History of the Children’s Commissioner

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.