Singleton questions independence of commissioner in call for more freedom

Barnardo’s chief executive Roger Singleton warned the voluntary
sector that the battle for an effective children’s commissioner for
England had yet to be won.

Singleton said the “constrained” wording of the green paper called
into question the independence and powers of the role because the
incumbent would have to report to children’s minister Margaret

Singleton would prefer a similar system to Scotland’s, where the
commissioner will be accountable to parliament when appointed next

He said: “They are not going to be monitored by a minister,
especially a minister whose department they are likely to
scrutinise most. If we are going to be responding to the needs of
children, the commissioner needs the freedom to operate.”

Singleton said the campaign needed to focus on developing a broad
role for the post and clarifying lines of accountability.

“The focus should shift from whether we are going to have a
commissioner to what their responsibilities and investigative
powers are,” he said.

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