MPs criticise government for failure to appoint children’s commissioner

The government has been criticised for its failure to appoint an
independent children’s commissioner for England by the
parliamentary joint committee on human rights, writes
Amy Taylor.

A report from the committee criticises the government for having
not yet reached a decision over a children’s commissioner for
England despite being convinced of its merits for the children of
Northern Ireland.

It goes on to give support to the role of a commissioner arguing
that existing arrangements are not sufficiently independent, which
compromises the promotion of children’s interests.

It said that the role is also necessary to ensure children’s
rights are considered in policy making, with the United Nations
Committee on the Rights of the Child raising concerns over the
issue, and having called for the establishment of an independent
human rights institution for children in the UK for the last eight

Wales already has an independent commissioner and Scotland and
Northern Ireland are in the process of establishing them, but the
committee accuses the government of “a rather lackadaisical effort
to get to grips with learning from the experience of the devolved

Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow said: “The committee’s report
is a wake up call to minsters to allow children to have an
independent, impartial and unprejudiced voice about the way
decisions are taken in their name.”

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