Celebrating public engagement: Highlights from ADR Scotland

Categories: Blogs, Public engagement, ADR Scotland

Written by Harriet Baird 8 November 2022

Data isn’t just collected for and about adults, it includes children too. It’s important that we remember this and that we not only engage with adults about data research, but children, young people and families more broadly. In light of this, earlier this year ADR Scotland piloted engaging directly with children and young people to better understand their perspectives on data sharing and use. 

Engaging children through partnership 

It can be a challenge to directly engage with children and young people, especially if you don’t have existing networks or contacts; it also needs to be done ethically and effectively. 

Engagement through schools is one way of engaging children with research, such as the HAPPEN Network in Wales which is available for data linking research and engages over 400 primary schools in Wales. Another way to support engaging with children is through collaborating with organisations and charities who have developed connections and expertise engaging children and young people. In our pilot, we partnered with Children in Scotland who champion the participation and inclusion of children and young people. 

Our pilot sought to explore children’s understanding of administrative data and research. A series of workshops culminated in a report. Have a look at our summary report and the key recommendations below to see what we found. 

Taking forward the recommendations 

The recommendations cover a range of topics including how we most effectively communicate our work, how we involve children in research, and how to engage in a rights-based way. 

Children’s rights is one of our primary areas of work. In Scotland, there are a range of policy directives from Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and The Promise, which is the initiative responding to Scotland’s independent care review. At the heart of these, and work within ADR Scotland, are children’s rights and voices. 

At ADR Scotland, we are currently: 

  • creating an accessible booklet about our children’s rights approach, 

  • piloting a children’s data training session in December for researchers and data users on the United Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and issues to consider when using children’s data, 

  • planning different and engaging ways to present research from infographics to data comics, inspired by examples such as the films from the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory, 

  • discussing the recommendations with the ADR Scotland Children’s Lives and Outcomes Advisory Group and identifying where there are synergies and opportunities with Government, third sector and other partners to take these forward. 

ADR UK and beyond 

Alongside our pilot, there is a great work underway within the theme of children, families and data including: 

  • ADR Northern Ireland’s work with Voices of Young People in Care (VOYPIC) – a series of workshops with care experienced children. 

  • ADR England engaging children, young people and their families from the Roma, Gypsy Traveller community. Researchers working on the Roma, Gypsy, Traveller extract of the Growing Up in England Wave 1 dataset held workshops to better understand their perceptions of data sharing and use - findings will be published online soon. 

We are committed to working with our partners across ADR UK to embed the learnings from this pilot and build sustainable engagement and practice in this area. We hope that our work in Scotland will help to inspire others across the sector to do more and better with children and their data. 

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