today said that children and young people will be involved in
recruiting the new children's commissioner.
'Establishing a children's commissioner will give children a strong
independent voice to influence what services are delivered for them
and how they are delivered. If the children's commissioner is to
truly represent children's views, children must be involved in
helping us to choose who the commissioner is. I am determined to
enable children to take part in the selection and appointment of our
first children's commissioner.
'We have made good progress in involving children, young people and
their families in decision-making. But we need to build on that and
we need to keep working to get better, so that listening and hearing
children's views becomes part of the culture.
'This week we are publishing our progress report on Learning to
Listen. This sets out the work by a number of government departments
to involve young people in their work. New and innovative schemes are
already in place to encourage young people's involvement in ways
which enthuse and engage them.
'The theme of Local Democracy Week this year is 'Listening to
tomorrow's voters today'. The Local Government Association is to be
congratulated on the work it is doing to encourage young people to
play an active part in their communities - and to encourage their
communities to listen to them.'
The government has issued a consultation document 'Get it Sorted'
looking at how we can enhance the support given to looked after
children and children in need. The purpose of the guidance is that
children and young people get help including advocacy services when
making or intending to make a complaint under the Children Act 1989.
The consultation process will close on 31 December. We would expect
local authorities to have appropriate advocacy support in place by
Later in 2003 the government will launch a research document
'Building a Culture of Participation' and an accompanying toolkit to
help government departments and other organisations to involve
children, young people and their families which will enable people to
involve these groups in their work.
This Press Notice applies to England.
1. The appointment of a children's commissioner to act as an
independent champion for children's views was announced with the
publication of the Children's Green Paper 'Every Child Matters' on 08
September 2003. The children's commissioner will report to parliament
via the secretary of state for education and skills. The role will
include advising on children's issues, consulting children and
ensuring their views are fed into policy making.
2. Last July, the government announced the results of a project,
YVote?/YNot, to look at why young people seem uninterested in
politics and the political process. One of the pleas from the young
people who took part was that politicians come and speak to them 'on
their turf'. As a result, the DfES's Children and Young People's Unit
arranged a tour of ministers during June this year to hear the views
of young people in every region of England. A report will be sent to
the young people later this year.
3. The Children and Young People's Unit has commissioned a research
programme to map current participation practice, resources, skills
and experience which will report back next year. A £500,000
Consultation Fund is available for grants to voluntary organisations
for consultation activity with young people.
4. 'Get it Sorted - Providing Effective Advocacy Services for
Children Making a Complaint' - consultation on draft guidance and
regulations for England, is available on
www.dfes.gov.uk/consultations. Responses are welcome from local
authorities, advo cacy organisations, voluntary organisations,
advocates, children's rights officers, practitioners, complaints
officers, listening to children officers and children and young
5. Why organisations should listen to younger people:
Their involvement in policy makes it preventive, rather than
reactive; Enables whole community work - 1 in 5 of the population is
under 16; Promotes a strong citizenship message, and encourages
voting; Delivers meaningful change through partnership with those
affected by it; and Has continuing resonance - young people grow up,
and will be more likely to interact later in life.
6. Further information on Local Democracy Week is available here.