ENGLAND – Atkinson welcomes proposed changes to children’s commissioner role

Children’s commissioner for England Maggie Atkinson has backed government plans to bolster her role.

Atkinson: said any move would have to ensure the role kept its current powersAtkinson: said any move would have to ensure the role kept its current powers

In her response to the consultation on the plans, she backed recommendations to merge her role with that of the children’s rights director and give her greater independence from government.

The proposals back John Dunford’s review of the role last December, calling for the independence of a new Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England to be enshrined in law.

But Atkinson said any move would have to ensure the role kept its current powers, such as making unannounced visits to children’s residential care homes.

The proposals also give the commissioner powers to undertake casework on behalf of young people. Atkinson welcomed this, but said such a move must be backed by extra funding.

“The steps that are under way to make the children’s commissioner a stronger advocate and representative for children and young people in England, in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights treaties, are very much welcome,” she said.

Children’s minister Sarah Teacher announced the government’s intention to create a stronger children’s commissioner for England at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services conference in July.


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