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E-newsletter: Developing child friendly complaints systems

15 September 2011

By Lisa Davis, Senior Policy Adviser - Equality and Rights

This year, the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC) is strengthening its work in the field of complaints. Working with the Children's Right Director and other key partners, including User Voice, we will be researching children's and young people's experiences and views on the use of complaints procedures in health services, local authority services and the juvenile justice system, as well as examining the accessibility of mechanisms available for them to make a complaint.

The Children Act 2004 states that the Children's Commissioner's work should "consider or research the operation of complaints procedures so far as relating to children", and we have already undertaken some research in the area. Central to our work going forward will be Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) - children's right to have their voices heard - and a key feature of the work that is about to start is looking at the role and accessibility of advocates, and what difference this makes to young people's ability to seek change.

The project will also include undertaking a mapping exercise of complaints systems available to children and young people, and we aim to engage and involve children and young people in recording their experiences and shaping positive proposals for change. In doing so we hope to work closely with the Office of the Children's Rights Director and hope to hold a joint event for the young people involved in the work to compare issues across services.