Joint briefing for child rights duty amendment to Children and Social Work Bill - Second Reading, House of Commons
The Children and Social Work Bill has now entered the House of Commons. CRAE with Unicef UK are supporting the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR)'s amendment for a child rights duty for public authorities.
In its recent scrutiny of the Bill, the Committee said:
“We have considered the arguments and the evidence for and against introducing a statutory duty on public authorities in England requiring them to have due regard to the rights of children in the UNCRCin the exercise of their functions relating to children, equivalent to the duties already introduced in Wales and Scotland… We recommend that Parliament takes the opportunity presented by this Bill to enhance the protection of children’s rights in England by introducing such a duty.”
Throughout the Bill’s passage through the House of Lords this amendment – and other amendments surrounding the CRC – gained significant cross-party support from a number of Peers.
- Despite a commitment in 2010 – from the then Coalition Government – to give due consideration to the UNCRC when making new policies and legislation, the Government acknowledges more needs to be done to ensure this is upheld.
- An FOI in 2014 showed that despite this commitment, out of all government departments, only the Department for Education had made a detailed analysis in relation to the UNCRC in the past year and only for one piece of legislation.
- England is falling behind the rest of UK. Ministers in both Scotland and Wales are under legal duties with respect to the rights contained in the UNCRC.
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 the rest of the UK in strengthening protections of children’s rights.
A duty for public authorities to have due regard to the UNCRC will require them to routinely and systematically consider the impact of policies and decision-making on children, ensuring that their rights and best interests are the guiding principle in every action affecting children, and that children’s voices are heard and taken into account.
Download our joint briefing for Second Reading in the House of Commons.