impact Assessments are recognised by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child as general measures of implementation for the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC). They provide a continuous process of assessment and evaluation of the impact of laws, policies, budgets, programmes, and services on children’s rights.  

As Scotland moves towards incorporating the UNCRC into Scots Law it is imperative that Child Rights Impact Assessments are adopted to put children’s rights at the heart of public authority decision-making. In support of this the office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland has identified an urgent need to develop knowledge and understanding of how to involve children and young people in these processes, and how this can be applied by public authorities in Scotland. 

With support from the Commissioner’s Office, Children’s Parliament, along with Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland and East Lothian Children’s Services Partnership, are investigating how to involve children and young people in Child Rights Impact Assessments in an engaging and dynamic way.  

We are working with approximately 100 children across East Lothian, from Letham Mains Primary School, Longniddry Primary School, Yester Primary School and Ross High School. Twelve children from across the four schools are working together as our team of ‘investigators’ – developing further knowledge and understanding of how children and young people can inform and be meaningfully involved in Child Rights Impact Assessments.  

The first phase of work with the children and young people has concluded. This phase included a day-long workshop for each class, introducing them to the UNCRC and exploring how they feel about their local authority. The Investigators then came together to explore and analyse their classmates’ findings, thinking about how children and young people can feedback their views and experiences in East Lothian.