Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland

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Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland
Flag of Scotland
Nick Hobbs
 since May 17, 2023; 9 months ago (2023-05-17)
Reports toScottish Parliament
NominatorScottish Parliament
AppointerMonarch of the United Kingdom
on the nomination of the Scottish Parliament
Term length6 years
Constituting instrumentCommissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003
Inaugural holderKathleen Marshall
FormationApril 2004; 19 years ago (2004-04)

The Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland is a post in Scotland whose main task is to promote and safeguard the rights of children and young people. The position, equivalent to the Children's Ombudsman agencies of many other countries, was established by the Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003.[1] The current Commissioner is Bruce Adamson.

Commissioner responsibilities[edit]

The Commissioner must review law, policy and practice relating to the rights of children and young people with a view to assessing their adequacy and effectiveness. Specific regard must be had to any relevant provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially those requiring that the best interests of the child be a primary consideration in decision-making, and that due account be taken of the views of affected children and young people. The Commissioner cannot intervene in individual cases, however these can highlight issues affecting a broader range of children and young people and these issues can be investigated by the Commissioner. After an investigation the Commissioner can make recommendations to the Scottish Parliament on what action they feel is deemed appropriate.

The Commissioner consults with children and young people on a regular basis via the SCCYP website, and through the networks of organisations who work on or on behalf of children and young people.

The Commissioner's duties apply to all children and young people under 18, and all children and young people up to 21 who have been in care or looked after by a local authority, and are living in Scotland.


Scotland's first Commissioner, Kathleen Marshall, was appointed by Queen Elizabeth in April 2004, after a selection process which included her being interviewed by two groups of children and young people.[2] Marshall was appointed for a period of five years, with the possibility of a further five-year period. Before taking up her post as Commissioner, Marshall worked as a child law consultant and from 1989 to 1994 she was the Director of the Scottish Child Law Centre.[3]

Tam Baillie took up the position in May 2009, initially for a two-year term; he was reappointed in 2011 to serve until May 2017. Baillie was appointed in May 2009 after an interview process which included children and young people as well as Members of the Scottish Parliament.[4] In 2009, the Commissioner's office began to plan a national consultation of children and young people in Scotland called 'a RIGHT blether'. As part of the consultation there was a national vote in which children and young people were able to influence the Commissioner's office's work plan for the next four years. Children and young people were able to vote on what they thought the Commissioner should take action on in four key areas: Where I live, where I learn and develop, My neighbourhood or community and Scotland. On 10 February 2011, Baillie was reappointed for a second term, to serve until May 2017.[5] At that point the Commissioner's office had a budget of £1.3 million and employed fourteen people.[6]

Bruce Adamson was appointed in May 2017 for six-year term.[7]

List of commissioners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Commissioner for Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2003". Office of Public Sector Information. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  2. ^ "About the Commissioner: The Commissioner's story". Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  3. ^ Kemp, Jackie (21 April 2009). "'What they long for is people who care'". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  4. ^ "New children's commissioner named". BBC News. 21 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Democracy Live: SPCB motions". BBC News. 10 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Knives out for controversial children's Tsar". The Scotsman. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Making a difference to the lives of children in need of a helping hand". The Herald. 15 May 2017. Retrieved 14 July 2021.

External links[edit]