Observatory projects

Further information on the work carried out by the Observatory.

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

Since the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill in a landmark vote in March 2021, many people and organisations in Scotland have been considering how best to implement the Bill and ensure children’s human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled.

To support this transformative change, the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland, 'Matter of Focus' and 'Public Health Scotland' were awarded a grant by the Scottish Government, to lead a collaborative effort to develop a Theory of Change for the process of UNCRC implementation in Scotland between November 2021 and March 2022. 

Matter of Focus

Public Health Scotland

Read about the beginnings of the project

For any questions on the project, or if you wish to discuss opportunities to take the Theory of Change forward, please email using the following email address.

The Theory of Change

The Theory of Change is a distillation of wide-ranging engagement – over 60 organisations had an input in its development – as well as commissioned research and analysis of what effects change. In particular, the project team worked closely with the 'UNCRC Strategic Implimentation Board', which has national strategic oversight for the UNCRC Implementation Programme, to ensure work on UNCRC implementation continued in harmony alongside the development of the Theory of Change.

UNCRC Strategic Implementation Board

The project report introduces the outcome maps which make up the Theory of Change and provides principles to consider in applying the Theory of Change to your own work.

 The report is aimed at those who have strategic roles to prepare for the new duties in the UNCRC Incorporation Bill and more broadly will prove useful to organisations drawing upon this framework to develop action plans tailored to their work and circumstances.

Theory of Change - Full Report (June 2022)

Theory of Change - Summary (June 2022)

 View the Interactive Summary

The evidence papers

As part of the work, the project commissioned rapid reviews to examine the evidence on what best effects change, and how to apply this to the Scottish context, through the Theory of Change. The following evidence papers provide a summary of the evidence relevant to each of the four change processes that make up the Theory of Change.

These papers will prove useful to policy-makers and practitioners wanting to make evidence-based decisions towards their next steps on UNCRC implementation and looking for a deeper understanding of the mechanisms which underlie change.

While each of the four papers is themed around one of the change processes, the interconnectedness of the change processes means that the papers are interrelated, with the evidence sometimes crossing over.


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

'Making Children's Rights Real': The opportunities of incorporating the Convention on the Rights of the Child

 Professor Kirsten Sandberg, University of Oslo, gave the Moray House School of Education and Sport Annual Lecture on May 27.  Professor Sandberg's lecture was followed by contributions from Mairi Macpherson, Deputy Director for Creating Positive Futures, Scottish Government and Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

Watch the recording of Making Children's Rights Real​​​​​​