Children’s commissioner urges ‘stocktake’ of children’s services

Government should measure the impact of its decisions on young people, warns Anne Longfield

The government should carry out an “urgent stocktake” of its spending on children’s services to ascertain how cuts are impacting on children, Anne Longfield has urged.

Addressing the Education Select Committee, the children’s commissioner called on the government to extend its family test to include children to ensure the impact of policies and decisions on children and young people is measured.

Anne Longfield said: “The government and local authorities should do an urgent stocktake of spending on children to improve understanding of how resources are being spent and to identify how any proposed cuts or other decisions will impact on them.

“The Prime Minister has said he is committed to introducing a family test so that the interests of children are not overlooked in decision-making.  With continued pressure on central and local children’s budgets, the need to extend this to wider children’s services is more pressing than ever before,” she added.

Ms Longfield added that as local policies have an impact on children as well as national policies, local councils should also measure the impact their decisions are having on young people.

She also reiterated her calls for a Cabinet Minister for children during her appearance before the education committee. “We already have a Children’s Minister, but children represent such a significant minority with unique needs that they should have a representative at the top-table.”

“I am not saying that there needs to be another face at Cabinet as the role could be taken on by an existing attendee, but there does need to be someone to champion children’s issues across all of Government,” she concluded.

Ms Longfield gave evidence to the committee as part of their inquiry into child protection and wellbeing.

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