Children and Young People

Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 17th June 1999.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour 2:30 pm, 17th June 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive what measures it proposes to ensure that the interests and views of children and young people are taken into account in future legislation. (S1O-17)

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

The new legislative process will reflect the arrangements that were proposed in the consultative steering group report. We will ensure that children and young people's groups have an opportunity to comment on the issues that affect them. I will announce shortly how we intend to consult on the education bill and how young people can be involved in that process.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Labour

Thank you for that helpful answer. Is the minister aware of the recent case in south Ayrshire, in which a sheriff felt that the provisions of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 did not give him powers to stop a convicted sex offender, on his release from prison, returning to live in close proximity to his young victim? If he is aware of that case, will he comment on how legislation could be improved to ensure that children in such cases are afforded the protection that they need, to allow them to live safely and without fear in their homes and communities?

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

First, I want to recognise the work that Cathy has done with young people and children. She worked for a number of years with Who Cares? Scotland, an organisation that looks after a particularly vulnerable group. Her work has been a credit to her and an example to us all. The fact that she did that work for less than she is earning here is also to her credit and should not be sneered at by other individuals in newspaper articles. People who do real jobs with real people in the real world do not need lessons from people who do not possess such qualities.

Looking after vulnerable kids is important, as are their views. A number of legislative measures have been taken recently and guidelines have been produced-dealing with the social justice system, the criminal justice system, local authorities and the social work services-on how their views can be taken into account. There are still some problems. If Cathy Jamieson wishes, we can discuss the matter to see how we can take it forward.

Photo of Andrew Welsh Andrew Welsh Scottish National Party

Services and legislation will be affected by concordats. When will the Executive make those concordats available to this Parliament, so that they can be properly and publicly scrutinised?

Photo of Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith Labour

When young children's issues are addressed, it is important to ensure that views are taken on board, that there is a concordat and that there is consensus, as none of us has complete knowledge of those issues; few of us are in our youth, although we may think that we are.

When they are ready, concordats will be presented here, and this chamber will make decisions on them.