Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland
The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland is a post in Scotland whose main task is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people. The position, equivalent to the Children's Ombudsman agencies of many other countries, was established by the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act of 2003. Scotland's first Commissioner was Kathleen Marshall who assumed her position in April 2004 and served a five-year term, demitting office in April 2009. The current Commissioner is Tam Baillie who took up the position in May 2009, initially for a two-year term; he was reappointed in 2011 to serve until May 2017.
The Commissioner must review law, policy and practice relating to the rights of children and young people with a view to assessing their adequacy and effectiveness. Specific regard must be had to any relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially those requiring that the best interests of the child be a primary consideration in decision-making, and that due account be taken of the views of affected children and young people. The Commissioner cannot intervene in individual cases, however these can highlight issues affecting a broader range of children and young people and these issues can be investigated by the Commissioner. After an investigation the Commissioner can make recommendations to the Scottish Parliament on what action they feel is deemed appropriate.
The Commissioner consults with children and young people on a regular basis via the SCCYP website, and through the networks of organisations who work on or on behalf of children and young people. In 2009, the Commissioner's office began to plan a national consultation of children and young people in Scotland called 'a RIGHT blether'. As part of the consultation there will be a national vote in which children and young people will be able to influence the Commissioner's office's work plan for the next four years. Children and young people will vote on what they think the Commissioner should take action on in four key areas: Where I live, where I learn and develop, My neighbourhood or community and Scotland.
The Commissioner's duties apply to all children and young people under 18, and all children and young people up to 21 who have been in care or looked after by a local authority, and are living in Scotland.
Scotland's first Commissioner, Kathleen Marshall, was appointed by Queen Elizabeth in April 2004, after a selection process which included her being interviewed by two groups of children and young people. Marshall was appointed for a period of five years, with the possibility of a further five-year period. Before taking up her post as Commissioner, Marshall worked as a child law consultant and from 1989-1994 she was the Director of the Scottish Child Law Centre. She is currently a visiting professor at the Glasgow Centre for the Child and Society at the University of Glasgow.
Scotland's current Commissioner is Tam Baillie. He was appointed in May 2009 after an interview process which included children and young people as well as Members of the Scottish Parliament. After working as practitioner and as a manager of services for children and young people and their families for almost 25 years, Baillie moved into the strategic policy field. He worked as the Director of Policy for Barnardo's from 2003 to 2009 and has also held the post of Chair of the Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights. On 10 February 2011 he was reappointed for a second term, to serve until May 2017.
List of commissioners
- Kathleen Marshall (2004 to 2009); first commissioner
- Tam Baillie (2009 to present); will serve until May 2017
- Social care in Scotland
- Timeline of young people's rights in the United Kingdom
- Children's Commissioner for England
- Children's Commissioner for Wales
- Commissioner for Children and Young People, Northern Ireland
- "Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
- "Knives out for controversial children". The Scotsman. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
- "About the Commissioner: The Commissioner's story". Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- Kemp, Jackie (21 April 2009). "'What they long for is people who care'". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "About the Commissioner: Meet Tam". Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
- "New children's commissioner named". BBC News. 21 April 2009.
- "Democracy Live: SPCB motions". BBC News. 10 February 2011.