Many significant improvements in children and young people’s lives have come to fruition during 2008-09; and I am proud to say 11 MILLION has again played a key role in bringing them about.
This, my annual report and financial statements for 2008-09, gives you an overview of our major successes in this financial year and how we used our resources to achieve them.
Amongst our successes, using our powers and influence, we have:
- In collaboration with the other UK Children’s Commissioners, reported our concerns on the state of children and young people’s rights in the UK to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. We are pleased that the Committee took our concerns so seriously and we welcome the Government’s lifting of the reservation to the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) for children seeking asylum in this country.
- Delivered a significant awareness raising campaign resulting in a reduction of the use of mosquito ultrasonic dispersal devices by
- Encouraged 17,000 children to ‘take over’ adult roles as a part of 11 MILLION Takeover Day 2008.
- Brought forward the views of children to Lord Laming as part of his safeguarding report.
- Published important work on gun and knife crime, and its impact on children and young people, in England.
None of these changes, campaigns or activities would have been possible without strong partnerships and alliances, frank and open discussions with ministers and officials and, above all, the involvement of children and young people who have shared their views and opinions with me and my team. I am grateful and heartened by our collective progress for our country’s children and young people. It is the courage and honesty of children and young people that leads to a real understanding of their lives today – and ultimately to improvements in law, policy and practice.
And so to 2009-10. This year will be my last as Children’s Commissioner – but that will not result in a let-up of our work or determination. I have created 11 MILLION from scratch and I intend to hand over to my successor a sustainable, high-performing, impactful and high achieving organisation that will continue to be a key voice in promoting the interests and views of our most precious
resource – our children and young people.
Our new corporate strategy for 2009-2012, of which this report gives an outline, is as challenging as ever. To deliver it, we will continue to build strategic partnerships across Government, local authorities and the children’s sector as a whole. In partnership with our local authority colleagues, we will pilot a new, dedicated post in the South East whose specific role will be to encourage and garner the views of children and young people across the 19 local authority areas in the region.
We are committed to promoting the views and best interests of children and young people efficiently and effectively resulting in tangible change and improvement. This continues to be 11 MILLION’s enduring promise.
Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green