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

The Theory of Change for Making Children’s Rights Real in Scotland provides a collaborative, evidence-based framework for action planning for UNCRC implementation at all levels.

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

Taking the Theory of Change forward

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 if you are developing an action plan based on the Theory of Change.

Contact the Observatory

The Theory of Change reports

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 Implementation 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.

Download the Theory of Change - Full Report (June 2022) (PDF, 9,9 MB)

Download the Theory of Change - Summary (June 2022) (PDF, 1,01 MB)

View the Interactive Summary (external site)  

The Theory of Change 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.