It’s a month since I became the Children’s Commissioner for England. In the first few weeks I’ve set out my immediate priorities – both in this blog and in speeches and media interviews.
I also began the process of listening to what others, including children and young people, think I should focus on during my six years as Children’s Commissioner.
I now enter the relatively quiet period of purdah which prevents many of us from taking to the airwaves to ensure our activity does not influence the outcome of the election.
Now the mathematicians among you may have already calculated that I only have 71 months left as Children’s Commissioner to ensure that my priorities are secured and that and that I implement my vision to make life better for children and young people. That’s why myself and my office will be using this period of enforced silence to develop our longer term goals with a view to publishing a five year plan in the summer after the next government is formed.
Although we will be a little less public over the next five weeks, other important aspects of our work will continue. We have a number of influential programmes of research and policy development underway in the areas of asylum, education, health and child abuse linked to the family environment.
Importantly, we will be continuing to offer advice and assistance to children in care. We are also working with colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to draft the joint UK Children’s Commissioners’ submission to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which will look at how well the UK has performed on children’s rights since its last review in 2007.
Last week’s report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights certainly provides food for thought. It examined the UK’s compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and found that, although there have been some positive improvements for some children and young people, there are entrenched issues which have not been addressed. The report also looked at the impact of austerity on children and young people’s rights and found that the most vulnerable children have suffered disproportionally, especially children in low income families and migrant children.
The need to raise awareness of children’s rights was one of the Committee’s key recommendations in their last report – so during the election period we will be sharing information about children’s rights with you via Facebook and Twitter under #righttime
We hope you will get involved in #righttime. Tell us why you think children’s rights are so important and how they should be realised.
With a period of governmental change ahead of us, now is the #righttime to be thinking about how we can make life better for children and young people. We look forward to hearing from you.