Scotland’s first minister, Jack McConnell, has promised to
introduce new punishments for antisocial children and their parents
in a bill in the autumn.
Outlining the executive’s legislative plans for the first year of
the second parliament, McConnell promised an antisocial behaviour
bill that would include electronic tagging and new antisocial
behaviour orders for under-16s, and parenting orders requiring
parents to act in the best interests of their children – with
appropriate sanctions if they do not.
“We will move quickly to crack down hard on antisocial behaviour,
and continue our reform of the court system and children’s hearing
system to speed up justice,” McConnell said in a statement to
“We will work hard and act resolutely to build stronger, safer
communities where antisocial behaviour is not tolerated and the
perpetrators are held directly accountable for their
McConnell also confirmed controversial plans to establish a single
correctional agency, bringing together the work of the prison and
Other changes to the Scottish criminal justice system will be
outlined later this month in a vulnerable witnesses bill.
Key proposals will include revised categories of vulnerable
witnesses, including a wide discretionary category and an automatic
right to special measures for children under 16.
The competence test, which currently prevents some children and
some adult witnesses from giving evidence at all because they are
considered unable to understand the difference between truth and
lies, will also be abolished. This move has been welcomed by
learning difficulty campaigners.
Other bills to be published during the first year of the new
Scottish Labour-Liberal Democrat partnership include an NHS reform
bill and a special educational needs bill.
The latter will involve new duties on social services and health
services to work together to develop integrated support and
strengthened rights for pupils and their parents.
The bill will also replace the term “special educational needs”
with the more inclusive “additional support needs” and replace the
“record of needs” document with a “co-ordinated support plan” for
pupils with multiple or complex needs.
The NHS reform bill will abolish NHS trusts and establish community
health partnerships, which will devolve management responsibility
to the front line.