England’s Children and Families Bill: second reading briefing

Date: 1st March 2013
Category: Family Environment and Alternative Care, Respect for the views of the child

The second reading of England's Children and Families Bill took place on 25th February 2013 in the House of Commons. UNICEF UK have released a briefing for the priorities of The Alliance for Reform of the Children's Commissioner.

UNICEF UK is part of the Alliance for Reform of the Children's Commissioner which is seeking to:

  • enhance the independence of the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England (OCCE);
  • make the office compliant with the Paris Principles for National Human Rights Institutions;
  • ensure the Children's Commissioner has particular responsibilities for an extended group of vulnerable children including those in custody, seeking asylum or who have been trafficked;
  • strengthen the involvement of children and young people in the work of the OCCE, and
  • extend the children's rights duty to public bodies.

UNICEF UK warmly welcome the reforms to the role of the Office of the Children's Commissioner for England (OCCE) introduced in the Children and Families Bill, and the proposed legislation's close adherence to the recommendations in the Dunford Review.

However, the legislation could be further strengthened to ensure that the OCCE has the sufficient functions, powers and independence to effectively promote children's rights.