Parenting policy overview: December 2015


Parts 4, 5 and 6 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the clauses relating to GIRFEC and the Named Person, are due to come into effect in August 2016.

Final draft statutory guidance

Following public consultation, the revised draft statutory guidance for the GIRFEC provisions was published in December 2015.

The revised draft guidance, which includes an outline of key changes to the original consultation version and Q&A is at:

The new law and draft guidance aim to improve outcomes for children, young people and families by ensuring a consistent approach to supporting children's and young people's wellbeing wherever they live in Scotland and enabling services to operate effectively by:

  • Setting out a shared understanding of children's wellbeing, essential to services working together to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families
  • Placing in statute the role of 'Named Person', typically a health visitor or promoted teacher, as a point of contact that children and families can go to for advice or support if they need it
  • Formalising a single planning framework via the Child's Plan for children who need additional support beyond what would be generally available
  • Making sure that services are able to share the right information at the right time to help children, young people and families to access the right help at the right time

The National Third Sector GIRFEC project has developed new materials to assist third sector organisations prepare for GIRFEC implementation. Touchpoints are checklists to help third sector organisations prepare for parts 4, 5 and 18 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, due to come into force in August 2016. These relate to the provision of Named Persons, the Child's Plan and the assessment of Wellbeing.   More about the touchpoints and other information on the National Third Sector GIRFEC Project site

2. Childcare

ELC Strategic Forum

At the Children in Scotland conference in November, the Children's Minister, Aileen Campbell, responded to the Childcare Commission's report with the announcement of a new group to help develop the Scottish Government's plans to expand early learning and childcare. The purpose of the group is to develop and drive a strategic vision for a high quality, flexible ELC in Scotland, integrated with an out-of-school-care system that is affordable and accessible to all. The Early Learning and Childcare Forum will start its work in early 2016.

Childcare workforce

In response to the need to raise attainment for children from derived backgrounds, every nursery in Scotland's most deprived areas will have an additional qualified childcare graduate by 2018.


The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has announced that childminders will be central to the Scottish Government's expansion of childcare. There will be a new standard of best practice for the profession with a new training and induction programme, which all childminders will be expected to complete before registration. The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Childminders Association will develop the training programme.

Care Inspectorate statistics

The Care Inspectorate's annual report on early learning and childcare provision in Scotland shows how, where and to whom early learning and childcare is provided. The report looks at childminders working from their own homes, and day care services including nurseries, playgroups, out of school care and holiday play schemes. This is the fifth year these statistics have been produced. The report shows that, since 2010, the number of children registered and attending early learning and childcare services has been steadily increasing. The proportion of children attending a service increased more in daycare services rather than in childminding services. This suggests that the increase may reflect an increase in free early learning and childcare provision for all three and four year-olds and eligible two year-olds, which came into effect in 2014. Provision has been raised to an entitlement of up to 600 hours, an increase from 475 hours.

See more at:

Care Inspectorate volunteers

The Care Inspectorate is looking for parents with experience of childcare services to become volunteers. Volunteers will be involved in inspecting childcare. Training and induction provided and expenses paid.

Childcare across Europe

Provision of high quality childcare is essential both for parents and children. This is increasingly being recognised across the European Union. The discussion paper, 'Provision of quality early childcare services', was published in November 2015 (this is no longer online).

Physical punishment of children

Research about equal protection, Equally Protected? A review of the evidence on the physical punishment of children was published in November 2015 at:

Jointly commissioned by Barnardo's Scotland, Children 1st, the Children and Young People's Commissioner, Scotland and NSPCC Scotland this is a systematic review of the research literature on the physical punishment of children published in the last ten years.

The research found strong and consistent evidence from 98 pieces of international research that physical punishment damages children's wellbeing and carries the risk of escalation into physical abuse. It also highlights evidence that physical punishment increases aggression, antisocial behaviour, depression and anxiety in children, which may continue into their adult lives. The research also highlights that there is no evidence that a change to the law results in increased criminal proceedings - but rather that it facilitates widespread culture change.

The report has been endorsed by the Scottish Police Federation, Social Work Scotland, the Royal College of Nursing, Scotland and the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health and the Violence Reduction Unit, amongst others. Public health expert Professor Sir Michael Marmot, who wrote the foreword for the report, has publically stated that the review provides compelling evidence for preventative legislation.

Ireland has recently banned physical punishment of children. (

Expansion of prison visitor centres

The Scottish Government has announced £1.8 million funding to extend vital support for the families of prisoners. Prison visitor centres will receive the funding over the next three years to support families affected by imprisonment get important services such as housing, health and welfare. New services at prisons which do not have visitor centres will also be developed.

The centres aim to reduce social and economic inequalities experienced by families affected by imprisonment, by supporting them into key services. Staff aim to break the cycle of offending through targeted work with children and encouraging family contact by improving their experience as visitors.

Around 27,000 children every year are affected by a parent going to prison, around double the number of children affected by divorce. Maintaining close contact with family can reduce the risk of reoffending by up to six times, yet almost half of prisoners lose contact with their families when they go to prison.

Looked after children

The Scottish Government has announced the expansion of the Permanence and Care Excellence (PACE) programme across Scotland. The PACE programme aims to improve permanence for looked after children. It was established in 2014 to improve how local councils work with other agencies to place vulnerable children in stable, long-term care.

Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell, announced the start of a national roll out of PACE at the permanence and practice showcase for professionals and other specialists working with looked after children. The PACE programme will be available to all local authorities in Scotland.

3. Research

A brief guide to intimate partner violence and abuse (July 2015)

Briefing looking at the scale of the problem of intimate partner violence and abuse against women; how we can explain and understand the underlying causes; and its impact. It also draws upon scientific evidence about how to prevent, identify and reduce intimate partner violence and abuse. (The interventions discussed may, where highlighted, also be applicable for violence perpetrated on men and those in same-sex relationships.) This briefing also covers interventions to support children exposed to intimate partner violence and abuse.

Cost of the school day research

CPAG in Scotland research which finds that children and young people from low income families in Glasgow are prevented from participating at school because of costs across the school day. This can make pupils feel excluded and in some cases, may have a direct result on their ability to achieve.

4. Child health

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Scotland has published its vision for child health in Scotland: for Scotland to be one of the healthiest places in the world to grow up, with equal success to resources and communities that value both physical and mental wellbeing.

Vision 2016: Securing better health for Scotland's infants, children and young people

5. Scottish Parliament

The following are at various stages:

Education (Scotland) Bill

The Bill places a duty on local authorities to narrow the educational attainment gap faced by children from low income households. Additionally it amends the Additional Support for Learning (Scotland) Act and strengthens the provision of Gaelic medium education.

Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill

The Bill makes provision about criminal justice including provision for child suspects and witnesses, and families affected by imprisonment.

The Carers (Scotland) Bill

The Bill aims to improve support for carers.

Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Bill

Given the rise in the size of the private rented sector and the increase in the number of families needing to use private rented accommodation, this Bill is particularly timely. It aims introduce a new private rented sector tenancy, strengthen the rights of private tenants and to increase the length of tenancies.

Smoking Prohibition (Children in Motor Vehicles) Scotland Bill

This Bill proposes to prohibit smoking in private motor vehicles in the presence of children, subject to limited exceptions; and for connected purposes. It will receive a Stage 3 reading on 17th December 2015.

Policy overviews

Every quarter we provide an overview of what's happening in parenting and family policy in Scotland.