Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland
Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

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Foundations for self-directed support in Scotland

1.8 Personalisation: Children's and adult's rights

You have seen that the roots of the personalisation movement lie in the independent living movement of the 1970s, and the emergence of an increasingly influential social model of disability. Personalisation may come in many forms but at its heart are core values: promoting people's independence; enabling participation; empowering people to make their own choices and being in control of their daily lives (Chetty et al., 2012). These values are evident in the principles of The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013:

Figure 1.13 The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 is underpinned by the values of personalisation

Central to these principles is the notion that citizens have rights. In 1948 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated that rights are based on:

... recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family ... human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

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Figure 1.14 Wanting to preserve the liberties fought for in World War II, Churchill laid the foundation for the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

An important landmark in the history of rights in the UK was the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998 which, with the Scotland Act 1998, incorporated the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK legislation. Are you familiar with the rights contained in this Act?

Activity 1.7: The European Convention on Human Rights

Timing: (5 minutes)

Watch this 90 second lecture on the Human Rights [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] Act.

What rights from the European Convention on Human Rights are identified in the video?


The rights identified include:

  • rule against torture
  • rule against slavery
  • no imprisonment without law
  • the right to a fair trial
  • the right to personal privacy
  • the right to free speech
  • freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • freedom of association
  • equal treatment under the law.

How do these rights apply to children?

Children's rights

Figure 1.15 The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out rights for under 18 year olds

Until near the end of the nineteenth century children were legally their parents' 'possessions' and parents made all the decisions: the state could not intervene to protect children from harm.

The UK government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1991. This is an international agreement that says that under 18 year olds everywhere have the right to:

  • provision of basic needs, including education, health care, food and clean water
  • protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation
  • participation in family, cultural and social life, and to have their views heard.

These rights are embedded in the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, The Children's Charter and the policy of Getting it Right for Every Child .

Print out or save to your computer this poster from the website of Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People. It summarises key articles of the UNCRC. Use the poster to remind yourself of the rights of children and young people as you continue to work through this course.

Parents and children

We can't think about children's rights without thinking about parents' responsibilities and rights. In Scotland parents have responsibilities towards their children until they are 18. Up to the age of 16 parents are responsible for safeguarding and promoting their children's health, development and welfare. Parental rights are conditional on parents fulfilling these responsibilities. Why is this relevant to personalisation ? Because most parents are responsible for making decisions about their children, and these decisions will include exercising choices for their children. Therefore when we are thinking about personalisation and decision making in families, we must think about parents and children, and the changing balance of decision making powers as young people grow up. This is a reminder that personalisation is not only about individuals, it is also about how individual choices impact on families and communities. Personalisation has to be examined across the life course, whether we are thinking about children and their parents, young people becoming more independent from their families, or the relationship between a supported adult and his or her friends and family.

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