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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01672: Alison Johnstone (Lothian)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 27 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the recommendation in the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s report, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, that (a) mental health legislation should be reviewed to ensure that the interests of under 16-year-olds are taken into account, (b) the prescription of psychotropic drugs to children with behavioural problems should only be used as a last resort and that data should be collected on the amount and regularity that these are prescribed, (c) data should be collected on the food security of children in order to identify the root causes of child food insecurity and malnutrition and (d) restraint and seclusion in schools on children with learning disabilities should only be used as a last resort.

Answered by: Mark McDonald 22 August 2016

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child published its Concluding Observations on the fifth periodic report of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 9 June 2016. The Scottish Government is considering carefully the full range of conclusions and recommendations raised by the committee and will engage with relevant stakeholders shortly on next steps.Actions following from the Concluding Observation will be taken forward in line with Ministers’ specific responsibilities in relation to children’s rights under Part 1 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. On the specific issues raised by the Member:

a) Legislation in Scotland already requires that practitioners must seek the consent of the child to mental health treatment, if the child is considered capable of understanding the nature and possible consequences of the procedure or treatment. Patients under the age of 18 also have specific rights and protections, including that practitioners must carry out their functions under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003 so as to best secure the welfare of the child and ensure that their views are considered.

b) Psychotropic prescribing is annually reported by the NHS Information Services Division (ISD).The attached link refers: Evidence-based guidelines for such prescribing in Scotland are also in place.

c) The Independent Short Life Working Group on Food Poverty, in its report “Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland”, published in June 2016, made a similar recommendation to Scottish Ministers that relevant data should be collected each year to enable estimates to be made of the number of children affected by food insecurity. A copy of the Group’s report is available through this link:

The Scottish Government is considering this recommendation and will publish its response in due course.

d) On issues of restraint and seclusion, I refer the Member to the answer to question S5W-01671 on 5 August 2016. All answers to written Parliamentary Questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at