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Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, carer or family member, professional, policymaker or part of the wider community, you have an
important role to play in making England a great place for children to grow up in. You also reap the rewards from doing so.

This is the view I expressed in Ambitious for Children which set out my priorities for the next five years – the areas in which my work will catalyse demonstrable improvement for our nation’s children.

I am delighted to present this Business Plan which outlines my ambitious work programme for 2016/17. The activity in this Plan will be delivered against a backdrop of opportunities and challenges for children. For many, opportunities have never been greater. Yet children often tell us how complicated life feels for them with 24-hour communication, pressures from the consumer world, pressures on time and pressure to succeed. My work will highlight the importance of childhood and identify where and how services and support need to improve. It will also highlight how we can provide children with the best opportunities possible and design with others, new approaches that put children’s needs and best interests at the heart of everything that affects their lives. We introduce below, for example, new activities to embed a child-centred approach to everyday life, from providing support for Children in Care Councils to creating Child Friendly Cities.

This will be the first full business year of activity to deliver on the priorities in Ambitious for Children.

Nationally and locally, I want an emphasis on improving the odds and life chances of the two million children who face the most complex challenges to become the defining mission of all of those who can make a difference and a core priority for Government and local councils. I would like the public, voluntary and commercial sectors to sign up to the reforming zeal needed to break the cycle of disadvantage and systemic barriers that we know limit so many vulnerable children’s lives. From schools, social care and health, early years, the police and those involved in custody, I want to work with every public service to stretch every sinew in a combined mission to transform opportunities for the most disadvantaged children.

The Children’s Commissioner’s role has unique powers of data collection and a power of entry to help contribute to this change and I will be seeking to use them extensively.

Over the coming year, we will work systematically to identify and improve the support children need to help them overcome and break the cycle of disadvantage. I want to ensure all children have the opportunities and support they need to flourish. Disadvantage is not inevitable and can be overcome. Our mission will be to change the odds for those most in need.

This year I will be ambitious for children and these are my commitments. I look forward to working with you to make them happen.