Outgoing Commissioner forgets to mention Scotland was first to legislate to bring the UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child into law

From Reporting Scotland tonight:

The man whose role it is to safeguard the rights of children and young people here, Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner, attacked Nicola Sturgeon over child poverty and mental health. Bruce Adamson is about to leave the job after six years.

Leaving aside the obvious inaccuracy in the above description of an adviser, BBC Scotland’s Martin Guiser prompted him this morning with: ‘Are you saying she’s failed?’


Adamson seems most concerned about the effects of the pandemic lockdowns.

A Labour and Conservative spokesperson are then allowed to join in with accusations of spin and failure.

There’s so much to say here.

Taking them in the order presented.

  1. Child poverty:

After only 7 years in power, within the limitations of devolved budgets, the SNP had reduced relative child poverty to 21% from 24% under Labour.

Then as Tory austerity began to bite from 2010, and despite the efforts of the Scottish Government, relative poverty began to climb back to 24% in Scotland, and 27% in England.

That 3% difference matters. It means around 100 000 more children in poverty in England than had they lived in Scotland and around 10 000 fewer in Scotland than had they lived in England.

Surely, if anyone has failed on this, it’s successive Tory PMs?

2. Mental health:

For the quarter ending December 2022: 70.1% of children and young people were seen within 18 weeks of referral, which is an increase from 67.9% for the previous quarter

Adamson was a regular critic of school closures during the pandemic. The SNP Government too was committed to as few closures as possible but was obstructed every step of the ways by the unions.

Schools were closed across the globe in response to outbreaks. Has Sturgeon failed as a result of doing what everyone else was doing?

3. Australia and Scotland:

Adamson is an Australian.

Australia’s detention of child asylum seekers has harmed their health. Since 2012, Australia has detained hundreds of children seeking asylum, often for years. Now a review has revealed the lasting physical and mental health impacts of this policy


Research being presented today in Glasgow shows that Glasgow Clyde College is leading the way in educating young people who have been trafficked or arrived in Scotland alone seeking asylum….On average, five children arrive in Scotland every month who have been trafficked or are seeking asylum, according to the Scottish Guardianship Service who currently work with over 200 young people….Today, new research will be presented in Glasgow which documents what has been learnt through the 16+ESOL project, the specific needs of separate children, and compares this research against international practice. Scotland has a pioneering approach to supporting separated children, thanks to tireless work by the Scottish Guardianship Service and Glasgow Clyde College.

Scottish Refugee Council in 2019

Might Adamson keep this wider perspective in mind when assessing Scotland’s performance?

4. The Conservative spokesperson:

The Named Person’s Scheme to monitor the wellbeing of each and every child in Scotland, from birth to the age of 18 had a single point of contact if a child or their parents wanted information, support or advice, and for other services if they had concerns about the child’s wellbeing. The Scottish Conservatives led the campaign against it.

In March 2023, after the Scottish parliament had passed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill. That writes the UN convention into law and would require public authorities to respect children and young people’s rights, the Scottish Conservatives aske Westminster to block it.

5. Not mentioned:

The KidsRights Foundation ranks the UK as 169 out of 182 countries on its respect for the rights of children. It praised Scotland as the first devolved nation in the world to legislate to bring the UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child into law.

Has Adamson forgotten this or is it not important because the SNP did it themselves?


9 thoughts on “Outgoing Commissioner forgets to mention Scotland was first to legislate to bring the UN Conventions of the Rights of the Child into law

  1. I read the article and was spitting – it was a total hatchet job. I don’t know the political views of Bruce Adamson but if all the quotes made are truly his then I suspect he is a Unionist through and through.


  2. By making such a sweeping statement he is admitting that he failed TOTALLY during his 6 years in post.

    However, I suspect no-one at BBC Scotland would dream of challenging him in such a way. In fact, he probably agreed to being interviewed as long as he was NOT challenged on his own performance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Westminster refused legislation in Scotland. Legislation by Holyrood because it refused the Devolved legislation as legit under the Devolution settlement. It was Westminster
    Westminster Gov who would not sanction the legislation. Holyrood Gov gets the blame,as usual. The SNP introduced extended nursery places. Supporting single parents. Child meals at school. Primary. Introduced £25 child payment about to be increased. Baby boxes. Travel for children. Grants and allowance for those in foster care. Kinship payments to prevent children going into care, but staying within the family., Mitigated bedroom tax. MUP cutting consumption of alcohol. Smoking ban. Increasing additional needs provision. Payments to schools..Ring fenced Education funding to local authorities so it had to be spent on Education.

