Huw Irranca-Davies, Minister for Children, Older People and Social Care
On behalf of the Welsh Government, I welcome the Annual Report from the Children‘s Commissioner for Wales. We recognise the tireless work that the Commissioner has undertaken throughout the year on behalf of the children and young people of Wales. The Commissioner’s work, in giving children and young people a voice and advocating on their behalf, is vital to safeguarding and promoting their rights and welfare.
As a Government, we are proud of our record in promoting and upholding the rights of children and young people. Listening to and hearing from our young people is crucial. We recognise the importance of giving them an opportunity to have a meaningful input into shaping our policies. We will continue to engage with them on issues that affect them, including the future direction of Wales post Brexit.
The Children’s Commissioner for Wales published her 2017-18 Annual Report on 1 October. The Report sets out the work undertaken by her office during the period 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018. In her report, the Commissioner has highlighted some of the areas where the Welsh Government has made significant progress. This includes improving independent advocacy for children and young people and taking forward proposals to remove the defence of reasonable punishment.
The Commissioner’s Annual Report includes 15 recommendations for the Welsh Government. The National Assembly debated the Commissioner’s Report in plenary on 13 November 2018. We have reflected on those discussions and the document we are publishing today sets out a comprehensive response. Each recommendation has been addressed and we have provided information on the actions which the Welsh Government has already taken or intends to take.
I am pleased that as a Government we were able to accept or accept in principle all of the Commissioner’s recommendations. This demonstrates how seriously children’s rights are being taken across the Welsh Government. We continue to share a common goal with the Commissioner of ensuring children are at the heart of all that we do.
Better outcomes for our children can only be achieved by all of us working together to deliver services in a co-ordinated, integrated and timely way. We are committed to doing this in order to achieve the very best for children, families, their communities and our nation.
As a Government we have, and will continue to, work collaboratively with the Commissioner and others for the benefit of children and young people in Wales.