Right man, wrong role

Professor Al Aynsley-Green, England’s first children’s
commissioner, is ideal for the job. Top of the paediatric
profession, leader of the national service framework task force,
then national clinical director for children at the Department of
Health, he is an establishment man to his finger tips. He will be a
worthy champion for children, respected in the corridors of power
and able to use his persuasive skills to good effect.

Any idea that his medical background will focus too much of his
attention on fashionable subjects such as child obesity is
dispelled by the breadth of the national service framework.

If there are lingering doubts, they concern the post rather than
the man. The English commissioner role is weak, promoting awareness
rather than defending rights, and too close to government. With
Aynsley-Green’s appointment the government got it half right, but
it should have done better.

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