The UNCRC says that states have to take legal, administrative and other measures to implement the rights in the Convention. Legal measures are necessary so that decisions that go against children’s rights can be challenged in court. Non-legal measures, such as carrying out child rights impact assessments, are needed to ensure that children’s rights are taken into consideration when making policy and budgetary decisions.
The CRC should also be taken into account as part of parliamentary scrutiny of Government legislation and proposals. Read our briefing on How parliamentarians and civil servants can use the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The UNCRC also states that governments have to disseminate information on the UNCRC, so it is widely known and understood, by both adults and children, and that government reports on children’s rights should be made public. These actions are referred to as ‘General Measures of Implementation (GMI)’.
Read our summary of the UN Committee's latest verdict on how well the UK is adhering to the GMIs.
CRAE was also instrumental in establishing the Children's Commissioner for England in 2004 which is a statutory body with responsibility for promoting and protecting children's rights. CRAE also secured additional reforms to the legislation which established the Children's Commissioner through the Children and Families Act 2014. These reforms further strengthened the Commissioner's independence and remit.
UNCRC Action Group
CRAE co-chairs the UNCRC Action Group, with the Department for Education (DfE). This stakeholder group, hosted by the DfE, meets quarterly and is attended by around 20-30 children’s charities, the office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, and civil servants from DfE and other government departments. It provides a forum to scrutinise the Government’s follow-up to the Concluding Observations issued by the UN CRC Committee and works together to advance progress on children’s rights across government departments. The Action Group worked with the DfE to develop the first online training for civil servants on children’s rights and a Child Rights Impact Assessment template.
A key part of our work is to ensure children's rights are implemented in government decision making. We have four priority policy objectives:
- Promoting Child Rights Impact Assessments and the Government template across Government and calling for them to be a statutory requirement
The Government has made a commitment to give due consideration to the UNCRC when making new policies or legislation. The Child Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA) template developed by the UNCRC Action Group and the Department for Education, is a tool that civil servants can use to assess whether new policy or legislation will have an impact on children’s rights and how to ensure that this is a positive rather than a negative impact. We are working with the Government to promote use of these within the civil service and amongst parliamentarians.
While the carrying out of a Child Rights Impact Assessment is not mandatory, as recommended by the UN CRC Committee, it is hoped that the CRIA template will be used widely across government departments, and help to ensure that government policy is consistent with the UNCRC.
Read our briefing on Using CRIAs to improve policy making
2. Calling for a children's rights strategy to implement the UN Committee's recommendations to the UK
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child sets out that all states should have a cross Government strategy to address how to implement their recommendations from the last examination.
3. Advocating for a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for children's rights
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child advises that there should be a Cabinet level Minister with responsibility for children's rights to ensure this is at the heart of government decision making.
4. Safeguarding the Human Rights Act
We are concerned about current Government proposals to significantly weaken the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights. Find out more about why the Human Rights Act plays a crucial role in protecting children's rights.