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A Brief History of the Children's Commissioner for England

A number of children's sector charities called for the post of Children's Commissioner to be established following a recommendation made by Lord Laming in the Victoria Climbie Inquiry - a public inquiry into the death of a young girl who was killed by her aunt and partner but let down by authorities which could have intervened in her life preventing her death. A key feature of her treatment was that authorities which came into contact with her consistently failed to identify her injuries nor speak and listen to her - they spoke only to the adults who eventually killed her. They also failed to follow up a number of contacts about her from members of the public.

In its advice on implementing the UNCRC, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommends that countries should ideally have an individual such as a Children's Commissioner or Ombudsman responsible for children's rights.

The post of Children's Commissioner was initially established by the Children Act 2004 and the remit strengthened through the Children and Families Act 2014.

Commissioner's to date

Sir Al Aynsley Green, Children's Commissioner 2005-2010
Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner 2010-2015
Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner 2015 to date

The Children's Commissioner for England

Anne Longfield is the Children's Commissioner for England as of 1 March 2015.

She has a legal duty to promote and protect the rights of all children in England with a particular focus on children and young people with difficulties or challenges in their lives, and in particular those living away from home, in or leaving care, or receiving social care services.

Her work focuses on making sure that adults in charge, or making decisions, listen to what children and young people say about things that affect them. She encourages adults, including the people making decisions about children's lives, always to take their rights, views and interests into account.

Anne brings matters that affect children and young people's rights to the attention of Parliament, local government and others.

Anne was appointed Children's Commissioner for England in 2015 and is the third person to hold the post.

The role of the Children's Commissioner was created by the Children Act 2004 and has been strengthened by the Children and Families Act 2014. This Act has changed the primary function of the Commissioner from representing the views and interests of children and young people to promoting and protecting children's rights.

Anne also speaks out on the rights of children on UK-wide issues that are not-devolved to regional governments including immigration for the whole of the UK, and youth justice for England and Wales.

Anne is supported in all of her work by a small but expert team of staff at the Office of the Children's Commissioner (OCC). All of the OCC's work supports her role as Commissioner.