Council champions Children and Young People’s Charter

Aberdeenshire councillors endorsed a charter which recognises young people’s rights during a meeting of Full Council today (September 27). The charter launch forms part of the strong partnership commitment to children’s rights in Aberdeenshire’s Children’s Services Plan.

Created by Aberdeenshire’s children and young people, the seven charter statements hold decision-makers to account, and help ensure young people’s viewpoints are considered in key decisions. The Charter is also helping to raise awareness of new children’s rights reporting duties on public bodies.

The charter’s endorsement at Full Council follows a positive response from members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee last month. Members embraced their role in recognising and championing children and young people’s rights in the work Aberdeenshire Council does.  

The charter had six stages of development:

• Consultation with 345 children and young people informed the draft.
• 130 young people voted on charter statements at a youth participation event in August 2017. This was attended by Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, and John Loughton, Big Brother Celebrity Hijack winner and global youth campaigner.
• Aberdeenshire’s Pupil Participation Forum helped re-word the statements.
• Wider consultation took place with 17 Youth Forums, Aberdeenshire Youth Council, Primary School Focus Groups and online.
• Young people from Inverurie I-Con Group created the official Charter design.
• The final Charter was made available on the GIRFEC website in March 2018, as part of year-long Year of Young People celebrations.

The charter is available in a range of alternative formats, making it accessible to as many children and young people as possible.
In celebration of north east culture and language, a Doric version of the charter was developed with Banff Academy staff and young people. This was welcomed by the North East Language Board.

Children in Laurencekirk Primary School’s Rights Respecting Group, helped develop a Widget Symbol version of the charter, for children and young people with communication needs.

Provost Bill Howatson commented: “This charter is a fantastic demonstration of Aberdeenshire Council’s commitment to Children’s Rights. Children and young people deserve to feel empowered and have their views heard, and this charter plays an important part in achieving this aim in Aberdeenshire.”

Deputy Provost Ron McKail added: “It is great children and young people have enjoyed the opportunity tell us what matters most to them, and that this is brought together in this important charter. I hope our endorsement of the charter gives children and young people assurance they are being heard here in Aberdeenshire.”

The charter is being launched at a range of partnership governance forums, including the Community Planning Partnership Board. Each body will be asked to endorse the charter’s principles and to ensure their work is based on a foundation of promoting children’s rights.

In January, the State of Children’s Rights in Scotland by Together, an alliance of over 370 children’s organisations, academics and interested professionals, included two Aberdeenshire case studies recognising good practice in Children’s Services Planning. This included the #ABZYAP youth participation event, and Aberdeenshire’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy for children and young people.

For more information about the charter, please visit:
http://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/home/children-and-young-people/aberdeenshire-year-of-young-people-2018-3/