Jeff Cuthbert, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty
Earlier this year, I informed Members of my intention to commission an independent review into the role and functions of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales. The current Children’s Commissioner, Keith Towler, has himself called for this review and he and his team have offered their practical support for the process.
In commissioning this review, I want 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 and that we are able to strengthen further the way in which Wales is seen as a standard bearer in relation to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The First Minister has also stated that reviews of other Welsh Commissioners will follow in due course.
I will announce today that Dr Mike Shooter CBE has been appointed to lead the review. Dr Shooter is a former consultant in child and adolescent psychiatry and has held high profile positions with charities and organisations including Children in Wales, Samaritans and the National Children’s Bureau. He brings with him broad and impressive experience across an extensive range of interests.
In appointing Dr Shooter, I am also making available my remit letter to Dr Shooter. The purpose of the remit letter is to indicate the broad areas I would like examined and the framework for so doing. The four key areas are:
- The role and functions of the Children’s Commissioner for Wales;
- Impact of the role;
- Review of legislation;
- Governance and accountability.
It is important to note that the review, which will report and make recommendations in December, will be independent of the Welsh Government. Accordingly, I have afforded Dr Shooter flexibility to determine and shape the fine detail of the review and its conduct; I have though stated my firm expectation of broad stakeholder engagement, which is to include significant involvement of children and young people.
I know that Dr Shooter will issue a call for evidence shortly and would encourage you to engage in this important process. I look forward to receiving the final report and to considering the recommendations from Dr Shooter once the work has concluded in December.