Parental Responsibility agreement

When it comes to our children, their safety is our prime concern, that’s why it’s important to ascertain if an unmarried father has parental responsibility for a child. As a parent in Scotland, you might wonder about your legal rights to know who your child is spending time with, especially when they are away from you, reinforcing the importance of understanding where the child lives. Scottish law has specific provisions for the welfare of children, and this blog will delve into your rights within this legal framework, including how to automatically have parental responsibility or obtain it through legal means.

The Scottish Legal Context- Parents right to see their child

In Scotland, children’s welfare is governed by several key pieces of legislation, the most relevant being the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, and various statutory instruments related to child welfare and protection.

Within Educational Settings

Schools in Scotland are legally obliged to protect the children in their care, having the children’s best interests at heart, as outlined by the Children Act 1989, especially when the court will consider their environment in questions about residence orders. This means they must ensure that all staff have undergone the appropriate background checks, such as those conducted by Disclosure Scotland, in alignment with policies designed to protect the best interests of the child. As a parent of a child or an unmarried fathers rights, you are entitled to inquire about the school’s child protection policies and the vetting process for staff.

Childcare Providers

For other childcare providers, like childminders or babysitters, the same level of scrutiny applies, this includes having access to their birth certificate for state benefits and ensuring compliance with laws regarding parental responsibility for the child. They must be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and have the correct background checks, as framed under the Children Act 1989 which emphasises the best interests of the child—key information for those needing to apply to the court. Regarding child arrangements orders, parents have the right to request information about these checks, particularly when trying to apply to the court for clarity on who the child lives with.

During Custody and Access- Child arrangements order

For separated or divorced parents, the situation can be more complex, often requiring a court order to clarify parental responsibility for the child, especially in cases where the parents cannot reach an agreement. Both parents have a right to be involved in their kids life and welfare. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that one parent has the right to know all the specifics about who the child is with during the other parent’s time unless there are legitimate concerns about the child’s welfare.

When Safeguarding Concerns Arise

If you are an unmarried father and have concerns about your kid’s safety due to the people they might be around, you may have the right to see and take action. This could involve speaking to your child’s school, childcare provider, or local authority, particularly around decisions where a person with parental responsibility needs to be informed. If necessary, you might need to seek legal intervention, such as obtaining a parental responsibility order, to ensure your child’s safety.

Privacy and Data Protection

While safeguarding concerns are critical, they must be balanced against privacy rights under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018, which also apply in Scotland. These laws limit the amount of personal information you can access about others without consent, but exceptions can be made when someone with parental responsibility for the child requests information in the child’s best interests.

Practical Measures You Can Take 

  1. Stay Informed about the latest changes in family law, especially those that impact important decisions and parental responsibility. Familiarise yourself with the policies of the institutions your child attends, ensuring they align with your rights and responsibilities under the Children Act 1989, including when you are seeking a residence order.
  2. Communicate Keep an open dialogue with your child and their caregivers about whom they interact with, ensuring it aligns with the best interests of the child and falls within the scope of important decisions a person with parental responsibility must make.
  3. Legal Advice on Obtaining Parental Responsibility, including guidance for fathers not married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth on how to apply for such responsibility.: If you have serious concerns or if the situation involves custody arrangements, seek advice from one of our qualified family solicitors who can guide you on how to obtain parental responsibility through court orders.  


In Scotland, as a parent, you have rights concerning your child’s safety and well-being, including aspects of automatic parental responsibility or the need to obtain parental responsibility through a court order. There are systems in place to safeguard children, but there are also privacy laws that must be respected, except for those with parental responsibility acting in the best interests of the child. Knowing your rights and when to seek further advice is key to navigating these situations.

Contact us

For more detailed advice tailored to your situation, you might consider consulting with a solicitor who specializes in family law, particularly aspects concerning parental responsibility for the child. At Complete Clarity we aim to give you the highest experience with our highly qualified family lawyers. Contact us today at 0141 433 2626 or sign our contact form with your details and someone will call you as soon as possible. 

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