Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland

We are a collaborative of Scottish organisations working to drive implementation of children’s human rights in Scotland, with local impact and global learning.

Driving change to fully implement children’s human rights

Our vision: Children’s human rights are fully implemented in all areas of children and young people’s lives in Scotland, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and broader international human rights treaties. This will help to ensure that children’s human dignity is respected and all children are supported to thrive and reach their full potential.

To achieve this, we want to use global and local learning to stimulate change in Scotland:

  • To bring together lived experiences, academic, inter-disciplinary and cross-sector contributions, to exchange and amplify ideas, evidence and expertise, in order to accelerate progress
  • To foster spaces to critique and grapple with the contentious and complex challenges inherent to implementing children’s human rights
  • To identify progress in implementing children’s human rights, in terms of particular areas, practice and systems, and how to address gaps

The organisations working together to develop the Observatory’s strategy and agenda are:

The Observatory's Terms of Reference can be downloaded below. 



Theory of Change for Making Children’s Rights Real in Scotland

Between November 2021 and March 2022 and with funding from the Scottish Government, the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland partnered with Matter of Focus and Public Health Scotland to develop a Theory of Change for implementing the UNCRC in Scotland.

Matter of Focus

Public Health Scotland

Read more about this work here

The Theory of Change provides a collaborative, evidence-based framework for action planning for UNCRC implementation at all levels. We are now looking to public bodies and other interested organisations to take the Theory of Change forward and create their own action plans.

As part of a new project supporting local authorities for the incorporation of the UNCRC, the Improvement Service has created an online community open to all aimed at sharing information, learning and ideas for the implementation of the UNCRC in Scotland, which will provide further resources for taking this work forward.

Children's Human Rights in Scotland Hub

We would like to keep track of how the Theory of Change is being used. Please do get in touch by email if you are developing an action plan based on the Theory of Change.

Reflective Learning

We are supporting two initiatives in their reflective learning:

We have developed a Practice Note on Children's Rights Impact Assessments.

The Observatory recognises that conducting a Child Rights Impact Assessment will be new to many leaders and organisations. To aid Scotland’s learning and improvement over time, we have made a commitment to gather insights and ideas derived from the experience of doing CRIAs in different contexts. As we work with others involved in conducting CRIAs, we will encapsulate and present practice pointers that may be helpful to others.   

Webinar: Implementing Children’s Rights in Scotland – Developing Systems of Child-Friendly Complaints, Remedy and Redress

The Observatory co-hosted a webinar titled ‘Implementing Children’s Rights in Scotland – Developing Systems of Child-Friendly Complaints, Remedy and Redress' on the 4 February 2021.

Independent Children's Rights Impact Assessment on the response to COVID-19 in Scotland

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every aspect of the lives of children and young people in Scotland. The Observatory of Children's Human Rights Scotland was asked by the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland to conduct a thorough analysis of how emergency laws and procedures around COVID-19 impacted the human rights of children and young people in Scotland.

"Life-changing decisions being made during coronavirus have felt like playing a game. Every time it should be our turn someone skips over us and we end up left behind and forgotten." Abigail (15)


Further information

Contact the Observatory