Fifth annual Cabinet meeting with children and young people
In one of the highlights of the Cabinet calendar, last week I had the pleasure of meeting once more with 14 exceptional children and young people – seven Members of the Children’s Parliament (MCPs) and seven Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) – at our fifth annual Cabinet meeting with children and young people. MCPs and MSYPs represented the views of their peers.
It was a fantastic opportunity for me, and for my Cabinet colleagues, to further engage with children and young people, ensuring they can have their say, be listened to and be at the very heart of decisions which affect them.
Anti-racism, the climate emergency and trees, the impact of COVID-19 on children and young people, and the critical importance of including the voices of seldom heard groups in policy making were just some of the topics covered by our discussions.
It was particularly fitting that this year’s event took place on the same day, 16 March 2021, that also saw the passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation)(Scotland) Bill through the Scottish Parliament. This is a landmark Bill which is the most significant piece of legislation since devolution, delivering a revolution in children’s rights.
Important though that is, it is not the end of the journey in making children’s rights real. It is now incumbent upon us all to continue to engage with children and young people, as we ensure the Bill’s ambitions are translated into real-life improvements which transform their lives and life chances. That includes the right of children and young people to have their voices heard in decision-making. Listening to children and young people’s views remains essential to the realisation of all rights in the UNCRC.
At the meeting last week, the First Minister expressed her wish, one which I share, that the Cabinet Takeover continues to be a feature of government’s engagement with children and young people.
We hope to build on the success of the last 5 meetings, strengthening the voices of children and young people in all of the decisions that we make, and bringing us even closer to our ambition for Scotland to be the best place for children and young people to grow up.
The progress report on actions from last year’s meeting can be found here: