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“During my tenure, I want my work to improve the chances of every single child, whatever their early standing in life, wherever they are, from the inner city to the most remote corner of every county in England.”

Dame Rachel de Souza

That quote is from my first day as Children’s Commissioner on 1 March 2021.

Three years on and we have made great strides, reaching more than a million children, young people, parents, carers and professionals. From The Big Ask to The Big Ambition, we have heard from children and young people in every local authority in England – 10% of all children in the country – using what they told us to drive change to improve the outcomes of every child, wherever they live and whatever their background.

Every day I hear from children and young people about the barriers and challenges they face getting support to help them, particularly those with additional vulnerabilities and those in care. These conversations have shaped and informed my work and that of my office, spurring me on every day over the past three years – and they will continue to inspire me for the next three.

This strategic plan, which takes us to the end of my term as Children’s Commissioner in 2027, is driven by children have told us, focused around the areas where I believe that my unique independent position and statutory powers can achieve the biggest changes. Over this period my mission, underpinning all of my strategic priorities, will be to make sure every child feels listened to by the adults that make decisions about their lives; that they are empowered have their say and use their voices to drive change.

I have called on our political leaders to match the level of ambition that children that have for themselves, creating effective, caring public services and policies that deliver the support that children have told us they need – and always listening to their voices and experiences.

Building capacity and capability will be key to delivering on this mission. Whilst this objective in my plan is focused on how my team will do this to deliver for children, I strongly believe that it is essential objective for all. Everyone who works with children has a collective responsibility to work together, taking an active role in creating an agile and inclusive system that puts children’s needs and voices at its heart. I am grateful to all the organisations, statutory agencies and policy makers who have worked with my office and I to bring about change since 2021, and for their dedication to the task at hand. There is so much more to do – and I look forward to working further with them to make it happen.

Finally, most importantly, my thanks goes to the million children we have interacted with since 2021. Your voices, views and experiences are at the heart of this mission.