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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