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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Meeting of the Parliament 14 March 2017

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Inclusive and Accessible Tourism, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Decision Time, Play Scotland (Play Charter)


Contents


Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland

The next item of business is consideration of motion S5M-04535, in the name of James Dornan, on the appointment of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland. I call James Dornan to speak to and move the motion.

16:58  

On behalf of a cross-party selection panel that was established under the Parliament’s standing orders, I invite members to nominate Bruce Adamson to Her Majesty the Queen to be appointed as the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland. The selection panel was chaired by the Presiding Officer and the other members were Jeremy Balfour, Mary Fee, Jenny Gilruth and Tavish Scott.

Although the Parliament is not subject to the code of practice for ministerial appointments to public bodies, we followed the guidelines to ensure that best practice was observed and that the process was fair. On behalf of the panel, I thank Louise Rose, the independent assessor who oversaw the process and has provided the Parliament with a validation certificate confirming that the process complied with good practice and that the nomination is made on merit after a fair, open and transparent process. I also thank all the children and young people who participated in our survey, which sought their views on the role of the commissioner and the issues that concern them.

As members will be aware, the role of the commissioner is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people in Scotland. In particular, the commissioner must promote awareness and understanding of the rights of children and young people; keep under review the law, policy and practice relating to the rights of children and young people; promote best practice among service providers; and publish research on matters relating to the rights of children and young people.

The commissioner is also required to lay before the Parliament an annual report, which is scrutinised by the Education and Skills Committee. The report must include information on any issues that he has identified in relation to the rights of children and young people, the activities that he has undertaken to fulfil his functions and any recommendations arising from his work, and it must provide an overview of the work that is to be undertaken in the following year, including how he intends to involve children and young people in his work. I look forward to hearing from the new commissioner about his work and achievements in due course.

I turn to our nominee, who is in the gallery with his family. Bruce Adamson was the unanimous choice of the panel from a strong field of candidates. Bruce is a lawyer who has more than 20 years of experience in children’s rights. He currently works at the Scottish Human Rights Commission and has been central to the development of law, policy and practice covering the broad spectrum of children’s rights. He represents the commission on the United Kingdom’s national preventive mechanism under the convention against torture and has extensive experience of inspecting places of detention in Scotland and other countries. He is also a member of the children’s panel and has worked directly with vulnerable children and their families, listening to their experiences and making decisions about their safety and wellbeing.

The panel believes that Bruce will be an excellent champion for the rights of children and young people, and that he will bring to the post energy, enthusiasm and commitment. I am sure that the Parliament will want to wish him every success in his new role. I think that the Parliament will also wish to thank the outgoing commissioner, Tam Baillie, and to wish him well for the future. [Applause.]

I move,

That the Parliament nominates Bruce Adamson to Her Majesty The Queen for appointment as the Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland under section 2 of the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003.

The question on the motion will be put at decision time.