Media Release: Children’s Commissioner prioritises for action chosen by children

MORE  than 74,000 children and young people in Scotland cast their votes last November to choose the top issues they want policy makers and the Children’s Commissioner to take action on.

Now the votes have been counted and the results will be revealed at A Right Big Blether – a day-long event on 07 March 2011 hosted by the comedienne Susan Morrison and involving Scottish Government Ministers, policy makers and children and young people from across Scotland.

The top concerns that Scotland’s children and young people want to see action taken on that they want the Commissioner to help:

  • “us to be safe and secure in our home”
  • “us have the same chances, no matter how much money our families have”
  • “us feel safe and respected”
  • “everyone to include each other, no matter how different we all are”

The detail of how each of these issues is taken forward in the Commissioner’s own work plan – and by policy-makers in Scotland – will be debated and determined through discussion with the children and young people attending the event, along with hundreds of others expected to join in through the national  schools intranet network, GLOW.

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young people, has already committed to:

  • Promote early intervention and prevention of child abuse: the Commissioner plans to campaign for more action to be taken promoting early intervention and prevention of child abuse and neglect on children and young people to ensure their safety and security and – where it does occur – their recovery from the effect of this on their lives.
  • Campaign for more equitable access to opportunities for learning in formal and informal settings: the Commissioner plans to press for a fairer distribution of opportunities for learning and where necessary, to press for the maintenance of services for poorer children and young people.
  • Challenge prejudice and negative imaging of children and young people in our society:  the Commissioner will encourage greater value to be placed on our children and young people, throughout the whole of their childhood and where appropriate, to counter negative publicity.
  • Promote a better understanding, awareness and response to disabled children and young people: the Commissioner will help promote more positive action to mitigate against negative impacts for children with disabilities.

The results and discussions will also be fed back to children and young people across Scotland through GLOW sessions, school and youth forum communications and online networks.

More than 300 children and young people are expected to attend the event from schools and organisations from across Scotland.

They’ll join Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning and Adam Ingram, Minister for Children and Families, along with over 100 of Scotland’s policy-makers, managers of services for children and practitioners.

Patricia Lewsley, chair of the European Network of Ombudspeople for Children has also filmed an address to the children and young people to congratulate them on the way they’re influencing policy in Scotland at the highest level.

Examples of good practice across Scotland, relating to the UN Convention on Children’s Rights will also be highlighted at the event.

These were gathered through the  ‘RIGHT brilliant things’ section of A Right Blether, the national consultation by the Children’s Commissioner, in which he spent much of 2010 travelling the country to promote children’s rights and listen to the views, experiences and ideas of children and young people.

The Scottish Youth Parliament and The Children’s Parliament worked with him to ensure that the views of over 22,000 children and young people also informed and determined the voting card choices that were then offered to others across the country.

A Right Big Blether is the final event in that programme of consultation which aimed to ensure that the views of Scotland’s children and young people influence and inform the priorities of the Commissioner’s office and work programme from 2011  to 2015.

Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, said:

“A Right Blether has attracted a tremendous response which will produce some invaluable results. It is crucial that we take into account the views of young people whenever decisions are being taken which affect them.

“I am pleased to see that many of the actions identified by the Right Blether build on some of the good work that is already underway. We remain committed to working with the Children’s Commissioner to promote, strengthen and support children’s rights.”

Tam Baillie, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People said:

“I am delighted with the response to A Right Blether which is the largest consultation ever undertaken in Scotland. I have trusted in the opinions and experiences of children and young people to help guide my work over the next four years.

I will work tirelessly on the issues of child abuse and neglect, equal opportunities for learning, challenging negative stereotypes and improving the lives of disabled children to better realise the rights of children in Scotland.”


For further information, photos, filming opportunities and interviews please contact Giselle Dye at Pagoda PR on 0131 556 0770 or email

Phone Giselle Dye on 07739 085023 for out of hours media calls

Notes for Editors

1. The Commissioner’s remit is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people, with particular emphasis on the rights set out in the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. He also monitors the law, policy and practice for effectiveness in relation to the rights of children and young people and promotes best practice by service providers working with children

2. Over 500 schools and other organisations were registered as voting centres and 74,059 children and young people cast their votes.

3. Children and Young People attending the Right Big Blether, will be running a news room on the day and will be available for interview, in person or down the line.

4. A Right Big Blether takes place on 07 March 2011 at the macrobert. University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA. Tel: 01786 466666 from 10.00hrs to 15.00hrs.

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Contact: Giselle Dye
Phone: 07739 085023