‘Fiercely independent’ children’s commissioner gets broad welcome

    The appointment of Al Aynsley-Green as the first children’s
    commissioner for England could help to increase health
    professionals’ engagement in the new children’s services agenda,
    campaigners said this week.

    Aynsley-Green is currently national clinical director for children
    at the Department of Health and is responsible for the Children’s
    National Service Framework.

    Roger Singleton, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said that
    Aynsley-Green’s background could help to bring health closer to
    other children’s services. “He brings good credentials in terms of
    trying to move health out of its rather separate way of seeing and
    doing things,” he said.

    Paul Ennals, children’s charity NCB chief executive, also welcomed
    the appointment and agreed that it could help to engage health
    professionals. He said that Aynsley-Green had an “excellent track
    record in championing children and young people,” which was proved
    by the NSF.

    “He knows where the skeletons are buried in government policy and
    he will seek to bring them out.”

    Ennals added that like many other charities NCB had expressed
    concern about the [lack] of formal powers given to the commissioner
    and that this made it vital that a commissioner had been appointed
    who would be able to work with the government.

    He said that despite Aynsley-Green’s position in the Department of
    Health he was “fiercely independent” within it.

    Singleton said Aynsley-Green would need to show his independence
    quickly. “He has been very much in the heart of government and he
    will therefore know government very well and that is an asset but
    also it’s going to be very important that at a very early stage he
    demonstrates that he will stand independently from government,” he
    said.

    Carolyne Willow, national co-ordinator of the Children’s Rights
    Alliance for England said that Aynsley-Green had always been a
    strong supporter of an independent commissioner before the post was
    created.

    She said that she was confident that he would make the case to
    government for a commissioner with stronger powers if he felt he
    was unable to adequately stand up for children and young
    people.

    • Our question this week asks: Will the children’s
      commissioner for England, Al Aynsley-Green, be sufficiently
      independent to adequately protect the rights of
      children?

    Vote at www.community care.co.uk

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