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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.2 Administration and governance

Last update: 25 January 2021

LAST MODIFIED ON: 12/03/2018 - 16:28

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  1. Governance
  2. Cross-sectoral cooperation



It is an ambition of the UK government to create a society in which opportunities are shared equally and are not dependent on an individual's family background, geographical location or school attended. The approach to social inclusion is general – improving opportunities for all - and is embedded across all policy areas. An element of this ambition may involve targeting young people.

Responsibility for most policies to create a socially inclusive Scotland is held by the Scottish Government. Therefore, this chapter concentrates on Scotland specific actions; however, if applicable, UK actions are also covered.  

Main actors 

General distribution of responsibilities

Scottish Government

The main actors within the Scottish Government are:

Education Scotland is the national body for supporting quality and improvements in learning and teaching. It is an executive agency of the Scottish Government. 

UK government departments

The main actor at the level of the UK Government is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is responsible for welfare, pensions and child maintenance policy. It administers the State Pension and a range of working age, disability and ill health benefits, including those for young people. The DWP includes a team responsible for poverty and social justice that focuses on creating a fair and affordable welfare system which improves the life chances of children.

There is recognition in the UK government that serious efforts to promote social inclusion need a joined up approach to policy making and governance; they cannot be developed or delivered in 'silos’. As a result, there are various main actors involved in the policy making process and responsible for youth social inclusion in the UK government. This includes: the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Education, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Civil Society at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Home Office, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and Local authorities (LAs). More information on their roles and responsibilities can be found in the England article, under the section on ‘Administration and Governance’.

The UK government does work closely with the devolved administrations, like Scotland to promote its principles of social mobility and inclusion, and encourage their implementation across all parts of the United Kingdom where possible. However, devolved administrations, are responsible for their own devolved policies, and are not required to implement policies of the Westminster government. Note: Under the Scotland Act 2016, the Scottish Parliament and Ministers have increased responsibility for welfare policy and delivery in Scotland through the devolution of welfare powers. See the chapter on 'Employment and Entrepreneurship' for further details.

Social Mobility Commission

The Social Mobility Commission (SMC; until 2016 known as the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission) monitors progress towards improving social mobility in the UK. It is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office, the UK Government’s Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions. In addition to promoting social mobility in England, it is responsible for publishing an annual report which details the progress made towards improving social mobility in England, Wales and Scotland.


Local authorities

Local authorities (LAs) in Scotland have a duty to protect and promote the welfare of children in need in their respective areas, and must provide support services which will enable children to remain with their own families (as far as this is possible). LAs are also required to work with statutory partners to check that children's needs are being safeguarded and that child wellbeing is being supported and promoted, as outlined in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 (see above).

When there are concerns for a child or young person under the age of 18, LAs are responsible for assessing the individual’s wellbeing, using the Scottish Government's eight indicators of wellbeing, as outlined in Getting It Right For Every Child (see below for more information). One of the eight indicators is 'inclusion': supporting children and young people to get help and guidance to overcome inequalities and supporting them to become members of the communities in which they live.

LAs are also required to look after children in need - children under the age of 18 who: require LA services to achieve or maintain a reasonable standard of health; require LA services to prevent harm to their health; are disabled; are affected by the disability of a family member; are at risk of becoming 'looked after'. See article on 'Access to Quality Services' for more information.

Each local authority has a Community Planning Partnership (CPP) which is responsible for community planning. They bring together the local council, NHS boards, police and fire services, and other public bodies and third sector organisations to develop and deliver a community plan.

Children and Young People's Commissioner

The Children and Young People's Commissioner protects the rights of children and young people in Scotland who are 18 and under, or 21 and under if they have been looked after or are in care. The Commission ensures that their voices are heard and scrutinises Government legislation and policy to examine their effectiveness in respecting children's and young people's rights.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission

The Poverty and Inequality Commission is independent from the Scottish Government. Its main role is to provide Scottish Ministers advice on how to reduce poverty and inequality. They do so by:

  • helping and advising in policy development, like the Child Poverty delivery plan;
  • scrutinise and monitor Scottish Ministers progress on tackling poverty and inequality; 
  • having an advocacy role; 
  • collaborating, when possible and necessary, with partner organisations and independent institutions.

The Commission has provided the Scottish Government advice regarding the government’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022

Children’s Parliament

Children’s Parliament works with the Scottish Government, as well as, local authorities and other public bodies support, by providing them with information on how they can fulfil their legal obligations of promoting and protecting human rights and their duty of care toward children. More information can be found in the ‘Participation’ chapter, under the section on ‘Youth representation bodies’.

Young Scot

Young Scot is a national youth information and citizen charity. Its aim is to provide young people (aged 11 to 26) with information and empower them become informed and active citizens, discounts, information on all aspects of life (like family and friends, sex and relationships, money and community), and activities to do in their local areas. Young Scot provides opportunities for young people to get involved locally, nationally and internationally. Additionally, they work collaboratively with the Scottish Government to include young people in the policy making process. ‘Project: Fairer Future for Race Equality in Scotland’, is an example of this. Young Scot have been commissioned by the Scottish Government, to create a team of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds to help implement the Actions and Recommendations from the Fairer Future project. This is to help achieve the goals and targets set out in Scotland’s Race Equality Framework in 2016 (for more information, see the article on ‘Current debates and reforms’). 

For more information on youth representation, see the section on ‘Youth representation bodies’, in the ‘Participation’ chapter.


Cross-sectoral cooperation

Achieving social inclusion is a cross-government ambition. At local level, local authorities (LAs) are, in accordance with the Requirements for Community Learning and Development Regulations 2013, responsible for implementing Government policy on youth services (set out in the National Youth Work Strategy 2014-2019), which are delivered through partnership activity with third sector organisations.

Each local authority has a Community Planning Partnership (CPP) which is responsible for community planning. They bring together the local council, NHS boards, police and fire services, and other public bodies and third sector organisations to develop and deliver a community plan. The community plan sets out how better services which may make a difference to people's lives are delivered locally. Guidance published in 2012 by the Scottish Government) for CPPs on community learning and development sets out the principles within which CPPs should co-ordinate planning of community learning and development (CLD) provision, including youth work.