A group of Scotland's children's charities are urging new councillors to consider the impact on children of policy decisions.


The #plan4children campaign, run by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) are asking candidates in May’s council election to work with them to plan and deliver the most effective children’s services.


CCPS is made up of more than 25 charities supporting young people and their families who believe their role is crucial to improve the life-chances of Scotland's poorest children. For example, research suggests 15-year-olds from poorer families are up to three years behind youngsters from better-off families in science, maths and reading and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said closing the attainment gap and improving the life-chances of children from the poorest postcodes is her priority.


Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland, one of the charities backing the #plan4children campaign, said schools are vital if the attainment gap is to be closed but charities also have a crucial role to play in children's services planning.


“It is natural that so much of the debate around the attainment gap focuses on what happens inside our classrooms. However, what happens before and beyond the school gates can be even more important in ensuring every child has every chance to learn.


 “Improving the lives and protecting the life chances of these children is about prevention, early intervention, and, above all, good planning.”


The #plan4children campaign urges council candidates to sign an online pledge, committing their support to work in partnership with the charities to plan and deliver lifeline services.


Director Annie Gunner Logan said: “There are few issues more important to our communities than improving the lives and futures of children growing up there.


“Our campaign is a call for partnership for councils to work with charities and voluntary organisations to plan and deliver strategies that will provide the support that is crucial to many families.


“Early intervention, in particular, is a way of ensuring problems do not become crises and, in the long-run, can deliver more effective outcomes and better value for money.”


For more information about the campaign, visit www.ccpscotland.org/hot-topics/pledge/