Talking about tomorrow


Rights & responsibilities

The law can’t be specific about every possible scenario as there are just too many variations. It’s down to local authorities, professionals and other organisations to work out how to apply the law so people get services they are entitled to. To help them, the government publishes guidance that explains more about what the law means in practice.

It can help to think about the word ‘law’ as meaning what organisations MUST do, and the term ‘guidance’ as setting out what they SHOULD do.

Scottish Government guidance clearly states that everyone has a duty to go beyond what the law says to provide support that is person-centred and focuses on the young person’s best interests.

All about rights


You have the right:

  • To request an assessment of needs for your young person
  • To request a Carer’s Assessment for yourself
  • To be involved in the transition planning process and have your views taken into account
  • To request a Coordinated Support Plan from your local authority if your child meets the eligibility criteria

You can also:

  • Contact the school to ask when transition planning will begin if you don’t hear from them – it’s important you are included in the process
  • Ask social work about an assessment of needs if adult support services will be needed

Young people

Under new legislation, from their 12th birthday children who have capacity have many of the same rights as their parents and carers in relation to additional support in education. They now have the right:

  • To ask for their needs to be identified
  • To have input into plans and decision making around the support they receive
  • to have access to advocates to support them in exercising their rights at meetings
  • To be more involved in resolving disagreements around their support

This gives them more say in decisions over their education and support, including identifying and reviewing their needs, and planning for these to be met.

All young people with additional support needs already have the right:

  • To transition planning – though some families report lack of resources can make this difficult
  • To be involved in the transition planning process and have their views taken into account

All about responsibilities

It’s important to know who should do what, and what to expect.

There are laws, national frameworks and guidelines that services and organisations should follow to ensure good practice in transition planning. These aren’t just worthy aims and ideas. They are based on legal rights, and international agreements such as the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

Scottish Government guidelines expect services and organisations to go further than their legal obligations by tailoring planning to the needs of the young person and viewing their wishes and aspirations as part of their human rights.

Click here for more on who is responsible for what.

The Principles of Good Transitions 3

The Principles of Good Transitions is published by The Scottish Transitions Forum and identifies seven key principles all organisations and services should follow. Each one is based on relevant parliamentary Acts and agreements.

The principles aren’t legally binding, but the Scottish Government and many national bodies have endorsed them as the yardstick for measuring good practice.

They are:

  • Planning and decision making should be carried out in a person-centred way.
  • Support should be coordinated across all services.
  • Planning should start early and continue up to age 25.
  • Young people should get the support they need.
  • Young people, parents and carers must have access to the information they need.
  • Families and carers need support.
  • There should be a continued focus on transitions across Scotland.

You can download the Principles documents free from the Scottish Transitions Forum website, along with an autism supplement by Autism Network Scotland, and they are available in other formats on request. The framework includes ideas, research, recommendations, case studies, tips, tools, information and sources of support.


Useful links

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