Minister to study Welsh safeguards

The government has promised to keep under review the possibility
of appointing a children’s rights commissioner for England, after a
Labour MP agreed to withdraw his private members bill on the

The bill, which was debated in the House of Commons last week,
was put forward by former Lancashire social worker Hilton Dawson,
who became MP for Lancaster and Wyre in 1997.

Health minister John Hutton told MPs he would “consider
carefully the Welsh experience” to see whether there were lessons
to be learned in England that could help to provide better
safeguards for children.

Speaking after the debate, Dawson told Community Care
that he had no doubt that a children’s commissioner for England
would be introduced if Labour was re-elected.

He said it made sense to have someone responsible for all
children in England as well as a children’s rights director, due to
be in post by the end of the year, specifically responsible for
“the most vulnerable children in our society”.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Children’s Rights Commissioner for
London, a voluntary organisation set up to demonstrate the value of
having statutory children’s rights commissioners in England,
published a report last week on the priorities children have for
changing London.

Based on consultation work with just under 3,000 London
children, the Sort it Out report examined the issues of
violence, child abuse, drugs, bullying and racism.

It found that many children felt unsafe on the streets, on their
way to and from school, and in their own home, with 1,367 voting
for action against violence or safer streets as a priority for
change. It will be used as a starting point for developing mayor
Ken Livingstone’s children’s strategy for London.

Sort it Out from 020 72784390

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