    Incresed support for students. Increased grants and loans. Not means tested so more pupils could go to university. 100,000 increase in apprenticeships.and training.

    The Tories introduced austerity. Cut child benefit payments. Only for first two children. Cut all benefits payments and sanctioned people without just cause.

    The Tories do not give a damn. The SNP Gov cares about children and people. Trying with many limitation imposed by Westminster to make Scotland more equal and fair. The taxation system is dominated by Westminster. Independence would eradicate child poverty in Scotland. Reduce poverty overall, with full control of Scottish revenues and resources.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It looks like another co-ordinated attack on the reputation of Nicola Sturgeon and to thwart her involvement or influence on the international stage going forward.

    Rather bluntly, they must know this “journalist crap” is having less and less impact as people recognise what they are about and despise them for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Having read the BBC article I conclude that Mr Adamson has malign intentions: this is a reasonable conclusion to draw when on such a complex, intractable subject a professional answers a journalist’s loaded question – ‘Are you saying she’s failed?’ – with the answer ‘Absolutely!’. As Mr Adamson is leaving his post what is his motivation for such ‘absolute’ negativity – to seek to mitigate his own failings in post, to do a final favour for his preferred political party, or some other reason?

    His statement has clearly been gleefully received by BBC Scotland which in turn provided a platform for opposition politicians from parties currently in government elsewhere in the UK. Of course BBC Scotland aggregates and amplifies their negatives regarding Scotland and its government without any UK context or perspective. This is a hatchet job: this is gaslighting.

    I contributed a lengthy article to TuS late in 2022: ‘On poverty across the UK – helping fill the ‘perspective void’!’

    See https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/?s=On+poverty+across+the+UK+-+helping+fill+the+‘perspective+void’%21

    It included this: ‘I’ll end by recalling these statements from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the charity devoted to ‘creating a prosperous UK without poverty’:

    ‘First from 2019: ‘The Scottish Government’s decisive and compassionate move to bring in the new Scottish Child Payment is the lifeline children and their families need, and is a BEACON OF PROGRESSIVE POLICY for the rest of the UK.’ (my emphasis)

    ‘This rightly has been LAUDED AS A LANDMARK MOMENT and the MOST PROGRESSIVE POLICY BROUGHT IN SINCE DEVOLUTION 20 years ago. We’ve now seen the Scottish Government decisively put words into action and we believe this will be a foundational step in turning the tide on child poverty in Scotland. Once fully rolled out, over 400,000 children will benefit, and 30,000 children could be freed from poverty.’


    ‘These statements from the JRF were written before the Scottish Government announced its intention to double the Scottish Child Payment! Later, Chris Birt, deputy director for Scotland at the JRF was reported in an STV online news article (14 July, 2021) stating:


    ‘The cut went ahead! However much discontent with progress in Scotland to end child poverty there may be, the perspective provided by the evidence laid out above should severely restrict the negative impact of those that gaslight Scotland on social policy matters.’

    On the latter point, I have been proved wrong. So it will be even more important as the next electoral test/s arise that the hypocrisy of the Labour Party in particular – the Party that tells voters it would end poverty in Scotland but can’t achieve this whilst in government in Wales – is exposed relentlessly and robustly.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This still occupies prime spot on the BBC/Scotland and Scotland/Politics web-pages, but has been demoted on the UK page.

    Curiously an article on the same subject appeared in the Times, published exactly one minute after Geissler’s “Sunday Show” had aired https://archive.ph/syHzf
    None of the Geissler “personalised” framing here, instead referring to failure of SG government and SNP Ministers to progress amendments to the original Bill in 2021, yet also ignoring more pressing issues occupying ministers at the time, eg Covid.
    The source seems to been a Sun interview, which could only have been conducted before the Geissler Show and the resulting hatchet job appearing on the BBC –
    “He told the Scottish Sun on Sunday that although he was “hugely concerned” about the Conservatives’ record on human rights at Westminster, “the Scottish government needs to do much better as well”. ”

    Contrast the headlines alone –
    Times – “SNP is breaking its promises to children, says commissioner”
    BBC Scotland – “Nicola Sturgeon ‘absolutely failed’ Scottish children – commissioner”
    That’s BBC Scotland’s “impartial” journalism….

    Liked by 1 person

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