Young people led Government cabinet meeting

First Minister with a group of young people

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Government Ministers met representatives from the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament during the second annual Cabinet meeting with young people, in April 2018.

During the meeting, young people had the chance to discuss some of the key issues impacting their lives at home, at school and in the community, and share their views with Ministers, in the hope they could inform the government’s agenda over Year of Young People 2018.

In addition, Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament discussed their annual campaign on young people’s rights, Right Here, Right Now.

Among others, some of the topics discussed during Cabinet were:

  • Human Rights
  • Relationships
  • Equality
  • Period poverty
  • and other key rights issues for young people.

At the end of the meeting, all participants were invited to collectively agree actions for the year ahead in relation to children and young people, their rights and wellbeing. In the next few weeks, a response will be published, setting out actions for the Scottish Government to take forward over the coming year.

Actions

Listening to children and young people’s voices

  1. Encourage Scottish Government officials to take account of young people’s views as early as possible during the policy making process.
  2. Government will consider how young people’s views are heard on religious observance in schools.

Children and young people’s rights

  1. As set out in the Programme for Government 2017-18, Government will undertake an audit on the most effective and practical way to further embed the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into legislation, policy and practice, including the option of full incorporation into domestic law.

Brexit and the rights of young people

  1. Government will listen to and take account of the voices of young people on key rights issues that they feel should be protected during Brexit. This will include organising a meeting with the Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland’s Place in Europe and Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament to discuss their Brexit manifesto.
  2. Government will promote the voices of young people during the Brexit negotiations with the UK government, when we have the opportunity to do so.

Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC)

  1. Reinforce the Getting it right for every child approach and ensure that it is meaningful for children and young people.
  2. Consider how the child centred approach, promoted by Getting it right for every child, is working in practice for developing positive relationships for children with practitioners (such as teachers and social workers, as raised by children).

Wellbeing of children and young people

  1. Take steps to improve the wellbeing of children and young people. In particular,

(a) Bullying

Using the framework “Respect for All – the National Approach to Anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People” Government will improve the recording and monitoring process for incidents of bullying in schools; and provide new guidance for all school staff on how to deal with incidents of racist bullying.

(b) Equality (such as gender, sexual orientation, age and care experience, as discussed by children).

(c) Period poverty

It is not acceptable that people in Scotland are experiencing period poverty, which is why Scottish Government are making sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities from autumn 2018.

(d) Mosquito devices

Scottish Government does not have the devolved powers to introduce an outright ban on mosquito anti-loitering devices, and does not support their use and have written to all local authorities and a range of public bodies to clarify their position, which they support. The Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs will be writing to a range of private sector bodies to highlight the Government’s position on this and to encourage them to support us in not using the mosquito device.

Additional points

  1. Encourage more people to be Unfearties and raise awareness of children’s rights amongst children, young people and adults.
  2. Encourage more people, particularly children and young people, to be Human Rights Defenders.

Commenting on the meeting, the First Minister said:

“The Cabinet meeting is a great opportunity to further engage with our children and young people at a national level, ensuring they can have their say and be at the heart of decisions which affect them.

“We want Scotland to be the best place for children to grow up. The Children’s Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament do great work in helping our children and young people to confidently express their views and have a real influence on the issues that matter most to them.”