25th May 2022

The Children’s Commissioner reflects on her May Advisory Board

I was delighted to spend yesterday afternoon with my Advisory Board; the second this year. It’s always exciting to spend time stepping back from the day to day and really reflect on the big knotty issues facing children, how we can make things better as a collective and getting support and challenge on delivering for children.

We spent the first half of the meeting talking about child protection, how we can make sure every child grows up feeling loved and safe and thinking about ensuring the National Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report into the tragic deaths of Star Hobson and Arthur Labinjo-Hughes helps everyone learn the lessons from these awful incidents. We covered the need for all professionals working with children needing to be curious and thoughtful, putting the child at the heart of their decision making, and how we must not let the plethora of reviews being considered be another missed opportunity to radically, fundamentally and holistically reform children’s services. We agreed we need action and a focus on implementation.

We also discussed the Children’s Commissioner’s Family Review. My research team described the ambitious work plan for the Review and presented initial findings from our nationally representative survey on family life and family support. Building on the findings from this survey, we discussed the importance of family networks in accessing family services, how the state can support community-led family services and about children and families who may be in more need of support.

We finished by running through all the work the office is doing across the 7 pillars, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to set them some homework – to think about what we can all do to make sure all children are back in school in September. That is all our business and needs to be a priority for each of us. I’m looking forward to the September meeting already.