Evidence to Children and Social Work Bill Committee
The Children and Social Work Bill is undergoing detailed scrutiny during Committee stage in the House of Commons. CRAE and Unicef have submitted evidence to the Public Bill Committee to support an amendment for a child rights duty for public authorities which will be debated on the 10th January 2017.
The amendment has been tabled by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) and is also supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
To date, children’s rights still do not routinely inform the development of law, policy and practice across UK Government, at either national or local level as evidenced in our 'State of Children's Rights in England 2016' report.
The Children and Social Work Bill offers a rare opportunity to integrate a genuine child rights framework within public authorities in England and ensure we are keeping pace with developments in Wales and Scotland in strengthening protections of children’s rights.
A duty for public authorities to have due regard to the CRC will place those authorities under a binding commitment to protect children’s rights, requiring them to routinely and systematically consider the impact of policies and decision-making on children; to ensure children’s rights and best interests are the guiding principle in every action affecting children, and that children’s voices are heard and taken into account.
England is falling behind the rest of Great Britain in the way in which it embeds children’s rights in law and policy. Legislation in Scotland requires public authorities to report on the steps they have taken to "secure better or further effect" of children’s rights; and in Wales, public authorities must have due regard to the CRC. Ministers in both nations are under legal duties with respect to the rights contained in the CRC.
This briefing contains a summary of these legislative provisions in Scotland and Wales, as well as evidence as from both nations that these duties are changing the way in which governments engage with and legislate for children.
Download the Evidence for the Public Bill Committee.