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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid)

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 9, 2021


Committee Announcement

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

The next item of business is an announcement by the Education and Skills Committee on the Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill. I call the convener, Clare Adamson, to make the announcement.


Clare Adamson (Motherwell and Wishaw) (SNP)

I rise on behalf of the Education and Skills Committee for an unusual purpose: I speak not to inform the Parliament about work that we have undertaken but to explain why, with regret, we are not proceeding with deliberations on the Disabled Children and Young People (Transitions to Adulthood) (Scotland) Bill. I beg the forbearance of members so late in the evening and trust that they will understand.

The bill was introduced by Johann Lamont last year and would require the Scottish ministers to produce and implement a national transitions strategy to improve outcomes for children and young people with disabilities in the transition to adulthood. Councils would have to produce a transition plan for each child and young person with a disability, who should receive appropriate support before, during and after the transition to adulthood.

The committee received 75 responses to our call for views on the bill, and we took evidence from Johann Lamont and her bill team on 24 February.

Given the nature of the proposals, it is vital that the committee hears from people with lived experience, third sector organisations, local authorities and the Scottish Government itself before we report at stage 1. Unfortunately, there is not enough time left in this parliamentary session for us to take that evidence.

Johann Lamont (Glasgow) (Lab)

I am grateful that the committee has taken the bill as seriously as it has, and I express my regret that we have run out of road.

I am sure that members will agree that it is significant that the bill proposal received support from more than half the members who could have supported it and that the bill has the overwhelming support of families and young disabled people with lived experience of the challenges of transition from childhood to adulthood. I am sure that members agree how important those voices are.

I urge members who might return to the Parliament to consider whether they want to pursue such a bill and whether a new committee might support it. Perhaps whoever forms the new Government will recognise how fundamental the rights for which the bill would provide are for young disabled people who are accessing adulthood, if we want to call ourselves a fair and equal society.

I wanted to thank the committee for its consideration of the bill and to urge members to recognise just how significant the measures would be for young people in our communities.

Clare Adamson

I thank Ms Lamont and agree with everything that she has said.

I thank Ms Lamont again for having given evidence. I also thank Bill Scott, from Inclusion Scotland, and Robert McGeachy, from Camphill Scotland, for their evidence to the committee, and I apologise to the young people who desperately wanted to give evidence. I trust that their voices will be heard in this Parliament in the not-too-distant future.

It is clear from the response to our call for views that the proposals deserve further scrutiny. I know that we cannot hold a future Government and committee to that in session 6, but we trust that the committee’s views will be heard. I thank Johann Lamont again for raising this really important issue and I hope that, in the next session, the Parliament finds a way to improve outcomes for disabled young people in the transition to adulthood.