Children in Scotland has unveiled its manifesto for 2021-26
Children's charities have called for wellbeing to be placed at the heart of government in Scotland.
Children in Scotland has launched its manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament, backed by national and local organisations from across the children’s sector.
The manifesto outlines key changes in policy and legislation the charity believes the next Scottish Government must make to improve outcomes for children and young people living in Scotland, and their families.
It contains 10 themes and 33 calls, with demands of political parties including:
Drawing on the experience in Finland to introduce a ‘hobby premium’ to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland have free access to a hobby or activity of their choice within or around the school day.
Rights and democracy
Supporting Citizens Assemblies to extend their scope to include the voice and perspectives of under-16s.
Producing a comprehensive Wellbeing Budget by 2022 to ensure that the annual Scottish budget is designed and implemented with the goal of improving the wellbeing of all citizens in Scotland, including children, young people and families.
Improving air quality in locations where children live, learn and play: a school air quality monitoring and education scheme should be introduced to measure air quality, educate children and families about this issue, and reduce children’s exposure to harmful pollutants.
Children in Scotland’s chief executive Jackie Brock said: “Our Manifesto is being launched at the end of a punishing year for so many children and families, but we feel there’s a shared recognition that this is also a time for a radical change in direction for policymaking and legislation.
“We now need a deeper and more wholehearted restructuring of society, based on redistributing power to children, young people and families who’ve never had it before. Taken together the calls in this Manifesto make that case.”
Amy Woodhouse, the charity’s head of policy, projects and participation, said: “This manifesto builds on three examples of hugely significant policy change in Scotland over the past year – the recommendations of the Independent Care Review, the introduction of the Equal Protection Act, and the promise of full incorporation of the UNCRC.
“These are all powerful signs of the effectiveness of collective campaigning to make change for children, and we’ll be taking forward our 2021-26 manifesto in that spirit.
“In the run-up to the election as we use this manifesto to influence parties’ policy platforms, we will welcome the support and solidarity of other organisations who may wish to endorse our calls.”
Organisations who have already endorsed the manifesto in full include Save the Children, Children 1st, YouthLink Scotland, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid), Includem, Play Scotland, Starcatchers, the Health and Social Care Alliance and the Yard.
Organisations that have signed up to specific themes include the Children’s Parliament (Theme 1), Friends of the Earth Scotland (Theme 9), Place2Be (Themes 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10) and the Royal Caledonian Education Trust ( Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10).
The manifesto was shared last week with Children in Scotland’s members, and attendees at the charity’s online annual conference.
It has been developed over the past 18 months with input from Children in Scotland’s members, its children and young people’s advisory group, and its staff and board.