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The post of Children’s Commissioner was created following a recommendation made by Lord Laming in the Victoria Climbie Inquiry. The role was initially established under the Children Act 2004 which gave the Commissioner responsibility for promoting awareness of the views and interests of children. The Commissioner’s statutory remit includes understanding what children and young people think about things that affect them and encouraging decision makers to always take their best interests into account. Her unique data gathering powers and powers of entry to talk with children and gain evidence, enable her to help bring about long-term change and improvements for children, particularly the most vulnerable.

The Children and Families Act 2014 further strengthened the remit, powers and independence of the Commissioner, and gave her special responsibility for the rights of children who are in or leaving care, living away from home or receiving social care services. She also speaks for wider groups of children on non-devolved issues including immigration (for the whole of the UK) and youth justice (for England and Wales).

As well as a team of staff, the Commissioner is supported by an advisory group, an audit and risk committee and children’s groups, stakeholders, and specialists.

The Children’s Commissioner’s office is formed to deliver for children. The office spans policy, research, communications, public service innovation and Help at Hand. The Help at Hand service is for children in care, leaving care, living away from home or working with children’s services to offer free support, advice, and information. Alongside this, In My Opinion (IMO) is a voice for teenagers in care and for care leavers to share their experiences and stories.

Resources from the archive

  • Children in custody during lockdown

    26 February 2021

    Since the start of the Covid pandemic, the Children’s Commissioner’s Office has investigated and highlighted concerns about the treatment of children in secure settings. Our briefing in May used data collected from the Youth Custody Service (YCS) alongside a series of interviews with children to shine a light on conditions for children in custody during […]

    Vulnerable teenager
  • Five things you need to know about SEN in schools

    19 February 2021

    How children’s needs are met (or go unmet) in schools, and the implications of these for the SEND Review and other reforms

  • Building back better

    17 February 2021

    When I became Children’s Commissioner for England six years ago, I set out an ambitious vision for a nation where childhood is understood and celebrated and where the voice of all children is listened to at the heart of Government. I had in mind a particular group of children who, in my experience of working […]

    Group of children
  • Characteristics of children entering care for the first time as teenagers

    Last year, research from my office showed that even before the pandemic, there were 120,000 highly vulnerable children in England who were falling through the gaps in education and social care. This group of children – equivalent to 1 in 25 13-17 year olds – all had significant additional needs and vulnerabilities but were not […]

  • Still not safe

    6 February 2021

    The public health response to youth violence

    Sad teen
  • Detention of unaccompanied children arriving in Kent during 2020

    5 February 2021

    This briefing looks at the immediate conditions unaccompanied asylum-seeking children faced after travelling to the UK, usually via boat, during 2020. Specifically, it focuses on the children who arrived at the Kent Intake Unit, where children’s identities are checked and their initial asylum claims are processed before they can be accommodated by local authorities. After […]

  • Children’s Commissioner’s podcast: Lockdown, school and football

    29 January 2021

    In the second episode of the Children’s Commissioner’s podcast, Anne Longfield visits a school in South London where she talks to students about how the first coronavirus lockdown affected them, both at home and at school and what impact it had on their education and relationships. She also hears about a programme called Football Beyond […]

  • The state of children’s mental health services 2019/20

    28 January 2021

    This is my fourth annual report on the state of children’s mental health services in England, and my last as Children’s Commissioner. I started this series of briefings because of the torrent of stories I was hearing from children about needing mental health services that weren’t there for them. I wanted to examine the data […]

    Boy smiling
  • Roadmap to reopening schools

    26 January 2021

    Policy briefing Ever since last August, the Children’s Commissioner has said “Schools must be the last to close and the first to reopen.” This is now a well-used phrase as parents, teachers, scientists, politicians and the media all recognise the massive impact that the lockdowns are having on children’s education, and even more importantly, on […]

    Children in school