How SNAP 1 was developed


Scotland’s first SNAP was based on evidence gathered over a three year period.

Research was carried out using a wide range of existing sources, including:

  • A literature review of social research.
  • Three legal literature reviews on references to specific international human rights treaties in relation to Scots law.
  • A review of the UK’s outstanding recommendations from international human rights bodies.

A series of focus groups also took place with people living in some of Scotland’s more marginalised communities, to understand their lived experiences.

The research findings were then tested through a five month participation process involving civil society organisations, public bodies and government, and people whose rights are affected in practice.

A Drafting Group drawn from 23 public and civil society organisations then worked over a 12 month period to develop SNAP 1. The group identified a common vision and purpose, outcomes and priorities. They also designed an implementation and accountability process to ensure SNAP 1 delivered real and measurable change at the level that really matters – in people’s everyday lives.

Getting it Right?

In 2012 the Scottish Human Rights Commission published Getting it Right? –  a three year review of research into the progress of international human rights law within Scotland.

Getting it Right? was not intended to be a comprehensive ‘state of human rights in Scotland’ report, but a prompt for discussion in the development of Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

It was a crucial step towards the creation of SNAP as it assessed areas of life such as health and care, education, poverty and criminal justice.

The report summarised the findings of a scoping project based on a literature review of social research, three legal literature reviews on references to specific international human rights treaties in relation to Scots law, as well as the Commission’s own experience since 2008. Read more about the methodology.


SNAP 1 was developed over a year of broad participation of public bodies, voluntary organisations and people across Scotland. This approach follows best practice internationally. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ guidance on National Action Plans for Human Rights advises that broad participation “will ensure that the plan’s goals are widely shared and that the process is transparent.”

Through this process SNAP 1 evolved. It moved from being a traditional action plan, into a plan for acting together. SNAP 1 became a process, built on a recognition that sustainable culture change is achieved through collaboration between those with responsibilities and those whose rights are affected.

Overall, as the UN guidance recommends, SNAP provides a long-term vehicle for working together to agree outcomes and priorities, identify and address practical challenges and test actions.

This model of change is strongly influenced by the broad consensus in Scotland that public services should focus on outcomes, improvement and participation. Recognising that the process of working together can be as empowering and transformational as the specific actions taken, SNAP promotes co-production and collaboration. It focuses on innovation, problem solving and flexibility rather than seeking to identify “silver bullet” solutions which often prove impractical or do not have the intended impact.

Collective ownership

Work to develop SNAP 1 was coordinated by a Drafting Group whose members were drawn from Amnesty International UK, Care Inspectorate, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Equality and Human Rights Commission, Health and Social Care ALLIANCE, NHS Health Scotland, Scotland’s Commissioner for Children and Young People, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Scottish Councils Equality Network, Scottish Government, Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Trades Union Congress.

The drafting process was overseen by an Advisory Council which reflected the diversity of Scottish civil society. The Advisory Council met three times in 2012 and 2013 to provide advice on SNAP’s development.

Participation process

The development of SNAP 1 included a programme of participation to hear different views, learn from shared expertise, and gain the expertise and advice of individuals and organisations across the whole of Scottish civic life. The five month participation phase was crucial in setting out who has responsibilities, discerning where the barriers are to realising human rights, and ensuring that SNAP develops a range of solutions that are both achievable and practical.

Over 400 people took part in events hosted or supported by SNAP partners. 144 written contributions were received, including: 64 individual responses, 20 responses gathered at participation events, and 60 responses made on behalf of organisations. Some of the responses from organisations drew on their own consultation and outreach experiences. For example the response from the Scottish Youth Parliament reflected the policy priorities identified in their own consultation that gathered the views of 42,804 young people.

Continued participation and engagement

SNAP partners recognised that meaningful participation and inclusion are critical to the success of the Action Plan. Participation can take many forms but all of these require commitment, the investment of time and resources and a willingness keep improving. In recognition of this, the SNAP 1 workstreams found different ways to ensure that people affected by the issues concerned were included in decisions about how the work was done.

For example, people with lived experience of accessing support from health and social care services were members of the Health and Social Care Action Group. An Innovation Forum to support the work of the Adequate Standard of Living Action Group created an opportunity for people with lived experience of poverty to form a reference group, which the Scottish Human Rights Commission supported. The Justice and Safety Group regularly heard testimony from a range of people and groups who wished to raise issues connected to access to justice

The Better Culture Action Group also supported a project in a specific local authority area to bring people from communities and people working for public bodies together to create a local action plan.

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