02 September 2021

New National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 

The Scottish Government has today (2 September) published new National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021.

Replacing the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland, last published in 2014, this revised guidance describes the responsibilities and expectations of everyone who works with, or comes into contact with, children and young people, families and carers in Scotland. It sets out how agencies should work together with children and young people, families, carers and communities to protect children and young people from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The guidance reflects understanding of current best practice and is informed by extensive engagement with children, young people and families, practitioners, and other relevant agencies and stakeholder groups, and learning from inspections, research and child protection cases. Bringing together a range of materials, research evidence, guidance and training, the guidance is a practical resource to help leaders responsible for child protection and their colleagues to create the readiness, planning, and design to enhance and implement new ways for agencies to work together.

One of the key revisions to the guidance is how this aligns with recent developments and changes in legislation and policy in Scotland, including the intended incorporation of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) into Scots law, and the greater integration of child protection within the ‘Getting it Right for Every Child’ (GIRFEC) policy and practice model.

The guidance seeks to integrate the ambitions of The Promise of the Independent Care Review by placing a greater emphasis on supporting practice that embeds children’s experiences, needs, wishes and feelings, and which underlines the critical need to engage with families and communities to reduce the risk of harm to children.

CELCIS was one of a number of stakeholder organisations that formed the National Child Protection in Scotland Steering Group, which worked to plan, oversee, and facilitate the drafting of the guidance.

Claire Burns, Director of CELCIS (Acting), said:

“We welcome and support this new and more comprehensive child protection guidance for Scotland. By placing a stronger emphasis on a broader range of issues that affect the wellbeing and safety of children and young people, such as the impact of poverty and poor housing, the guidance encourages more holistic approaches in how we can all offer greater support to families, and reduce harm to children.

“This shift in content and tone is vital if we are all to further support the protection and wellbeing of all children in Scotland in ways that are aligned with the principles of the UNCRC, and which uphold The Promise and Getting it Right for Every Child”.

Alongside the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2021, the Scottish Government has also published new Learning Review Guidance following a review of its approach to learning from child protection cases. This replaces guidance on conducting Significant Case Reviews published in 2015.

Read the guidance

Read the Supporting narrative

Read the Impact Assessments

Read the Practice Insights

Read the Stakeholder Supportive Statements