Committee reiterates concerns about children commissioner for England

    The Welsh Affairs committee has reiterated its call for the
    children’s commissioner for Wales to have a remit that covers
    all aspects of Welsh children’s lives, writes
    Clare Jerrom

    In its fifth report, the committee claims the proposals in the
    Children Bill for the commissioner for England’s remit to
    include non-devolved matters in Wales will have an
    “undesirable impact” which could undermine the Welsh
    commissioner’s work.

    The report highlights that the government has stressed that it
    does not wish to use the Children Bill as a vehicle for extending
    the devolution settlement in Wales. “We conclude that this
    argument is misguided and puts into question the minister’s
    commitment to placing the needs of children over that of spurious
    bureaucratic expediency.”

    Fears are also raised that the government has not correctly
    assessed the resources for the children’s commissioner for
    England in respect for his or her obligations to Wales.

    The committee warns that without a physical presence in Wales,
    the role of promoting the English commissioner could fall to the
    Welsh commissioner which would be an “inappropriate call on
    his resources”.

    The committee slams the government for failing to consult
    children in Wales or the Welsh commissioner as reinforcing
    “the notion that Wales remains on the margins of the UK
    government’s consciousness”.

    Children’s minister Margaret Hodge is also accused of
    “washing her hands of her responsibilities towards Welsh
    children”, by passing responsibility for documentation to be
    provided in the Welsh language to the commissioner for England.

    Report from





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