Skip to content

Written Statement - Review of the role and functions of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales

Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

The position of Children’s Commissioner for Wales was created in 2001 to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children and young people in Wales, and was the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.

More recently the Children’s Commissioner has publicly stated the need for an independent review of his role and functions. It is my opinion that the case he has made is strong. Therefore, I have agreed to commission a full independent review of the role and functions of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.

The details and timescales of the review are being developed, but the key principles will be:

  • The review is to ensure that we have a Children’s Commissioner for Wales whose role is as clear and as effective as possible for the benefit of children and young people.
  • The review will be independent of the Welsh Government with a view to offering recommendations for Welsh Ministers to consider.
  • The review will not concentrate on the day to day operational arrangements of the office but may need to consider these aspects as part of the process.
  • The review will also consider the international approach in relation to other Commissioners for children and young people and Ombudsmen.

Let me be clear, this review is not about the current Commissioner. I agree with Keith Towler that the time is right to take this forward.

With a view to building on the excellent work of the current Children’s Commissioner for Wales, the review will further strengthen the way in which Wales has been seen as a standard bearer in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Alongside the implementation of the Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011, the role and functions of the Children’s Commissioner is another critical element of effectively implementing and upholding the rights of children and young people in Wales.

In the coming weeks we will work with the Children’s Commissioner and others, including Assembly Members, to develop the details of the review that will result in independent recommendations as to how the Children’s Commissioner can safeguard and promote the rights of children and young people across Wales for years to come.

I will update Members in due course.