Maggie Atkinson welcomes Government proposals to "strengthen the role of the Children's Commissioner"
9 May 2012
Commenting on today's Queen's Speech, Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England, said:
"We wholeheartedly welcome today's announcement that the Government will propose measures to "strengthen the role of the Children's Commissioner", providing us with the powers and remit to promote and protect children's rights.
"This welcome move follows the Independent Review of our office by Dr. John Dunford in 2010, which recommended the creation of a stronger, more independent, and rights-focused Office of the Children's Commissioner for England. We therefore look forward to a Bill that reflects the support of the wider children's sector, which supported Dr. Dunford's recommendations.
"Future legislation that brings together the current Office of the Children's Commissioner and the Office of the Children's Rights Director into a new single body will build on the current work of both organisations and ensure that all children, particularly the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society, are treated in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. By working with others in the sector, strengthening the role of the Children's Commissioner has the potential to positively influence policy affecting all children.
"In accord with the Secretary of State's Written Ministerial Statement published following Dr Dunford's review, my Office is already working in the spirit of his recommendations. As a result we will continue to support other Government proposals outlined in the Queen's speech where we believe this to be in the interests of children and young people. This includes our support for the clear focus on families in the Government's plans, and our shared desire to see the lives of the children involved in the family justice system, those with special educational needs and children in the adoption process improved. As part of our role to promote and protect children's rights we will undertake a number of Child Rights Impact Assessments on some of the Bills outlined in today's Queen's speech.
"Given that the legislation for the new Office of the Children's Commissioner for England is likely to take some months before it is introduced in Parliament and then many more months to pass, my Office will continue to deliver its ambitious Business Plan for 2012-14. This includes continuing work on the inequalities in the school exclusions system, work on gang and group related child sexual exploitation and child poverty."
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